What to look for in an IVR system in 2020?

IVR system in 2020 has become a necessity for all types of businesses in this COVID scenario. When all the businesses and companies are encouraging their employees to work from home, IVR systems are need of the hour, more than ever.  2020 has changed the way businesses used to work. It has made everyone more independent and drastically increased online working mode.

With an increase in the online and staggered working environment, IVR plays an important role in helping better client connectivity and efficient issue resolution.

There are a number of IVR systems available for small businesses out there, which makes choosing the right one more difficult. So this article will help you narrow down your search by clearly explaining the features required in an IVR system in 2020.

IVR system in 2020

 What to look for in an IVR system in 2020?

1. CRM Integration – IVR system in 2020:

To implement automation in an effective manner, it is imperative for IVR to have the feature of CRM integration. This way all the customer’s details such as their KYC, issues, and their calling data will automatically be stored in CRM. This data can be fetched by any agent when required and even automatic reminders or email can be set through CRM.

2. Drag and Drop Configuration– IVR system in 2020:

Well not all of us know to code or are tech-savvy. Hence one must always look for an IVR that provides you with drag and drop configuration. With drag and drop you can easily set up a call flow and menu options for the system by simply dragging and dropping and linking together different aspects, visually (like flow charts).

This is most beneficial for small businesses that can’t afford to keep a technical team. But at the same time, IVR that offers this feature can be expensive. In fact, we can suggest one such IVR which provides this feature and is cheapest. Click on the link below to know more about this IVR.

3. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR):

All the advanced IVR systems in 2020 have ASR features. This recognizes what a customer speaks and transfers into a text (speech to text). This text or document is stored as a record and even emailed to the concerned agents to apprise them of the situation whether it’s solved or requires further evaluation.

IV system in 2020

4. Self Service Options:

Self-service goes hand in hand with automation. It’s critical that your IVR supports self-service options to enable automated customer support. These self-service options will enable customers to interact with your system to solve issues without the need for agent intervention, allowing agents to focus on more complex issues and enabling callers to receive the help they need on their own accord.

Benefits of Self Service IVR

5. Queue Callback:

It really pisses a customer when they have to listen to music or a recording while on hold. Everybody’s time is precious, therefore Queue callback is great a feature to have in IVR these days. This gives the customer the option to have an agent call back when your turn arrives. This way the caller does not have to stick to the phone and wait for their turn.

6. Ring Groups:

This feature is a must in today’s date when everybody is working from home. Ring groups help a business to make sure they don’t miss any valuable calls. If a customer calls your office number (which might not get answered since the offices are closed), ring groups allow you to have multiple phones ring at once. When one dial a single phone number or extension, it enables your business to distribute incoming calls among different agents.

7. Skill-based routing:

This is very much useful when your company or business has more than one department. Skill-based routing forward incoming calls to the appropriate department or agent based on customers’ first interaction with IVR. This way, expert agents can handle more complex issues while callers are directed to the best agent for their issue.

IVR system in 2020

8. Extensions and Toll-free number:

An IVR system features should also include toll-free numbers, which gives a business a more professional and genuine feel. In-fact these numbers don’t cost a penny to the customers when they call you. Read more about the importance of a toll-free number for the success of your business in this article.

And with extension numbers, all your employees or departments can be allocated a specific extension number. This will streamline the entire calling process and make it more efficient and reduces time wastage. Your employees can answer your company phone from anywhere.

toll-free number for small business

Conclusion:

IVR system is becoming more and more important in 2020 when work from home culture is gaining popularity. If your company or business is looking for a new communication channel, make sure it includes an IVR setup, that has most of the features listed above.

We would encourage you to try out VirtuIVR one of the cheapest IVR and has most of the features mentioned above. Click on the link below to know more and try this new IVR at $67/year.

