5 Reasons Cloud-based IVR is better than Hosted IVR

With rapidly changing and evolving technology, Interactive Virtual Response (IVR) has also undergone major changes. These updates have made IVR less complex and rigid. With the introduction of cloud-based APIs, IVR systems have become more flexible and hassle-free. As the business needs to keep on evolving, so does customer’s needs, which means IVR systems also need to be continuously evolving for customer satisfaction. 

Cloud-based IVR

Nowadays IVR’s are not just used for call and wait for service but are a key element in marketing, sales to service, and support. Read this article to know more about the advantages of modern IVR. Companies are using this technology to interact with customers 24/7. Today IVR systems are classified into three main categories: on-premise, hosted, and cloud.

This article is going to explain to you how the above three categories are different. And why Cloud-based IVR is the best option for recent and upcoming times.

On-premise IVR:

Back in the times when there was no cloud technology, most contact centers were hosted “on-premise”, or on local servers stored within a company’s facility. They are considered to offer greater control and security since the servers are managed and supervised in-house. 

But while on-premise solutions do offer more control, several drawbacks are causing many businesses to avoid this type of solution.

  • Since the data and servers are typically stored in one centralized location, which creates a single point of failure. These systems are much more vulnerable to service disruptions and downtime. 
  • In addition to this, it requires large up-front investments. And a significant amount of time, planning, and manpower to look after the systems. 
  • It has also not been very efficient in handling a large number of customer calls and queries leading to bottlenecks and other constraints.

Hosted IVR:

These IVR systems are more evolved in comparison to On-premise IVR. Unlike on-premise IVR which requires the installation and looking after on-site, these are hosted at your servers premise. This helps the companies in reducing installation and supervising costs. 

  • But similar to on-premise, hosted solutions also have their servers in one centralized location, leading to the same vulnerabilities, service disruptions and downtime.
  • These have also not been effective in meeting the volume and ever-changing customer demands.

Cloud-Based IVR:

Cloud-based IVR is specially designed to meet the exponentially growing demand and expectations of customers. They are popular for their superior flexibilityreliability, and cost-savings. They have also eliminated the need for large up-front infrastructure investments. It further helps in reducing the dependency of companies on the functionality of IVR systems. 

Cloud-based IVR
  • Cloud-Based IVR has access to worldwide IT resources.
  • They are less susceptible to faults or vulnerabilities.
  • They work by distributing the workload across multiple data centers. This means if one center has a malfunction, the other can substitute it leading to no halt in the progress of work.

5 Benefits of Cloud-based IVR

Benefits of Cloud-based IVR

1. Low operational cost: 

One area where cloud IVR solutions prove very effective is in reducing business expenses. When a company receives hundreds of calls, they ought to waste time and misuse resources to attend this huge influx. Implementing a cloud-based IVR solution is the best way to funnel calls as they come in, segmenting callers and routing them directly to the agent who can best serve their needs. Or can even opt for the self-help option.

2. More reliable and error-free:

It is known to everyone how critical it is to keep systems up and running as the hosted IVR systems can easily go down. But in a cloud-based IVR solution, the chances of downtime are negligible. This is due to redundant servers and backup equipment. This helps the IVR service up and running even if a server were to go down.

From a business standpoint, this allows you to offer service 24 hours a day with a near-perfect level of uptime. Such stability and reliability are difficult to implement in classic on-site IVR configurations.

3. Less Investment cost:

In setting up a Cloud-based IVR, there are capital costs or maintenance costs involved. Since no hardware or equipment is required, there are no issues related to facility and administration concerning environment and space controls. 

You just need to pay a monthly or yearly fee for hosting your IVR on a good infrastructure like VirtuIVR. 

4. Simple Scalability:

 Another advantage of using a cloud-based IVR is its scalability. As the system does not have a phone hardware, adding and/or removing features, is instantaneous and extremely easy. The process is as simple as logging into a web-based dashboard and making changes.

