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Business IVR Systems

What are they?

Business IVR systems are used to help organizations improve customer service and reduce expenses by providing efficient touch-tone based services to callers. IVR is a phone system application that prompts callers with recorded messages and options. This application processes voice input and/or touch-phone keypad selections from these menus.

Businesses use this system to automate requests for basic information and frequently asked questions, so that customer service representatives can focus on assisting customers with more complex questions or issues.

How do they work?

When a customer calls a place of business and an interactive voice response (IVR) system answers, a customer is greeted by an automated outgoing message which provides them with several options. The majority of business IVR systems still gather input via keypad entries, although voice recognition is becoming increasingly popular. Either way, an automated system will allow customers to access information as quickly as possible. General information and answers to frequently asked questions can be programmed into the IVR system to reduce hold times and expedite that calls that require live operator interaction.

Most people have had some experience with IVR systems, although they might not be recognized as such. For example, when a customer phones their pharmacy, they no longer have to wait to speak with an employee in order to get their prescription refilled. An IVR system actually allows a customer to input their information using their telephone keypad.

The most advanced form of IVR software includes voice recognition capabilities, which a growing number of companies are choosing to use. Many customers have encountered this type of automation already -- if they've ever called a business and the outgoing greeting says, "For [specified menu option], press or say the number one," then they have used voice automation software. This is particularly helpful to people who have some physical disability that would prevent them from using a keypad.

Benefits of this system

Potential applications for IVR are virtually endless and can be used to automate a wide range of services and requests for information. There are many benefits, both to the company and to the caller, of using these applications.

The business benefits because live call handling time and call volume decrease. This means that the business would not have to employ as many telephone operators or customer service representatives, which would reduce business operating costs.

IVR provides callers with the ability to automatically interact with the phone system while obtaining information or performing transactions. This system is of great benefit to customers as it reduces the amount of time that they are spending on hold and allows them to access basic information quickly without operator assistance.

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