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IVR Systems

How IVR Systems Can Benefit Your Business

Businesses often deal with numerous calls each day to customer service representatives, requiring multiple dedicated resources to handle the workload. An interactive voice response (IVR) system has the ability to reduce call volume without sacrificing the high level of service a company’s customers expect.

Featuring the latest technology in telephony, IVR allows customers to interact with a computerized system by either punching numbers into the phone’s keypad or speaking. The system recognizes these commands and can deliver in-depth information based on it, including answers to frequently asked questions, account balances, and operating hours.

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IVR in Large Businesses

Large enterprises were among the first to adapt IVR technology, noting its ability to offer 24-hour service and reduced call volume.

Healthcare compliance company Executive Health Resources found that using IVR, they could provide callers with an opportunity to choose between getting a call back later or being connected with a qualified physician advisor when they called for advice on compliance-related issues.

The IVR solution enabled them to provide 24-hour turnaround on requests from their clients, which include more than 2300 hospitals and health systems.

Scripps Newspaper Group turned to IVR to help manage complaint calls and vacation stops and restarts at its multiple newspaper offices throughout the U.S.

By implementing IVR, the company was able to handle 10,000 calls a day at multiple newspaper offices. Scripps estimated the switch will save the company $1.5 million each year.

IVR in Small Businesses

IVR technology has been especially beneficial to small businesses, who can utilize the services to level the playing field. With IVR absorbing many of the calls, small businesses can operate with fewer employees, saving resources as they grow.

Online concierge service Lifebooker.com uses IVR to manage more than 200 confirmation calls per day. The website, which specializes in booking spa appointments in real time, found that IVR not only automated the process of sending bookings to spas, but it also had the scalability to grow as the business did.

Advantages of Using IVR

A business that draws a large amount of telephone communication from customers can find it challenging to keep up as the business grows.

An IVR can handle the most basic calls by answering common questions and directing customers to the appropriate departments. This allows businesses to reduce the number of salaried or hourly employees dedicated to answering phone lines each day.

In addition to cost savings, businesses can also give customers immediate assistance at the hours that are most convenient for them. If they need help on a weekend or in the evening, an IVR can answer many of the questions they might have and during business hours, customers won’t be forced to wait for a live operator.

Potential Drawbacks

One common complaint of any menu-based phone system is that customers can easily get lost in the many layers of options. As a business grows, its phone system tends to grow with it, forcing customers to endure long lists of options.

Voice recognition software can also be frustrating, even as advanced as it has become. If a customer finds the system doesn’t understand the information being recited repeatedly, that customer will soon want to speak with a live person, so be sure that option is offered.

Software Providers

There are many IVR software options on the market today, many of which are cloud-based. Here are a few to consider:

  • RingCentral - With prices starting at $24.99 per month, RingCentral works with traditional IP-based phones and through an app installed on a user’s smartphone.
  • Callfire - In addition to IVR, CallFire offers text messaging, voice broadcast, and a cloud-based call center starting at $99 per month. A pay-as-you-go model is also available.
  • Five9 - Five9 can integrate with a business’s CRM solution to create a contact center. Pricing is provided on a customized basis.
  • InContact - InContact’s solution features IVR, Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), and workforce optimization tools. Customers pay only for the services they need.

There are many benefits of an IVR, as well as a few downsides. By choosing the right service for your company, you can improve productivity and reduce operating costs without sacrificing great customer service.