Benefits of Cloud-based IVR
Cloud-based IVR can be used remotely

For example, to update a greeting message during a festival season, you just need to login to your software and record or store a pre-recorded greeting message which also includes your festival wishes. There is also a wide range of video and voice features that you can add or remove. You can also make changes to your menu options as in when required according to your customer needs, without any dependency on anyone.

5. More services means more efficiency:

 Cloud IVR also gives you a plethora of analytical insight. Firstly it allows you to track customer call volume, origin, and time-frame. Many businesses experience higher call volume during certain times of the day or week and by tracking this information, you reduce the chances of bottlenecks. This helps cut down on lost business and bad customer response.

Secondly, cloud IVR systems also allow you to track employees. This means you have access to the number of calls taken, overall call duration, percentage of overall work done versus their coworkers. This allows you to keep track of employee productivity and overall performance. 

Conclusion:

You cannot ignore the above-mentioned advantages if you want a more reliable and efficient IVR system. Cloud-based IVR is better than hosted IVR in almost every aspect. They are more cost-efficient, require less upfront investment, and are more accustomed to today evolving technology. Not only this they don’t require a dedicated team to supervise it and are also less prone to system failures and downtime. 

If you are looking to get an IVR system for your business, you know now that Cloud-based IVR is the one you should be looking for to meet your present as well as future business demands. Don’t invest in an obsolete system. 

VirtuIVR

If you want to see a live demo of how a cloud-based IVR works please visit VirtuIVR or contact us at sales@virtuivr.com. You can even leave a message for us in the comment section below and our team will get in touch with you.

Toll free number for business at just $67/ year

toll-free number for business

What is a toll-free number?

As per Wikipedia toll-free number for business are also called, as Freecall and Freephone are numbers that start with 800, 0800, or 1‑800. These numbers are identified by a dialing prefix similar to a geographic area code, such as 909 (the area code that covers eastern Los Angeles County and southwestern San Bernardino County).

For example, Indian toll-free numbers begin with 1800 while the US; UK toll-free numbers begin with 800.

The specialty of these numbers is that a customer can call them without incurring any charges, from any part of the work. The number owner instead of the caller pays all the charges of incoming and outgoing calls.  This ultimately expands your customer base, as they are able to call your business across the world.

What is the difference between 800 Toll-Free, Vanity Numbers, and a Local Number?

  • Toll-free numbers: They are any normal toll-free numbers with 800 prefix.
  •  Vanity numbers: You can add your business name along with the digit code, for example, 1-800-COCACOLA or 1-800-VIRTUIVR. However, these numbers do not have the benefits of VoIP.
  • Local numbers: These are numbers with area code prefixes. And your customers will have to pay for the calls made while this is not the case with toll-free numbers.

Why does my business need a toll-free number?

toll-free number
The right choice for your business

This question is very common, especially among small business owners or entrepreneurs. But in reality, getting a toll-free number does not hurt any kind of business, in-fact it boosts a companies revenues and reputation. Let us list down the major features of a cloud-based toll-free number for your business.

1. IVR solution and Better Customer Satisfaction:

The first and foremost benefit is enhanced customer experience. Since the customers don’t have to spend a single penny to get in touch with your company or the agents, they are more likely to call for their issues. This further means more customer retention.

In addition, with these numbers, callers are greeted with an automated message and their call is routed to your agents’ phone number, which helps in faster on-call resolution to your customers.

2. Easy to remember numbers and Wide Range of Number to chose from:

A number like 1800-111-1111 is definitely easier for people to remember than other numbers. People tend to recall a toll-free number because of its standard pattern. Apart from existing customers, this flexibility helps you to attract more leads.

This also gives you options to choose the best-suited toll-free number for marketing your brand from a wide range of premium numbers.

3. Call Monitoring and Analysis:

A toll-free number helps to monitor the calls and gain instant insight of active, on-hold, and disconnected calls on a real-time call monitoring dashboard.

