Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling (DTMF) tones input via keypad.
In telecommunications, IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which they can service their own inquiries by following the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions. IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes.
IVR systems are typically intended to service high call volumes, reduce cost and improve the customer experience. Examples of typical IVR applications are telephone banking, televoting, and credit card services. Companies also use IVR services to extend their business hours to 24/7 operation. The use of IVR and voice automation allows callers’ queries to be resolved without the need for queueing and incurring the cost of a live agent. If callers do not find the information they need or require further assistance, their calls are often transferred to an agent. This makes for a more efficient system in which agents have more time to deal with complex interactions. The agents do not deal with basic inquiries that require yes/no responses or obtaining customer details.
Common IVR services include:
- Mobile — Pay-As-You-Go account funding; registration; mobile purchases, such as ring tones and logos
- Banking — balance, payments, transfers, transaction history
- Retail & Entertainment — orders, bookings, credit & debit card payments
- Utilities — meter readings; account look-up, history and balance, payment, consumption history
- Travel — ticket booking, flight information, check-in
- Weather forecasts, water, road and ice conditions