What is interactive voice response (IVR) and how does it work?

September 13, 2021
interactive voice response

Customers usually opt to use phone conversations to reach out to a service team to solve their issues. It offers a sense of credibility in the customer’s mind that their problem is solved. Most customers backed out of purchase due to a poor customer experience. Therefore, a business must have high-quality customer service. A positive customer service experience heavily impacts customer recommendations and is a key for customer retention.

IVR (interactive voice response) is one such solution that helps build a positive customer service experience. IVR could be the customer’s very first direct interaction with your company. A well-designed IVR system can start your customer off on a positive note and leads to better customer service.

What is IVR or Interactive Voice Response?

Interactive voice response or IVR is an automated phone system that allows businesses to interact with their callers and gathers information through a touch-tone keypad or voice input without a live agent’s aid. IVR or interactive voice response performs actions and provides necessary output based on the caller’s input via text or voice response.

Integrating an IVR solution into your business will enable customers to receive an automated greeting when they call followed by a pre-recorded message that lets them interact with the company quicker, offering better consumer service.

How does the IVR system work?

In the past, Traditional IVR technology was complex and expensive. IVR software had to be installed in a separate computer, needing a different telephony card that lets you integrate hardware components to a computer to get it to work.

Of course, that’s all in the past. Modern IVR or interactive voice response is automatically integrated into the system hosted on the cloud, and the cloud provider handles all necessary infrastructure required.

Here’s how an IVR works with the other features of your business.

· IVR relies on pre-recorded questions and responses for interacting with callers. Once a call comes in, the auto-attendant features greet the caller and prompt with an IVR menu.

· Most IVR systems use Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency signalling (DTMF) to enable the caller to use their keypad to select pre-determined options.

· More advanced IVR systems also leverage speech recognition and enable human-like interactions by using voice commands in response to IVR prompts instead of manually pressing digits.

· As the caller navigates the menu, it directs the caller to the choir’s resolution or information gathering process. If not the ACD, routes the call to an available qualified live agent.

The business benefit of using an IVR system

Handling bulk calls

IVR solution can handle countless calls simultaneously compared to a single agent who can attend only one call at once. IVR helps businesses and contact center maintain and keep track of their KPIs like Average Handling Time (AHT), Call Abandon Rate, Call Containment Rate, “Zero Out” Rate, and more, resulting in better customer service and better customer retention.

Automating mundane tasks and enhance agent productivity

IVR solution can automate mundane tasks, repeatedly asked questions, and routine calls by empowering callers with IVR self-service allowing agents to handle more complex calls or questions. Thereby significantly improves agent’s productivity and efficiency and provides agents with more meaningful work than repetitive questions. IVR self-service help customers to get faster response and reduce their average call time.

Faster first contact resolution

With multi-level IVR menus, businesses can create various prompts for new customers, existing customers, FAQs, language choice, a connection request to the agent, and more, enabling them to gather all the necessary information to best route inquiries to the most appropriate agent for quick resolution versus multiple transfers.

24/7 access

IVR empowers the customer to access customer support resources at any time. We allow them to access real-time information at their convenience without the restrictions of business hours, weekends, holidays, geographies, etc.

Finally, every business needs to understand its customers and satisfy their needs to thrive in the competitive market. IVR is one such solution that will help companies offer better customer service, lower their service costs and maximize return on investment.

With the advent of new technologies, such as AI-powered natural language processing systems, IVR systems will be evolving. They will be capable of handling complex customer queries without human assistance.


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