4. Call Management solution:

Call Recording: It helps to record & store your customer conversations and use it for future training and other purposes.
Call Tracking: It helps in keeping a constant tab on all incoming and hold calls.
Call Reports: It creates daily call reports, which can be downloaded or be received on your mail or through SMS text.

5. Business Portability:

Organizations those who are in the process to relocate or expand their business do not need to get worried about changing the existing numbers. In addition, it increases your brand’s visibility throughout the country. And with cloud-based toll-free services, the process of scaling your communication channels becomes quick and smooth.

6. Better Brand Image Keep your personal and professional communications separate:

People think that only big corporations can have 800 numbers. However, it’s not correct. Any startup, small business or enterprise, can have such a number. Undoubtedly, it behaves as a trust factor to a new customer or a lead and increases your credibility.

IMP: How to get a Toll-free number for my business?

This answer is very simple. To get the best 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844 TOLL-FREE NUMBER, click on the button below.

Why should I choose VirtuIVR to buy my Toll-fee number?

CUSTOM GREETING

Impress your clients by playing a custom greeting or offer a new deal when they call you.

LIBRARY

Upload and save your custom greetings. Moreover, use the system to record and save without the need for any other tools.

LOCAL OR TOLL-FREE NUMBER

Get a local or a toll-free number. VirtuIVR works in any city and in every country.

DIAL PAD

Make calls directly from your laptop or tablet without the hassle of a phone. Perfect for sales teams!

TEXT MESSAGES

Contact your clients & leads via SMS straight from the dashboard. Have conversations like you would on your phone.

LEAD ID DETECTION

Don’t wonder about who is calling anymore. Our system will let you know exactly who is calling.

featureVOICE-TO-EMAIL

All your voicemails are magically transcribed and sent along with the audio to your email.

CONTACTS

Save and search your contacts easily in VirtuIVR. With a click on button, start dialing them automatically.

EXTENSIONS

Finally, add as many extensions as you like. Your employees can answer your company phone from anywhere.

And last but most important: Pricing that doesn’t break the bank! It costs only $67 per year.

Please go through our demo video to know more about the working of VirtuIVR:

How does an IVR work?

It’s 2020, age of automation and we are sure you must be considering setup an IVR for your business need. So let’s dive more into the technical aspect of how does an IVR work.

In technical terms, IVR is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) tones input via a keypad. This means IVR allows computers to interact with the customers before their call can be automatically transferred to the concerned agent or department.

How does IVR work

For example: If you wish to book an air ticket and you call the ABC airline. Firstly an IVR system will greet you with an automated pre-rerecorded message. Next, it will ask some set of questions like:

Press 1 to book a new ticket.
Press 2 to cancel an existing ticket.
Press 3 to upgrade your booking.

In this case, you want to book a new ticket therefore you press 1. And the IVR gets into more details and ask you further in-depth questions:

Press 1 if you wish to book a domestic flight.

Press 2 if you wish to book an international flight.

This way IVR directs you to the agent or department, which specializes in your area of concern. This further means it saves your time by not talking to random agents who cannot be of your help. If you wish to know more about IVR systems, please go through this guide, which will help you clear your basics about IVR.

So let us understand how does an IVR work?

A typical IVR system is based on Computer Telephony Integration or CTI technology. A traditional IVR system consists of telephony equipment, software applications, a database, and the support infrastructure. To start with, the computer should be connected to the company’s telephone line.

IVR software has to be installed onto a computer, and a special piece of hardware called a telephony board, or telephony card, is required to identify the DTMF.

Some details illustrating the requirements:

IVR system
  • TCP/IP network: This is the internet network that serves to provide Internet and intranet connectivity.
  • Databases: real-time information that can be accessed by the IVR applications.
  • Web/application server: this can be viewed as the home of Interactive Voice Response system software. One thing to note is that there are several different applications designed to perform various functions.

How does an IVR work at the Backend in detail:

When a customer calls you or your company, unlike the traditional call the computer will attend this call. The computer will greet the customer with a pre-recorded message set by you or your team. After listening to the options presented by IVR, the caller can choose to use DTMF tones or Speech recognition technology to answer.