IVR system features – VirtuIVR all in one

There are multitudes of IVR systems available in the market today but the one who provides most IVR system features at a very reasonable price is VirtuIVR – An automated phone system for your business. If you are still pondering whether to get an IVR system for your business or not, we recommend you to please go through this article. We are sure that this will help you make an appropriate decision.

IVR System features

In today’s article, we are going to elucidate all the IVR system features of a very reliable and affordable Cloud-based PBX and Interactive voice response system – VirtuIVR.

IVR system features of VirtuIVR

1. Custom Greetings:

Custom greetings enable you to improve your interaction with your customers. You can upload a prerecorded message, use the standard greetings, or use our text-to-speech function. According to the nature of your business and customers, you can customize the greetings. You can also include wishes for a festival or a social message.

VirtuIVR allows you to create personalized greetings for welcome messages and for voicemail messages. This will help enhance your customer experience and show more professionalism.

2. Extensions – IVR system features:

VirtuIVR provides you with unlimited extension numbers. You and all your employees or departments can be allocated a specific extension number. This will streamline the entire calling process and make it more efficient and reduces time wastage. Your employees can answer your company phone from anywhere.

3. Local or toll-free number:

VirtuIVR

VirtuIVR works in any city and in every country. Therefore you can get a local number pertaining to any area, making the customers belonging to the specific area more comfortable to contact you.

In addition, this IVR system features also include toll-free numbers, which gives a business a more professional and genuine feel. In-fact these numbers don’t cost a penny to the customers when they call you. Read more about the importance of a toll-free number for the success of your business in this article.

4. Dial Pad – IVR system features:

Ever wonder if you can carry a business without the hassle of carrying multiple phones. Well, VirtuIVR makes this possible. All you need is VirtuIVR software on your laptop or tablet. And on the dashboard of VirtuIVR, there is a dial pad similar to ones on the phone. This dial pad enables you to place calls directly from the laptop or tablet to your customer. This type of feature is best for the sales team.

5. Text Messages- IVR system features:

Another very useful feature is you can directly contact your clients and leads via SMS or text messages. Again there is no requirement of the phone. You can make a conversation just like you would do on a phone.

We all know how tedious it can be to write text messages on the phone. It can take a toll on our eyesight. But if you can type the same message directly from the dashboard on a laptop or tablet, it becomes much easier. You can send text or SMS messages straight to your clients without the need for any cell phone or service. Additionally, you can reply back to their messages and have a full conversation.

6. Lead ID Detection:

Moreover, you don’t have to wonder who is calling anymore. With VirtuIVR, state of the art Lead ID Detection, you will know exactly who is calling. The system will also store that information automatically for you. This way all your leads will be stored automatically and this will further reduce any chances of missing an important lead.

7. Voice-to-email:

 Another life-changing feature of this IVR system is that the entire voice message is saved automatically. It is generally noticed that businesses tend to avoid voice messages due to lack of time. To avoid this scenario VirtuIVR IVR system software sends all voice messages to your email.

8. Contacts – IVR system features:

Just like a traditional phone, all your contacts are automatically saved in the system. With one click you can find the client you wish to contact and can directly dial their number via software.

Unlike other software where you might have to manually dial the numbers using phone, VirtuIVR makes this process a lot simpler by directly dialing the numbers through a laptop or tablet.

9. Library:

There are two ways to save your customized greeting. Firstly, you can upload a pre-recorded message using outside software.

Secondly, you can record a message in the VirtuIVR system. Moreover, you can type your message, which will get converted to a voice message and will be played as per the setting and instructions.

10. Call Forwarding:

In case you are traveling or nobody in your office is available to receive calls at the business number, VirtuIVR lets you forward all incoming business calls and extensions to any landline and cellular platform.

This way you make sure that you are not missing any important business calls or new leads.

