In this blogpost:
IVR systems work by playing pre-recorded messages in response to caller input.
Caller input can be in the form of speech (voice recognition) or keys (DTMF tones). IVR systems can also be used to collect information from callers, such as account numbers or zip codes.
What is an IVR?
The abbreviation IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. An IVR is an automated telephone system that answers incoming customer calls with voice menus or a pre-recorded message.
The IVR sends callers directly to the correct department based on the answer typed in.
IVRs also have a very helpful self-service capability that allows easy and simple processes, such as checking the balance on a credit card or paying a rental or parking fine, all without human intervention.
IVRs help your customers with short wait times and improve customer satisfaction.
How does an IVR work?
An IVR usually consists of three main components
- The telephone lines
- The computer
- The voice recorder
The phone lines are connected to the computer, which runs the IVR software. The voice recorder is used to record phone menu options.
When a customer calls, the IVR system answers the call and plays the recorded message. The customer then makes their selection by pressing a key on their phone.
The computer then forwards the call to the appropriate person
An IVR menu is a list of options from which a caller can choose
The IVR menu is usually played when the call is answered and gives the caller the choice of which department to be transferred to.
For example, suppose you call your bank. You are told, “Welcome to the bank. Are you calling to check your account balance? Then dial 1. Would you like to speak to a staff member? Then choose 2.”
Once the caller presses the corresponding number on their keypad, they are transferred to the selected department.
What types of IVR are there?
There are two main types of IVR:
- Pre-recorded voice menus
- Voice recognition
With pre-recorded voice menus, the caller is given a list of options to choose from, as described above. In speech recognition, the caller speaks their request and the IVR system uses speech recognition technology to interpret what the caller said.
Multi level IVR
Multi level IVR is a type of IVR that allows callers to navigate through a series of multi level IVR menus to find the information they need.
With multi-level IVR, the caller is first asked to select the department he/she wants to speak to. Once he has selected the department, he is then asked to select the specific topic he wants to discuss. This process can be repeated until the caller reaches the desired department or subject.
Multi level IVR is a great way to organize and present information on a phone system. Multi level IVR makes it easy for callers to find what they need and reduces time spent on the phone waiting for help.
As technology evolves and voicebots become part of everyday life, voicebot conversation becomes more effective.
Technology is developing rapidly and voicebot interventions are very versatile and effective. Machine Learning helps companies improve their conversations with their customers through continuous analysis.
Conversational IVR is a type of IVR that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to understand what the caller is saying and respond accordingly.
For example, Conversational IVR can be used to provide a customer with information about a product without having to press numbers on the keypad.
What are the benefits of using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system?
There are many benefits of using an IVR system, including:
- Lower customer service costs: Automating customer interactions can help you save on labor costs. In fact, incoming calls are automatically transferred to the correct employee, saving an incredible amount of time.
- Improved customer satisfaction: an IVR helps keep your customers happy by providing them with a self-service option. Self-service is on the rise and one of the biggest customer service trends.
- Greater efficiency: an IVR can help you speed up processes and get information from customers faster. Calls are cleverly distributed across different departments and callers are helped immediately. Even if you don’t have enough staff, your customers will still feel like they are being helped immediately.
- Available 24 hours a day: Customers really don’t just call within business hours anymore. IVRs can be used to provide 24/7 customer service.
How do you set up an IVR?
There are many IVR software providers offering easy-to-use, cloud-based solutions.
You can also purchase an on-premise IVR system, but they are more expensive and require IT support.
When choosing an IVR provider, it is important to consider your company’s needs and budget.
Step 1: Determine the needs of your business
Before choosing an IVR provider, determine your company’s needs
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- How many calls do you expect to have?
- What is the average length of an interview?
- What are your customer service hours?
- What is your company’s budget?
- What are your company’s call volume goals?
Step 2: Research IVR providers
Once you know your company’s needs, research different IVR providers
Find a provider that offers a solution that meets your needs and budget.
Be sure to read online reviews of the providers you are considering and also look for companies you can talk to that are already customers.
Step 3: Setting up your IVR system
IVR providers have a lot of experience and are happy to help you get started. Just follow your provider’s instructions to set up the system.
Most providers offer an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution that does not require IT support.
Some on-premise IVR systems are more expensive and do require IT support.
Step 4: Test your IVR
After you’ve set up your IVR system, it’s time to test it to make sure it’s working properly.
Place a test call and navigate the menus to make sure the options work as expected.
You can also test the system by calling from different phone numbers to make sure it can handle multiple incoming calls simultaneously.
Step 5: Train your employees
Once you’ve tested the IVR, train your employees on how to use it.
It is important that they know how to use the system so that they can properly support your customers.
Provide them with a list of frequently asked questions and answers so they are prepared to help callers.
Best practices and mistakes you want to avoid
There are a number of things to consider when setting up an interactive voice response system:
Inform customers of wait times
Let callers know how long they should wait to be connected to a live agent if you have to put them on hold or on hold, so they know what to expect and can schedule their time accordingly.
A long and complicated IVR menu can be difficult for callers to navigate – it is generally recommended to provide a maximum of 5 main menu options that should be listed in order of importance.
Keep it simple and write for the ear
Use language in your conversations that is clear and easy to understand for anyone calling your helpline – avoid unnecessary specific industry terms, abbreviations and complicated words.
Place extension numbers at the end
Callers may not know what extension they are looking for, but they know what department they need – make sure they always hear the option for the action (“For sales, press 1,” rather than “Press 1 for sales”).
Consider a callback option
If the lines are too busy and the queues too long, be sure to enable an automatic callback feature to shorten queues, reduce customer effort and reduce the number of dropped calls.
To make setting up your own IVR a little easier, we’ve created some ready-made templates for you to use for your calls. Use it to your advantage!
IVR: in summary
An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is a valuable tool that can help your company reduce customer service costs and improve customer satisfaction. To set up an IVR, our team can help you determine your company’s needs and set up the best IVR for you. Contact us today to get started!