IVR call flow

1. DTMF tones:

DTMF tones also called Dual-tone multi-frequency. It is the tone, which is produced when you press a button on your phone keypad. Each number key on a telephone emits two simultaneous tones: one low frequency and one high-frequency. The number one, for example, produces both a 697-Hz and a 1209-Hz tone. A computer needs special hardware known as a telephony card to understand this DTMF response. The system recognizes these tones and navigates the caller accordingly.

2. Speech Recognition:

This is a relatively newer technology as compared to DTMF tones. In this, the caller speaks their option and IVR recognizes the words. It is most useful in native languages.

Now a caller can opt for a self-service option or talk to agent option. If a caller opts for a self-help option, then the answer to the query is retrieved from a database or a pre-recorded script.

However, if the caller opts to talk with the agent then features such as call forwarding or routing help to direct the caller to the desired customer service representative. And with the help of CTI technology, the calls are available on the agent’s desktop.

How does an IVR work for the end-user:

Though it may sound a little cumbersome at the backend but it is super easy and simple for the user, hence highly encouraged to use if you want to increase customer satisfaction. When a customer calls on the business phone number, the IVR system greets the caller by playing an automated greeting message along with a list of menu options. 

These IVR options are customized as per the company’s customer service needs. However, in most of the cases, the IVR options are divided by departments, geography, or the service/product company offers. These options are self-explanatory which makes the navigation and query resolution easier for the caller. The two major kinds of IVR options used by companies are self-help options and connect with a customer service representative option.

Press 1 for Billing Related Queries
Press 2 for Product Enquiries
Press 3 for Sales Related Issues

The above options are an example of a self-service menu. These options help the customers to resolve queries without the intervention of a live agent.

Conclusion:

We really hope that this article gives you a brief understanding of how an IVR works, what all devices it requires, and the technicalities behind it. This will also make it easier for you to choose the right IVR system for you.

VirtuIVR

If you wish to see a demo of our IVR system, please visit VirtuIVR or contact us at sales@virtuivr.com. We will be happy to resolve your queries and give you a trial of our IVR.

10 IVR Design Tips: You don’t want to upset your customers

. We all know that businesses, startups, multinational companies, and freelancers have one thing in common. And that one thing is, they all cannot survive without customers. This makes customer service and satisfaction, their utmost priority. And this is where the IVR design tips to an efficient and simple way of designing the IVR or Interactive Virtual Response System plays a crucial role, since you don’t want your customers to be mad or upset with bad call experience. 

“ A study conducted by Purdue University suggests that bad IVR experience will make 63% of consumers stop using the company’s products or services.”

The main reason companies use an IVR menu is to automate their calling process and make it more efficient. The IVR menu helps to direct callers to operators, different departments, and employee extensions. It is imperative for the IVR menu to have an optimized design, or else it could lead to a lot of frustration among the customers. Nobody wants to lose their potential or loyal customers because of one bad IVR experience. 

IVR design

Let’s understand a scenario of bad IVR design setup:

An existing customer who needs some technical assistance immediately tries to call the customer care hoping to sort his problem over the call. After the call connects, the IVR professionally greets him.

But, then he finds himself stuck in a long list of options for almost 15 minutes. Adding to this, he did not even get the option to connect with an agent. Nor could he get any information through self-service options. In this case IVR proved to be insufficient to handle his query. Infuriated by this experience, he finally gave up, left negative reviews on social media platforms, and move on to a competitor.

To avoid the above kind of scenario, please make sure that you strictly abide by the following tips while designing an IVR set up for your business or yourself.

10 Tips to design IVR for your business:

1. Always have the IVR designed to have the option to speak to an agent: 

One of the main IVR design tips is to have an IVR system in place, it is mandatory to give customers the freedom to choose to talk to an agent or even skipping the whole IVR process. It is also rude to hang up on a customer when they are not able to provide any input. Instead, his call should be automatically transferred to an agent.

