IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is an automated telephone system that facilitates the interaction process between the business and the callers. The system gathers information and routes different calls to the right recipient. The IVR system often accepts voice telephone input as well as touch-tone keypad selection to provide the right responses in different media forms, including fax, e-mail and callback.
The system consists of software applications, a supporting infrastructure and a database, including telephony equipment. The common applications of the IVR for business include:
- Retrieve real-time information
The IVR system helps to retrieve simple, real time information from the database. The system is particularly useful in the movie industry where movies are listed and updated on the central database. When a caller gets in touch with the theater, he/she will be able to know the times of the movie in the database via the keypad or voice commands.
The IVR system is also used for reviewing credit card purchases, checking account balances, refilling prescriptions from the pharmacy, checking flight schedules, university class registration, scheduling car maintenance and more.
- Useful for sales
The IVR system is often used in the sales process. The sales department can design an IVR order that allows callers to fill using their phone keypad. Once the order form is completed, the computer system can e-mail or fax the form to the sales staff. The sales department will use the IVR to highlight features of the products or services. This makes it possible for the department to give the customer a live company representative.
- Market the business
Political pollsters and the marketing department can use the call features of the IVR system. The political campaigns can design an ongoing message, which features a poll that allows voters to fill out through the phone. Furthermore, the marketing department can determine the interest of the customers in the company’s products or services. Customers who are interested in making a purchase can press a key that will direct them to a live sales associate.