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Interactive Voice Response

Definition

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via a keypad. In telecommunications, IVR enables customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition. It can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple instructions or questions.

Phonetic

ɪn-tər-ˈæk-tɪv voɪs rɪ-ˈspɑːns

Key Takeaways

<ol> <li>Improved Customer Service: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems improve customer service by allowing customers to interact through voice or touch tone dialing, facilitating quick and efficient resolution of their queries or issues.</li> <li>Cost Effective: IVR systems are cost effective as they eliminate the need for a large customer support team. The system can handle multiple calls simultaneously, reducing the manpower needed, saving organizations both time and money.</li> <li>24/7 Availability: Being automated systems, IVR can provide round-the-clock customer support. This increases customer satisfaction as their queries or issues can be addressed at any time, regardless of traditional working hours.</li></ol>

Importance

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a crucial technology in modern communication systems as it accelerates customer services, reduces costs, and enhances user experience. This automated telephony system interacts with callers, collects necessary information, and routes calls to appropriate recipients. With IVR, businesses save the costs of employing live agents in handling high volumes of routine calls. IVR also provides a 24/7 customer service platform, including in off-hours, weekends, or holidays, thus ensuring queries are always addressed without delay. Simultaneously, IVR can be tailored to meet specific customer interactions, giving a more personalized experience to callers and significantly boosting customer satisfaction. Therefore, IVR is a cost-effective, efficient, and customer-oriented technology in our dynamically-evolving, service-centric business environment.

Explanation

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is essentially a telephone-based interface empowering humans to interact with a computer-operated system. The chief aim of IVR technology is to facilitate efficient interaction between customers and organizations, particularly when human resources are limited or non-operational. It’s designed to manage high call volumes, route calls to appropriate departments, provide information around the clock, and assist users in conducting certain transactions without operator assistance.IVR finds applications across diverse industries from telecom to healthcare. For example, it’s used in banking systems wherein customers dial in to check their account balance, transfer funds, or find out other transaction details without having a personnel involved. Likewise, in telecommunications, customers can renew their plans or register complaints using an IVR system. In the healthcare segment, IVR can be used to remind patients of their appointments, refill prescriptions etc. It not only makes the task easier for the organization but also helps save time for the customer.

Examples

1. Customer Service in Banks: One of the most common uses of IVR technology can be seen in the customer services of banks. When customers call their bank, the personalized automated voice guides them through different options, such as checking the account balance, transferring money, or reporting a lost card, without having to speak with a live agent. This can provide round-the-clock access for customers to manage their accounts, offering them convenience and efficiency.2. Healthcare Sector: Healthcare providers utilize IVR systems to confirm prescheduled appointments, handle prescription refilling requests, or provide test results over the phone. For instance, a patient might receive a call where an IVR system interacts with them to confirm their upcoming doctor’s appointment.3. Telecommunications Industry: Telecom companies frequently employ IVR technology to handle customer queries, like checking account balance, paying bills, requesting technical assistance, or changing service plans. For example, when a customer calls their service provider, they are greeted by an IVR system that guides them through various self-service options or directs them to the appropriate representative.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

**Q: What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?**A: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans via the use of voice and DTMF tones input via a keypad. It involves automated interactions that can be customized according to the needs of the business using this system.**Q: How does an IVR system work?**A: IVR system works by allowing the business to pre-record greetings and menu options that a customer can choose from using their telephone keypad. Once the customer selects an option, the IVR system can play back pre-recorded responses or connect the customer to a live agent.**Q: What are the applications of IVR systems?**A: IVR systems are commonly used in businesses for functions such as call routing, customer support, banking services, flight scheduling, surveys, and even tele-voting. Essentially, any situation that requires an interface between a system and a customer can use IVR.**Q: What are the benefits of using an IVR system?**A: IVR systems offer a variety of benefits. It can handle large call volumes, provide 24/7 customer service, and deliver more professional-sounding customer support. It can also reduce operational costs since fewer live agents are required.**Q: Can IVR systems be personalised?**A: Yes, an IVR system is highly customizable according to a business’s needs. Menus, responses, the flow of the call, and more can be tailored.**Q: Is IVR secure?**A: Yes, IVR systems are designed to ensure customer data protection. However, the level of security largely depends on the data hosting, data handling, and security measures implemented by the organization or service provider.**Q: What is a cloud-based IVR?**A: A cloud-based IVR is a system that hosts IVR software on the internet, rather than on-site at a company. This means the IVR can be accessed and managed remotely, providing greater flexibility and scalability.**Q: What is the difference between IVR and Auto-Attendant?**A: While both the IVR and Auto-Attendant can route calls, an IVR system is more advanced and can perform additional functions such as identifying, segmenting, and routing callers or even conducting simple transactions, whereas an auto-attendant functions more like a virtual receptionist.

Related Tech Terms

  • Speech recognition
  • Text-to-speech
  • Touch-tone dialing
  • Call routing
  • Automated attendant

Sources for More Information

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