An IVR system (Interactive Voice Response System) seems to be the wave of the future when it comes to automated phone services. No longer limited to simple menus such as "For [blank] option, press one" -- today's advanced automated systems can accurately recognize and respond to spoken word commands. Whether it be an answering system designed to address Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), a web-based weather service, or an automated telephone banking system, this system is revolutionizing the world of customer service.
If you're having trouble understanding what I'm talking about, don't worry. There are a lot of easy-to-understand examples that can be used to simplify the complexity of interactive voice response systems. I myself am no computer expert, but I tend to understand computer technology best when it can be compared to other things. At its most basic level, IVR software is like a computer-driven office assistant -- it answeres calls and can even make calls to help the business.
Many doctors offices use this type of system to remind patients of their appointments the day before they are scheduled. This task used to be performed by one of the medical office staff but now it is automated. The way this system works is that the day before an appoinment, a patient will receive a call. When they answer their phone, they will hear a pre-recorded message that says "We are calling to confirm your appointment for [given date] at [given time]." Why take up a staff member's time making that call, when automated IVR systems can handle it perfectly?
Large-scale sales calling campaigns are also greatly aided by the use of an interactive voice response system. IVR providers can create telephony applications that incorporate huge databases of names and telephone numbers that can automatically be dialed through the use of power dialing software. This technology increases the efficency of sales workers by reducing their down time -- using a power dialer gets the next potential customer on the line for them while they are finishing up with the first.
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