Have you ever received a phone call from your doctor's office with a greeting from an automated message confirming your upcoming appointment? What about when you call your bank or pharmacist -- have you ever answered automated questions by either entering the numbers on your telephone keypad or by saying the numbers (or other standard responses like "yes" and "no")? If so, you have had firsthand experience with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) software?
Whenever you interact with an automated telephone system, whether it be an outgoing automated message or a recording that asks you for voice or keypad prompts, you are dealing with an IVR system. Older IVR software only uses keypad prompts, so dialers using rotary telephones must simply wait through the menu in order to be transferred to a live operator. New IVR software gives callers options such as the following: "To access [specified menu], press or say the number one".
Traditionally, IVR systems have been used by businesses to save time and money through the use of automated telephone systems instead of live phone operators. Incoming calls can be answered quicker and more effectively using IVR software than by human oprators alone. Before IVR systems, calls to government agencies or large businesses were often met with busy signals during peak business hours. With the help of IVR software, lost calls can be eliminated.
Sometimes the only information that a caller needs is their location or hours of operation. With IVR systems, calls are answered immediately and crucial information like this is easily accessbile. With the use of automatesd systems that give out pertinent information, businesses can cut down on the amount of time customers spend on hold and save their manpower for customers who really need live assistance.
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