2. Understand your customer issues and put the most popular option first in your IVR design:

Ivr design tips

Analyze your existing customer data. And figure out the most common issue for which the customers call your IVR frequently. Make sure to include these options in the starting of your IVR menu.

In general, your first two options should be related to a new customer query and second to an existing customer. In addition you may have an option for potential customers.

3. Keep the introduction under 8 seconds and menu under 4 seconds in your IVR design:

Everybody has a busy schedule and none of us would like to waste time listening to some never-ending meaningless sentences. As a rule of thumb, keep your introductory message under 8 seconds, and each option announcement under 4 seconds. 

Also, keep in mind to not include any recent marketing or promotion materials in the call. Customers call with a sense of completing a task. So please don’t irritate them by delivering information that is redundant to them.

4. Keep menu options to minimum preferably limit to 5: 

ivr menu
Minimal menu option

Simplicity is the key while designing an IVR. Studies show that callers begin to get irritated after hearing three or more prompts. It also causes frustration if they have to navigate more than three levels of menu options. To prevent this, keep your menu options to minimum preferably limit to 5.  

Use analytics and call reports to monitor and improve your IVR menu. Improvising is an ongoing process. Hence keep trying different options and menu until you figure out what works best for you.

5. Make your IVR sound like human and a female:

IVR design tips
Give a human voice to IVR and have options for multiple languages

Another IVR design tips is to make customers feel at ease and assured when they are talking or listen to a human voice rather than a mechanical voice. To increase the level of ease of communication, make sure your IVR uses a human voice and most preferably female voice. You can even add extra customer experience ethos by incorporating updates about wait times. Additionally mentioning statements like “Sorry, this is taking longer than expected!” can put customers at ease.

6. Always call back and don’t make the customer wait:

Call queue
Don’t make the customer wait for a long time. Ask their details and call them back.

Never make a customer wait for an agent to talk to them. If an agent is unable to take a customer call, the IVR should be set up in such a way that it saves the customer number. This information should be later used by the agent to call back.

The IVR should also mention something like: “Sorry all our agents are busy at the moment. Please leave your number and we will return your call.” 

7. Store and transfer the data to the concerned agent:

It’s a shame if the customer has to give his details again such as customer ID, phone number, or account number. It makes sense for the IVR to store all such information and directly transfer this data to the live agent. Doing this would eliminate a lot of frustration and gives customers better user experience.

8. Touchpad option is a must:

Call menu
CaHave both touch-pad and speech recognition option

There have been situations when the voice recognition does not interpret the input accurately. This can be due to language or accent differences. Therefore it is must to always have the touchpad option in your IVR. This further reduces any chances of errors and miscommunications.

9. Send follow up message every time a customer makes a request through self-service: 

 It is primitive to make the customer know that we have been receiving your requests or messages. And make them aware that the concerned team is working on it and will be contacting you shortly.

It sends a wrong message if your customer leaves without having an idea, whether their requests or messages are being taken into consideration. Thus it is essential to send a follow-up text message to the caller as a confirmation that the request has been received. 

10. Continue to monitor and improvise your IVR menu:

 As mentioned earlier improvising is a continuous process, no one can reach the perfect solution in one go. It will be helpful to utilize analytics and call reports to monitor and improve your IVR menu.

Review your system regularly, remove options that might confuse customers, and make adjustments as required.

Conclusion:

IVR should have a simple design that makes customer navigation, and issue resolution easy and quick. IVR’s main objective is to increase satisfaction and add value to the customer lifecycle. But if your IVR is not optimized and designed as per your customer needs, it can lead to huge business losses. Further, it can create mistrust among the existing and potential customers. In order to ease and make customers experience great service, the IVR should be set up in a user-friendly manner.

If you follow the above ten points to design the IVR system, you can save yourself and your company from all adversities. And VirtuIVR can help you design one of the most effective IVR systems according to the needs and demands of your business and customer.

IVR

Let VirtuIVR make IVR an asset for your company and not a liability.