Have you ever picked up the phone, only to hear a friendly recording communicate information to you? If so, you most likely encountered an IVR solution implemented by the calling party to either engage with or gather pertinent information from you – the customer.
IVR solutions are designed to deliver positive outreach to groups of people – be it a healthcare organization’s patients, a university’s students, or an electoral campaign’s voters. Short for interactive voice response, an IVR is the technology that automates inbound and outbound phone calls for the purpose of decreasing costs associated with offering services, sales, collections, patient help, student retention and engagement, and support to and from a company.
Thanks to the latest IVR solutions, responding to customers in a timely manner has never been easier. It is now second nature for customers to use an IVR to book a flight, make a doctor’s appointment, check their bank balance, submit an insurance claim, and more. For businesses, an IVR solution can streamline customer service with a cost-effective solution that meets customer needs.
While IVR solutions used to utilize pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to communicate options to callers, as well as keypad entry to collect responses, today’s most up-to-date IVR solutions also allow for responses through voice recognition capabilities.
IVR solutions run on IVR platforms, or the hardware and software that provide the ability to play and record prompts, as well as collect input via touch-tone. In addition, IVR platforms can recognize speech from callers via voice recognition capabilities, convert spoken words and phrases to a machine-readable format, and transfer IVR calls to the appropriate call center representative or telephone.
Designed to solve each customer’s unique business inquiry, IVR applications exist on these platforms in order to control and respond to calls. In addition to gathering data, transferring calls, and prompting callers, these applications retrieve archived records and data that may be needed during the course of a call through back-end database and servers.
Some common IVR solutions currently out on the market include customized tools for collection agencies; election surveys and outreach; surveys; smoking cessation; and more. Companies and organizations are also increasingly implementing IVR solutions for the purpose of reaching out to patients for the collection and delivery of essential information; to address students’ uncertainties in an educational environment; and for customer accessibility to utilities information and payment options.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.
Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell