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What Is IVR - Interactive Voice Response

What is IVR?

If you need to automate a business process over the phone, an IVR is the answer.

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Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

The acronym IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response. IVR is defined as a technology that interacts with users over the phone to deliver and collect information in an automated fashion. IVR software picks up phone calls for you, asks questions for you, and delivers timely information to callers.

IVR can be a virtual receptionist, secretary, operator, and customer service representative. If you need to automate a process over the phone, an IVR system is the answer.

Better Customer Service

An IVR picks up the phone before the first ring, every time, 24 hours a day. Callers can navigate through IVR menus using either their keypad or voice commands to access information over the phone.

IVR Customer Service in a Call Center Comparison Diagram

 

Hosted or Onsite

Hosted IVR provides the customer with a hands-free approach, where the IVR system resides in the cloud and the responsibility for maintenance and management of telecommunications and servers falls on the vendor.

Onsite IVR is preferable when direct integration with your existing contact center, agent and telephony systems is needed. Plum provides as much server support as you need, but you are responsible for your facility, networking, and telecommunications.

 

Development Options

You can use the Plum Fuse rapid application development tool or you can write the VoiceXML code yourself. Like HTML, VoiceXML is an open standard based on XML, and hence development and maintenance of IVR applications with VoiceXML does not require specialized knowledge of proprietary and obscure telephony languages.

Today’s IVR

IVR has been around a long time, but it wasn’t until the 2000s when it started to become more accessible and cost effective for businesses of all sizes. Dramatic increases in computer processing power enabled huge advances in speech recognition which revolutionized the IVR industry. Advances in speech synthesis technology have also made conversations with IVR systems natural and pleasant, unlike their robotic, inaccurate predecessors.  In addition, the acceptance of cloud computing has led to an increase in the use of IVR as it removes the need for businesses to invest in infrastructure to process calls.

Today, interactive voice response is the standard for all organizations that receive high call volumes as part of their business.