IVR system features

11. Call Recording:

All incoming calls are recorded for better user experience and customer service. Recording calls helps the business to assess its sales team and other front-facing employees. In addition to that, it helps in keeping a record of the type of issues existing customers mostly call your business. And it also helps in figuring out, what all questions a new customer can ask you. Therefore it prepares you in advance to deal with your customers. Furthermore, the storage capacity of this system is unlimited.

12. Powered by Twilio:

Twilio is one of the most trusted API systems throughout the world. And VirtuIVR Works with Twilio API. Each number is $1 per month and minutes are $0.0075. Therefore you don’t have to worry about the quality of service and customer care.

Conclusion:

In addition to the features listed above, VirtuIVR provides you with all these IVR system features at pricing that doesn’t break your bank. Undoubtedly, it should be noted that it just costs you $67 per year for all these wonderful services.

In order to get more clarity, we recommend you watch the demo of this software and you will yourself realize the ease of its usage and its effectiveness.

If you have any more questions about VirtuIVR, please feel free to contact us at sales@virtuivr.com.

How to create a good IVR script for any business to impress your customers?

We all know of the statement “First impression is the last one”. Well, this is true in most cases, especially in the professional world. And if you are using an Interactive Voice Response system or IVR, you must know and accept the importance of a good and clear IVR script in your business. It can be very helpful to annoy your customers if not done right. On the other hand, it should help you retain your customers or clients.

IVR is like the door to your business. A customer is not able to know you personally but the first time he will be making a contact with your business will be through an IVR. Therefore it is imperative to have a well-written, comprehendible, and effective IVR script for your business. Most of the time, IVR gets a bad rap because of poorly constructed IVR messages, inaudible IVR recording, and too much jargon in the script. This further leads to caller frustration and a lost business opportunity. We would suggest you go through the tips below to create a better IVR system for a better understanding of designing an efficient IVR system.

IVR script for business
A Typical IVR script flow for any business

In this article, we will talk about the perfect IVR script for any business in different stages or process of a call.

1. Welcome Greeting

Everybody likes to hear a warm and friendly greeting. It might just bring a smile on their face. Therefore make sure to include a welcome greeting in your IVR script. In particular, remember to keep it simple and short. In fact, the most used and approved greetings are mentioned below:

  • Thank you for calling XYZ company.
  • Thank you for calling XYZ. Don’t forget to check out www.xyz.com for a list of our latest specials and events.           
  • You have reached XYZ. Your call is important to us. Please hold while we connect your call.
  • Thank you for calling XYZ. Please hold, and one of our amazing support agents will answer your call as soon as possible.
  • Thank you for calling ABC,  where customer service is our priority.

2. Main Menu Message

After the greeting, comes the main menu options. Try to keep the options as less as possible. As a matter of fact, a standard that most companies follow is to have a maximum of 5 menu options with 3 submenu options at the most. Let us understand this with an IVR script:

IVR SCRIPT
Never have too many options in your Main menu

Firstly ask the customer to chose their language.

Hello, you have reached XYZ. “For English press 1. Para Español presione el número 2.”

Most importantly allow the customer to enter their option anytime during the whole message and not wait till for the whole message to finish. Furthermore, always include an option to talk to an operator.

  • For new customers, press 1
  • Customer support, press 2.
  • For billing, press 3.
  • For technical issue, press 4
  • If you would like to speak with an Operator, press 0.
  • Press 9 to repeat the menu.

3. Available Agents Greeting

Suppose in the above example, a customer presses 2 for customer support and his call gets directed to the agent. A message similar to the ones mentioned below will be appreciated:

4. Waiting IVR Message to make a good IVR script for any business

After the customer chooses their language and the option where they want to be connected, they would want to talk to the agent. In most cases, the agents are busy with other calls and there may be a wait time, the customer has to experience. In this scenario, a wait message script should be drafted to assure the customers that their request has been acknowledged and you are working on it.

