We are sure that you have heard the following message on calling an office.
“Hello. Thank you for calling. Please press 1 to schedule an appointment. Press 2 to speak with a representative.”
Did you ever wonder who is the voice behind this meticulous message? Is it a person or a machine? Well the technical term of this message is called Interactive Voice Response or IVR.
And this article is going to prove to be a guide to all those who wish to know more about the Interactive Voice Response system (IVR). Simultaneously are confused if their business or startup requires such a setup.
Firstly let’s start with the basics:
What is Interactive Voice Response System/ IVR?
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.
In simpler terms, when you call a bank, hospital, or any other business, you hear a pre-recorded message asking you to press or say a specific number to get connected to the concerned department or individual. This voice is called Interactive Voice Response or IVR. It basically serves as an e-receptionist by greeting the caller and then directing the calls to the appropriate departments without any delay and error.
Further lets delve into some technical stuff and understand how it works.
How does Interactive Voice Response System Work?
A typical IVR system consists of a computer attached to a phone line through a telephony board and an IVR software. The software stores the pre-recorded message which you hear as part of the greetings and informing you of the menu. The customer can then, speak or push the button on the dial pad matching to its choice. The software identifies the response and route the customer to his selected path.
Let us take an example to elucidate it further. When you call a business, you hear a greeting message followed by the below options:
Press 1 if you want to continue in English.
Press 2 for Spanish.
Suppose the customer presses 1, the IVR will continue to speak in English and further ask you:
Press 1 to connect to the sales team.
Press 2 to connect to the HR team.
Press 3 to connect to the PR team.
At this time the customer will choose the option based on his preference. And will be automatically directed to the specific team. Therefore IVR acts like a virtual receptionist, only more accurate, quick, and affordable.
IVR are broadly of two types single level and multi level.
Single Level Interactive Voice Response:
In single-level the IVR provides you with only one option and then directs you to an agent. Thus this comes in handy for small organizations and solo entrepreneurs.
Multi Level Interactive Voice Response:
The above example is a multi-level IVR system. It has various levels where the IVR filters the queries based on language and department. Hence bigger organizations, banks, hospitals use multi-level IVR.
Now that we are familiar with what is IVR and how it works, let’s go through a more important topic that why IVR is the need of the hour for your business.
Why does your business need an Interactive Voice Response System?
- More efficient and error free process:
As we have already mentioned, IVR imitates the work of a receptionist and makes the entire call process more refined and less prone to error. In addition to that it helps to easily filter and prioritize calls, hence reducing the wait time.
- Handles more volume of calls:
Since it is an automatic process that streamlines the entire call process, it helps in reducing the queue time, making it able to handle more calls.
- Budget Friendly:
Setting up an IVR system is way cheaper than hiring an operator. Moreover, it requires a nominal amount of charges for IVR software.
- 24*7 Customer Service:
The biggest advantage is that a machine never gets weary and does not require to work in shifts. A machine can work 24*7 and make sure that you are not missing any new leads or are disappointing your existing customers.
- Record calls for monitoring and store data:
IVR records the call, making the whole call process transparent. These recorded calls help to monitor the calls and make sure the customer handling was proper. It also assists in the training of the agent.
- Increase first call resolution:
In every business retaining a customer is the biggest challenge, which means customer satisfaction is the utmost priority of a business. With IVR the inquiries are handled effectively and escalated to the most appropriate agent. As a result, the issues of customers get resolved more speedily.
- Increases Professionalism:
You don’t need to be a big company or an organization to be professional. It is equally important for the startups, solo entrepreneurs, and freelancers to put a professional face in front of a prospective client. And IVR helps you and your company give a formal and professional feel.
- More Personalized Messages:
Advanced IVR systems can help you set up more personalized messages. This means you can create messages or personalized greetings for repeat customers. Using personalized messages creates a sense of belonging among the customers and helps customer retention in the long run.
We are sure after reading the benefits of an IVR system, you have understood how important it is to have an IVR system in place for you to succeed. Whether you work for a multinational company, a startup, or are a freelancer, you need an IVR system to make you more efficient and professional.
Eventually, we all know that “the customer is god” in any business. If a customer is happy, your business will flourish. The customer will be satisfied if you are professional, efficient, and make them feel important. Interactive Virtual Response System helps you in all these areas.
Don’t wait for others to tell you to get a IVR system, go get your IVR now!