IVR has become one of the most essential communication components a business can have in today's world. From insurance and real estate agents to health care clinics, a lot of industries have implemented IVR into their business communication systems.
IVR simply means Interactive Voice Message. It is the technology responsible for the virtual menus you are offered when you call up a company or business. You might have called a company and heard something like "Welcome to …... the leading company in …industry. Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support …., etc. This is what is known as IVR or better yet, a virtual assistant or digital receptionist. After greetings like the one above, callers are then given virtual menus to select from by dialing a particular digit. This helps with routing the calls to the right department, such as sales, support, accounting, etc.
Just like VoIP systems, IVRs can also be hardware which are based on on-site systems, or cloud based which means they’ll be delivered through the use of the internet. However, the latter is the more popular version due to cloud communication technology expansion. A VoIP IVR system requires no hardware. It is based on software which requires back and front operations.
VoIP vendors usually provide IVR services either as a standalone service or as an integrated solution. In other words, this means that it can either work with the existing VoIP system of a company or be included in the package of a new VoIP phone service.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES IVR DO?
IVR helps you to:
-Route The Calls To The Appropriate Department - IVR is basically integrated with Automatic Call Distribution. This is a software that provides you with the ability to route calls to other departments, ring groups, specific extensions, etc. IVR is able to route your calls based on dialed numbers, time factor, and other parameters.
-Handle Simple Transactions - A lot of business that deal with billing and customer service systems make use of IVR. IVR allows callers to enter personal information, such as their ID numbers or credit card details; this simply means that it helps with making the necessary operations quite easy without the need for any human assistance.
-Conduct Surveys and Polls - IVR is usually associated with incoming calls, however, it can also be used for outgoing calls. Examples include outbound surveys, opt out of calling campaigns, option speaking with an operator, etc. With IVR, you'll be equipped with a very efficient and cost-effective way to procure feedback on customer services, and also, to garner valuable information.
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IVR AS YOUR BEST FRIEND
-Reduce Costs - As a business owner, you'll be able to save money as you won't need to hire the services of a receptionist or an operator for the handling of incoming calls and other simple transactions. IVR also helps you save time.
-Improves Customer Service - Your customers will remain satisfied as your call queue will get shorter, thereby significantly reducing their waiting time. They also will not have to move from one extension to the other before getting the necessary information they seek.
-Scales Up and Down - You are in charge of how complicated your IVR will be. As your business scales up, you might be inclined to open more departments and offices in different locations, thereby needing more options in IVR.
-Makes Data Network Simple - With IVR, you do not need to keep dedicated voice lines. Therefore, you won't have to manage separate voice and data network.
There are also smart IVRs that allows you to transfer your calls back to an ACD system, then route the call to the next available extension within a ring group.
IVR AND AUTO ATTENDANT - ARE THEY THE SAME?
IVR and Auto Attendant have been used interchangeably a lot of times, therefore, it is only important to be aware of the differences between these two. Auto attendant simply redirect calls based on preset rules. No matter how many options you decide to set, the call will eventually end up with a person or in a voicemail box.
IVR on the other hand, is a more complex system. It not only routes the calls to the right agents in an incredibly smart way, it also provides callers with the ability to enter their personal information, and also conducts simple customer interactions such as billing, checking account balances, etc. This is made possible all thanks to the IVR integration with the database of your company.
IVR IS USER FRIENDLY
You can customize the menu of your IVR service, enabling it to play back dynamic audio or pre-recorded options. You don't want to start imagining how complex these menus can be. The caller can navigate through the menu, use touch-tone, keystrokes, or spoken commands to select an option.
IVR has the right capabilities to handle high volumes of phone calls, therefore allowing callers to get every information they need twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and three hundred and sixty five days a year. All information will be accessed without the help of a human being.
Businesses with multiple call lines in need of advanced enterprise grade features, limited budget, and call overflow are all turning to IVR as they are now aware that it is the best solution to all of their needs.
IVR is gaining more ground as more and more businesses and industries are making it one of their most used functions. As a rule, it is provided with a VoIP business phone service. Why you might ask? The answer is quite simple. You wouldn't want to deny your business the opportunity of getting increased flexibility, simplified processes, and reduced costs now, would you? There's also the benefit of improved customer satisfaction to enjoy. IVR is simply one of the greatest things that can happen to your business.