Suppose the customer presses 3 for billing issues, the message should be like:

  • All of our agents are currently busy. Please hold, and we will answer your call as soon as possible.
  • All of our agents are busy at this time. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and we will answer your call

5. Delay Announcement

When a caller waits for over 2 minutes to talk to the agent, he is likely to get furious. So it is must send again a strong reassurance message.

  • Thank you for your patience. All of our agents are still busy. Please continue to hold and your call will be answered in the order it was received.
  • All of our agents are currently assisting other callers. Press 1 to leave a message. Press 2 to have an agent call you back.
  • All of our agents are still busy. Please visit our website at www.xyz.com for useful information, or continue to hold and the next available agent will take your call.

6. After Business Hour Greetings to make a good IVR script for any business

Since IVR systems can work 24/7 but this does not hold true for your agents. So there are chances your customers call after business hours and want to speak to an agent. In this case, a well-drafted IVR script saves your day.

  • Thank you for calling XYZ. We are currently unavailable to take your call. Please leave a message after the beep, or contact us during business hours: Monday through Friday between 9 am and 5 pm Eastern Standard Time. Thank you!
  • Thank you for calling XYZ. You have reached this message because it is after business hours. Please leave a message after the beep, or call back between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

7. Holiday Closure Greetings

In addition, there are chances a caller might call you during a national or a festive holiday. You can have a separate IVR recording which will take the caller to the next prompt.

  • Thank you for calling XYZ, we are currently closed in observance of [holiday name]. We will return on [Date] at 8 AM Eastern Standard Time.
  • To leave a voicemail, please press 2.
  • To repeat this menu, please press the # key.
  • [If no response after a few seconds] Goodbye

After Pressing 2

  • Thank you for your message, our executive will contact you upon our return.

8. Intelligent Reconnect Prompt

The last one on our list of IVR script for any business is Intelligent Reconnect Prompt. In this case, if a customer calls back after a disconnection within the intelligent reconnect time threshold. They should hear a message as follows:

  • It looks like you recently called us and were disconnected. Can we attempt to reconnect you with the agent you were speaking with? If you would rather return to the main menu, please press 1 now. Otherwise, stay on the line to be reconnected.
  • You’ve reached XYZ. It looks like you called us recently. Would you like to skip the line and be connected to the next available agent? If you would prefer to return to the main menu, press 1.

Conclusion:

Altogether, make sure you use somewhat similar messages as mentioned above when drafting your IVR script because a good IVR script can make or break customers’ interest in your company. The situations and script in this article are applicable to all types of businesses.

Apart from this, if you want help with IVR script of a specific industry such as banking, healthcare, restaurant, and many others, please leave a comment below or contact us at sales@virtuivr.com. Our team will help you in drafting the most effective IVR script for your organization.

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.

7 Reasons you must have an IVR for Small Business

How do you feel when you are calling somebody for the first time and hear these statements on an IVR of small business?

“The number you are trying to call is currently busy. Please try again later.”

OR

“The number you are trying to call is out of coverage area. Please try again later. “

Will you call them again or call somebody who offers you the same service/ product and is easily reachable. We are sure you feel irritated the same way we feel. And chances are you won’t call them again and instead call the other option.

Do you know how much business can you lose with these unanswered calls? According to a survey by High Level Marketing, around 60 percent of your potential clients will move on to your competitors. You can’t change the past but you can make your future more productive by using IVR for all your businesses. 

IVR or Interactive Virtual Response system serves as an e-receptionist by greeting the caller and then directing the calls to the appropriate departments without any delay and error. If you wish to know more about IVR and how it works, please go through our article on the Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) Guide.

Let’s understand the reasons why you cannot miss to get an IVR for your small business

1. Better Customer Support

ACD benefits

When you call a business with an IVR system, you will automatically be routed to the correct person or department that can address your issue. IVR uses the Automatic Call Distribution feature, which directs the incoming call to the appropriate destination.

This whole automated call process reduces the hold time for a customer. As a result customer satisfaction increases and who doesn’t want a happy customer.

