What is an IVR & how it works?

You must have asked yourself many times that what is an IVR and how it works, complete know about IVR, and find out how it can help in your business.

Customers are getting supportable and friendly environment, it becomes a huge factor of success in a business.

 This is an irreplaceable positive point of a company where customers feel comfortable and get a friendly and personal customer supportive environment. when one’s the flow of calls increases, it’s important to give a direct and personal touch. This enhances customers to accommodate their practical solutions and expanding their customer base

 An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is a way to do that in a better way So and so questions must be popping into your mind what is exactly an IVR?

Let’s understand it one by one

What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

An IVR is an automated phone system with call routing capabilities, it allows customers to interact with a computer before (or sometimes instead of) conversing with a representative. This technology works in tandem with Automatic Call Distribution, typically found in a call center.

These IVR systems have become so widely used that you’ve probably found yourself communicating with a virtual assistant over the phone more often than you can count.

IVRs manage inbound phone calls by collecting information about the customer inquiry before automatically transferring the call to the right department. It can tailor the conversation even based on the virtual phone number the person dialed.

Prerecorded voice menu presented before customers, After navigating the menu either verbally or manually (using the phone keypad), the customer is automatically connected to an agent who can help.

Using multi-level interactive voice response (IVR), or phone trees, you can route customers to the right agent or department, provide recorded responses for frequently asked questions, and deflect calls by allowing callers to switch from a live call to a text message

How does IVR work?

1) The Technical Basics

On a technical level, an Interactive Voice Response system consists of the following:

  • Telephony equipment
  • IVR software applications
  • A database
  • Support infrastructure

To start, the computer is connected to the company’s telephone line. Then IVR software has to be installed onto a computer. From there, a unique piece of hardware (called a telephony board or telephony card) is needed to run the IVR technology on your calls.

Here are some details illustrating the requirements for a successful IVR:

TCP/IP network

Databases: real-time information that the IVR applications can access

Web/application server: Where the IVR system software is hosted

It’s important to note that IVR systems need a phone system to operate. 

2) Mapping Out Your IVR

Before integrating an IVR system with your contact center, you need to map out the IVR script itself and how it interfaces with your customers. An Interactive Voice Response map should have the following:

a) A pre-recorded welcome message. This can be personalized to mention the customer’s name if the IVR system has access to client information.

b) A menu for language options if your contact center caters to a customer base with multiple spoken languages. 

c) A menu for services related to purchases and sales or repairs and technical troubleshooting, depending on the department.

d) Music on hold (MOH), looping announcements, or preset messages to help clients troubleshoot basic problems.

e) An option for redirecting calls to active agents. Alternatively, an option to leave a voicemail if the service menus did not have their specific concerns listed.

When designing the IVR flow for your call center, it’s best to consider your target market’s needs. Make the most common options as accessible as possible by putting them earlier in the flow. Then, branch out to menus for call rerouting as necessary. 

3) Testing Your Interactive Voice Response

It’s time to perform pre-launch testing with your internal team. Some areas that you should test include:

Verify customer identity

With the decrease of in-person support due to digitization there is an increased need to verify whether your customer support teams are speaking to the real client.

Call routing

Did your customer select the correct prompts to be redirected to the right department? 

IVR system workflow

Is your IVR workflow following the map you designed? Are there any specific areas that need to be improved, such as the number of options in each service menu?

Why Would a Business Use an IVR System?

Traditionally, customers seek assistance from customer service specialists in person (like when visiting Apple’s Genius Bar) or over the phone by calling a dedicated customer support number. 

But with the advent of new technologies like Interactive Voice Response systems and the increasing prevalence of online support resources, such as FAQs or live chat options on a company website, customers can rely less on these personal interactions and more on self-service. 

This is a huge benefit for customers. A study by Zendesk found that:

69% of respondents said that they wanted to resolve issues themselves without needing human intervention. 63% would start by searching for solutions within a business’s digital channels before deciding to call its customer support hotline.

This survey highlights two important trends worth considering when designing your call center:

Customers want self-service. You can achieve that through an interactive system like Voice Over IP (VoIP) that integrates Interactive Voice Response systems. The shift toward using digital sources first instead of traditional call centers means that companies should prioritize digital transformation initiatives to stay relevant.

Which industry is IVR Systems beneficial for?

All types of businesses, whether big or small, can optimize employees’ time and resources through IVR Systems. In a business environment, IVR or Interactive Voice Response pertains to a large umbrella that encompasses the company’s entire software-based communication system.

It is considered the most viable and cost-effective way to streamline the call processes for the clients, business departments, and employees.

IVR Systems are highly beneficial in the field of customer care and client service. Businesses that are expanding rapidly often require adequate support staff which can handle customer service and relations.

The IVR technology can quickly be deployed and scaled easily, it can significantly minimize the waiting time for clients and customers.

In such a case, the system can dismiss the need to hire call operators to field in questions or inquiries and route incoming calls.

Here are some business fields and industries that are currently taking full advantage of IVR systems and continue to reap their benefits;

1) Finance and investment

      – Bank, lending institutions, real estate, insurance

2) Communication Services

      – telecom companies, internet providers, call center industry, telemarketers

3) Food & Hospitality

      -Food Delivery Service, hotel and resorts, bars and restaurants

4) social

      -Dating lines, adult entertainment, general helplines

5) Clothing & Apparel

      -Luxury Brands, retail

6) Building & Construction

      -Restoration Services, engineering and architecture, housing and property developers

7) Healthcare

      -Hospitals & Clinics, allied medical services, Pharmaceuticals

8) Education

      -School & Universities, Research Centers, Tutorials & Special Classes, Specialized Examination Centers:

9) General Services

      -Government Services, Professional Services, Property Utilities, Service Providers, 

10) Travel, Leisure & Entertainment

      -Airline Companies, Travel Agencies, and Ticketing Offices:

11) Shopping

      -Malls, Teleshopping 

How much does the IVR service cost?

It’s difficult to estimate the cost of IVR because it varies greatly based on the size of your company, the features you choose, the number of lines you need, and the difficulty of installation.

IVR is a part of a comprehensive call center software package.

For in-house IVR, prices start at around ₹1,50,000 per line for small businesses. Mid-sized businesses can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars to implement IVR, while large corporations and enterprises may see costs reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. The price per line generally decreases with the more lines you add.

Hosted IVR is less expensive, beginning at around ₹60,000 per line for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Although IVR requires a significant investment, if your business is large enough or busy enough to need the technology, you can expect to recoup the costs in the long run in reduced staffing expenses and better customer retention.

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