IVR is an abbreviation of Interactive Voice Response, ie an interactive voice response. IVR is a collective term for a variety of systems. What they have in common is that in different ways they allow the user to interact with a computer through the push of a button and voice messages. Often, an IVR starts with giving you as a user different choices from a pre-recorded audio file and then you give the system a command. Then new audio files can be played and new choices can be made. In this way, the user is led to the correct final destination.
IVR and IVR trees
The most common course when meeting an IVR is that a voice reads out different choices you can make. For example, “Press one to get to support, press two to get to finance, press three …”. Once you have made your choice you can either get to the final destination or get more choices. When there are more choices this is usually called an IVR tree. IVR trees are designed to specify your needs as much as possible to ensure you reach the right person or ACD group. An IVR does not always have to end with you getting into a conversation with a physical person, but you can also get the answer through a pre-recorded message that is generated depending on what answers you have given. A common example of such a response is opening hours.
Industries using IVR
A common example of where IVR is used extensively is healthcare centers and hospitals, as they want to help the caller to reach the right department and get the most effective help possible. The banking system also tends to be frequent IVR users. But basically, IVR is of great benefit to all companies that handle large call volumes.
- IVR is short for ’Interactive Voice Response.
- IVR is a computer system that is interact with humans.
- IVR came about in the 1970s, but was very rare.
- It became popularized in the 2000s.
- One of the most common ares of use is customer service.
- IVR can also be used for medicinal- and other research.
- When voting in different TV programs (for example Eurovision) you will most liketly talk to an IVR system.
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The benefits of IVR
So why should you have IVR integrated in your business telephony? What are the benefits? There are several benefits for using this type of system. One of them is one that helps companies and organizations manage large call volumes without having to increase the amount of staff. Before IVR became popular, telephones had to sit and receive all calls and then distribute them. As this has been computerized, customers are now increasingly in the right place and certain questions can be answered via pre-recorded answers. This makes IVR both a time-efficient and a cost-effective solution.
In addition to IVR systems being able to help keep staff costs down, IVR can also increase the quality of service that customers receive. Since in some cases the IVR system can answer questions already in the IVR tree, the customer receives answers quickly and efficiently. In addition, IVR helps guide the customer to the right department or person. In this way, even that handling becomes more efficient and the customer does not have to be carried around among departments to get to the right person. IVR systems can also work to effectively sort out those calls with special needs. Because IVR systems can be programmed to answer the most common questions, customer service employees can focus more time on more demanding calls.
Another important advantage of IVR systems is that many services – such as banks, healthcare or other important social functions – with these systems can offer customer service around the clock. This is very important for occasions when people are in urgent need of getting answers to their questions, but it also reduces the call pressure during working hours.
The many uses of IVR systems
The most common area of use for IVR systems is in business telephony; especially customer service businesses of various kinds. The first IVR system that began to be used during the 1970s were just to meant for customer service. During the 1970s, IVR systems were still unusual. With the rapid developments in computer technology in the 90s, the systems became both more efficient and cheaper.
Today, IVR is used in many different ways. For example, these systems have proven to be an asset in medical research. The IVR systems can call large numbers of people and conduct telephone interviews or telephone surveys. A major advantage in this connection is that the IVR systems can better guarantee interview subjects anonymity.
A good example of IVR technology development is its use on the Internet, which is becoming commonplace today. Instead of voice calls, these systems now interact via chat messages on a website. Thanks to the capabilities of modern computers, and impressive advances in AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, the future of IVR technology is very promising.
Latest update jan 2020Glossary