2. By having IVR for small business in place, your greetings won’t be affected if you are having a rough day

IVR for small business
Always greet your customer with a happy message!

Being a human means we have emotions, hence it is understandable you are going through a rough day. But how will your customer feel if they hear a sad or rude greeting? They also have emotions and they too won’t like the harsh voice.

Luckily IVR can take care of this. It is a machine, not affected by emotions. It will greet your customers with customized and personalized welcome messages creating a positive impact on them.

3. Never miss a call again even if you have only one phone

Yes you heard it right, if you are a freelancer or a solo entrepreneur chance are that you have one phone for your personal as well as business use. It’s only normal that your phone is busy most of the time. And clients don’t like to be ignored or to be asked to call back again. As the truth is you need them, they don’t need you.

IVR for small businesses

With IVR you don’t need more phones, you just need a laptop/desktop to manage calls. IVR system provides you with custom or toll-free numbers, which can be assigned to various support agents. In addition to that, in case all your support agents are busy IVR also stores the information of the caller and their voice message for follow-up. 

4. Reduces cost of operation and 24*7 service by having an IVR for all your business

Benefits of IVR
Attend multiple calls simultaneously

The IVR system these days is very easy on the pocket to install. They don’t require an extensive setup. And with single IVR you can handle 10 calls simultaneously. Which otherwise would have required at least 5 operators increasing your budget by a large amount. Therefore it helps you in saving a lot of your manpower expenses. IVR eliminates the cost of hiring new people for attending customer calls and helps you save your resources for a better investment option

Virtu IVR

VirtulVR is one such IVR system that has services starting from only $67 per year.

Not only that IVR will also handle calls beyond your normal operation hours without any need of an operator. This again helps you in retaining more customers by giving them timely resolutions.

5. Enhance your Professional Image

Clients are impressed by businesses, startups, freelancers who sound professional and value their customers time. A client won’t be impressed if they call your phone and nobody answers. If the phone simply rings, it does come off as a little too casual.

In fact if you have had an IVR system in place, your business will have a toll free number or a customized number which lools more professional. And with a call menu in place, your caller will consider your business more credible and reliable. 

In addition to that you can keep your caller engaged when on hold with nice music or a message aligning with your brand.

According to Call Source

“In a study, 72% of people correctly recalled vanity numbers after hearing a 30-second advertisement. The same advertisement with a numeric number resulted in a recall rate of just 5%!”

Still unsure if your consumers will want to dial a toll-free phone number to reach your business? Think again: 90% of Americans say they use toll-free numbers.

6. Stores all the queries and call data for future reference and call monitoring

It is very difficult to remember all the call details or make a note of the calls if you are working alone or have a small team. But it also very important to have all this data stored for future reference and to avoid any misunderstandings among you and your client. To maintain a transparent process, it is essential to store all the call data. IVR helps us to store this data and makes it easily accessible when required.

The second advantage of recording calls is in monitoring calls your support agents. It helps in training the agents and making them more prepared to answer calls more effectively. 

7. Gives more freedom for mobility

If you are a freelancer or starting a new business, which means you have to run around or travel to take care of many other issues is it professional or personal.

So no matter how big or small your team is or how near or far part your team members are, you can stay connected. IVR turns your cell phone into your office phone – no matter where you go or where you work from, the world is your virtual office.

Conclusion:

The above benefits should make you realize how important it is to have an IVR system for your business. Business can be small or big, but ultimately we all want to grow. Therefore we should think big to achieve big. It does not matter if you are a freelancer or solo entrepreneur, everyone deserves to put their best foot forward to make a long-lasting impression on your clients.

And when the investment is so little compared to its benefits, one cannot ignore to take advantage of the system.  

Want IVR for yourself or your company, check out VirtulVR. They offer quality service at a very competitive price and are built on the Twilio platform, one of the most trusted in the industry.

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.