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What is IVR?

IVR, or interactive voice response, is a technology that businesses use to provide customer service.

If you have ever called your bank or credit card company you have probably used an interactive voice response system. Interactive voice response systems are used by hundreds of companies worldwide.

Here's how it works: a customer will call a company looking for help with a problem or question.

A computer answers the phone and the customer interacts with a database through their touch-tone phone. The database acquires information through the numbers that the customer pushes.

Information that the caller needs is then retrieved from the database.

Interactive voice response is often used to gather information for telephone surveys.

Survey respondents are asked questions and then given a variety of answers from which to select. The respondent uses the phone's keypad to select the answer that he wants. These answers are then retrieved from the database for later use.

Interactive voice response saves companies money. Instead of employing operators the company simply relies on a computer database.

Interactive Voice Response Services

Until recently the main focus of Interactive Voice Response has been providing businesses and their customers with automated, interactive phone systems.

Public utility companies, for instance, usually use an automated voice that answers the phone, not a live person. This automated voice is programmed to provide me with a menu of options from which the caller may choose.

Newer interactive voice response technology - short voice response systems - allow callers to use their voice to navigate through the menu.

Interactive Voice Response Systems

Interactive Voice Response Systems allow people to interact with computer automated phone systems. For instance, when a person calls their pharmacy for a refill a pre-recorded voice can offer a menu of voice or keypad prompts: prescription refill number, for instance.

Historically, companies had to use live operators to answer incoming calls from customers. Now companies have a choice.

A Cheap Answering Service?

Callers realize interactive voice response systems help big businesses save money and labour. This can leave callers with a definite impression of a cheap answering service - not what the company would like! Small companies can benefit from this. A live phone answering service says a lot about what the company thinks about its customers.

Other uses for Interactive Voice Response

There is a place for interactive voice response systems. Many oil and gas companies use interactive voice response based work alone program available from the sophisticated VMS-4500 switch and provided by Select Communications. Contact us for more information on the pros and cons and uses of IVR - we'd love to talk to you!

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