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IVR: A Quick Guide

If you run an inbound call center or receive a high volume of calls to your business, an interactive voice response (IVR) system can help you streamline your customer service and increase customer satisfaction.

An auto-responder enables inbound callers to access information through vocal commands. IVR can identify the caller, segment and differentiate customers, and route calls to the right agent. If you are handling a large number of requests from customers inquiring about the same information, IVR can provide them with this information while waiting in the queue.

When used appropriately, IVR simplifies your customer service processes, enhances efficiency, and decreases call center costs.

Need to get set up with a call center first? Checkout our inbound call center vendors to get started.

Benefits of Interactive Voice Response

Utilizing an IVR auto responder in your call center can have positive consequences for your agents, your customers, and your budget. The benefits of a strategically implemented IVR system can include:

  • Shorter wait times. Rather than waiting to speak to a central receptionist to be transferred to a specialized agent, the auto-responder cuts out the middleman, thus shortening the caller’s wait to their agent’s specific queue – not the entire company’s.
  • Call routing. Incoming callers can communicate their information to the auto-responder, which in turn sends the call to the agent most well-equipped to help that customer with their specific issue. Not only does this speed up the call transfer process – it also shortens the length of the call itself, as customers no longer have to explain their issue to several different agents before being sent to the right one.
  • 27/7 service. Your IVR system can function all day, every day. Even when agents are not available, the IVR can receive calls and provide customer service for basic questions as well as more specific needs.

Special Considerations

Your IVR system improves your call center’s customer service only when it is implemented in an appropriate and effective manner. When customers feel that the IVR detracts from their call experience, doesn’t route them properly, or sends them on a confusing wild goose chase through the system, their satisfaction drastically decreases.

Although there are some people who will always dislike IVR, you can improve its reception among your customers by keeping in mind these special considerations:

  • Proper scriptingJust as your call center agents need a script that is optimized for effectiveness, so, too, does your auto-responder. Make sure that the script you use in your IVR system is easy to understand, easy to navigate, and functions well for a wide variety of needs.
  • Opt out option. Some people prefer to avoid the auto-responder and ask to be sent straight to a live agent. Others may have specific needs that aren’t clearly addressed by the IVR, or may become confused during the navigation process. Make it easy for those callers to reach a live agent at any point in the IVR process to avoid dropped calls and dissatisfied customers. 

Interactive voice response technology can save your call center money by reducing the number of agents you need on your staff. It increases customer satisfaction by shortening wait times, sending them directly to the agent most well-equipped to help them, and providing them with after-hours and weekend assistance when agents are unavailable.

Implemented with the right script, an IVR system can prove a beneficial investment for your call center.

If you’re interested in IVR, you may also want to check out call center software and outbound call centers