At the most basic level, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a way to automate an interaction that takes place over the phone.
Originally, IVR worked like an automatic switchboard; as a way to direct phone calls. It prompted callers to select an option that best fit the reason for their call and routed them to the appropriate person or call queue.
Using IVR as an automated attendant reduced costs, but it also earned IVR a bad reputation where labyrinthine phone tree menu options did little for customer satisfaction.
Over the years IVR became a more functional tool. As IVR technology developed more features it became a better solution for a wider range of self-service tasks. IVR technology can now integrate with databases, CRMs, and other systems. This means that you can use IVR to automate a lot of processes.
What can IVR do?
An IVR interacts with telephone systems the same way a web browser interacts with the internet. Like a web browser, IVR applications can input, request, and present dynamic information in real time.
Virtually any task or process that requires numeric, text, or speech input may be a candidate for automation using IVR. To get an idea how companies use and innovate with IVR, look through some of our case studies. Check out our recommended best practices to ensure you get the most out of your IVR solution(s).
Communications Platform as a Service
As it stands today, companies don’t have to rely on on-site PBXs or servers in order to use IVR. Instead, companies have the option of using IVR as part of a cloud-based communications platform.
Communications Platforms as a Service (cPaaS) offerings have more, robust features and can integrate with other communications channels.
These systems are designed to handle a range of communications needs. IVR remains a central component of many cPaaS products and can drive communications through voice, web, SMS, MMS, and social media channels.
Benefits of IVR/cPaaS
Improved Customer Experience
Research suggests that 40% or more of customers prefer self-service options over speaking to a live agent. An IVR/cPaaS solution gives customers this option twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
With IVR, customers spend less time on the phone when they call because voice self-service applications help reduce average hold time.
Tapping into available call analytics also help you optimize your applications to better serve your customers.
It’s expensive to employ customer service agents, so to have them spend time handling rote tasks doesn’t always make sense.
Automating those tasks with IVR is a fraction of the cost and frees up those agents to provide better, high-touch service to customers with complex problems. So, you end up spending less for better customer service.
Furthermore, cloud-based services eliminate the need to buy and maintain on-site software, resulting in additional cost savings.
Adopting a cPaaS platform to handle IVR and other voice applications allows you to use APIs to connect to and integrate with a wide arrange of external technologies. This enables your voice apps to utilize real time data.
A platform like Plum Fuse+, that offers pre-built applications, shortens development cycles and rapidly accelerates testing and deployment timelines. Built-in analytics and reporting make it easier to optimize applications for great customer experiences.