What is IVR System? And How It Benefits Your Business?

11 - Jan - 2021 All   Customer Satisfaction   Customer Support   Integrations   Marketing  
IVR System Interactive Voice Response technology
IVR System-Interactive Voice Response technology

What is IVR System? And What Does It Stand For?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response technology”.  It is a large umbrella of software-based communication systems called Computer Telephony Integration or CTI. Also, Firms offering IVR services enable recording automated voicemail messages and routing calls. IVR can be very useful in other aspects of business such as website, database and CRM integration, reporting, and bill processing.

In the past, Interactive Voice Response IVR was only connected to telephonic calls where an automated voice recording would communicate with the customer. In addition, you would need to press a number to navigate the system. With new IVR customers can speak directly with the system speech recognition. However, button-based low-cost IVR is still used by many businesses.

What is Visual IVR System?

Visual IVR System is another aspect presented by IVR providers. Usually, organizations that provide graphic IVR also provide traditional IVR (phone). This IVR shifts the first phase of customer interaction from the telephone to a device such as a smartphone or a laptop. Hence, the customer themselves gives the preferred mode of customer service they like by filling the information online. The appropriate agent will receive such calls via a visual IVR System instantly bypassing the touch-tone or voice-activated process.

IVR Scenario with Voice Bot

how it works
how it works

This technology helps ease the effort for customers to move away from using the keypad on the phone. This helps to create a better IVR experience.

The interactive voice response (IVR) market value was at USD 3.44 Billion in 2016, and the industry is expecting it to shoot up to USD 5.54 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.83% during the forecast period. The same has been illustrated in the graph below:


Why Do Businesses Require IVR?

If you are a business owner, then you are looking at the potential to optimize your employee productivity. Using an IVR System helps you to reduce redundant tasks thereby streamlining your operations. IVR as a tool provides businesses with an affordable manner to streamline their calling procedures for customers and employees. Here are the main reasons why a business would benefit from using IVR services:

  • Effective Customer Service
    Fast-growing businesses often find themselves without adequate customer service agents or supporting technology.  The implementation for IVR solutions is quick, and you can scale it up as per the company’s growth easily. Hence, you will be able to reduce your wait times for clients. An IVR System also influences the aspect of hiring more employees to scan the questions and direct calls to the appropriate agent. According to Mckinsey reports, IVR systems can save a company around $100 million annually compared with the cost of handling agents.
  • Processing and Collection of Payments
    Automation of processing and completing payment transactions is one of the critical features of an IVR. Apart from processing outbound collections calls, IVR systems are also beneficial for inbound calls. Customers can contact organizations directly and make the payments themselves instead of being prompted frequently.
  • Communication and Marketing
    Outbound IVR is a useful tool for marketing. For example, you can notify your potential customers regarding a new product launch, and also communicate with your existing customers. If your company heavily relies on marketing for business, implementing an IVR system that specializes in call-center IVR as well as predictive dialing can be rewarding.
  • Automated Services: IVR is a very handy tool to configure automated OTP services using voice inputs. You can also use IVR to intimate the customer about out-of-office (OOO), no-show days, or days off.

How to improve Customer Experience with IVR feature in ZIWO?

ZIWO is a cloud-based contact center where you can manage Phone Calls, WhatsApp, SMS on one platform. Key features include IVR, Call Tracking, CDR, Call Whispering. ZIWO is fully API with readymade CRM Plugins. It offers phone numbers in GCC along with 145+ countries.  At ZIWO, the IVR system is highly flexible and allows you to create multiple solutions by taking into account all the possible scenarios.

Here are some real-world IVR scenarios:

Scenario 1: Basic IVR function:

Most of the companies using ZIWO IVR use 2 basic scenarios when they deal with customer service teams. However, companies can modify this IVR solution to create more elaborate setups and responses to the request of our clients.

  • IVR with a welcome message followed by a request to wait in the queue
  • IVR with a welcome message followed by language selection and a request to wait in the queue.

Scenario 2: IVR set up to Define Working Hours

Clients can define more accurate IVR scenarios and paths. The basic request is to define the standard working hours period which you can see below:

Scenario defining working hours
IVR System – Scenario defining working hours


  • In the IVR screenshot above, the admin assigned the calls forwarding to available executives from Monday to Friday between 08:00 to 18:00 hours.
  • Outside of these working hours, the customers will hear an audio file named “Ziwo_Test_File.mp3” (example). This includes a message that informs them that they are calling outside of the working hours and asks them to call back later.
  • You can also establish a voicemail, another IVR with menus that can provide predefined responses, or send the call to an external number.

Scenario 3: Customized time slots in IVR menus

You can also set up more advanced customized time slots in the IVR menu, for instance, during Ramadan. Some companies need an hour-long pause during the day with a designated IVR message explaining the same during that period and then go back to the normal routine.

The IVR system of the above-mentioned scenario would look like this:

  1. 00:00 to 07:59: Out of working hours audio message
  2. 08:00 to 2:59: Route the customers to available agents
  3. 3:00 to 13:59: Play a Ramadan specific audio message during this time slot
  4. 14:00 to 17:59: Send the customers to available agents
  5. From 18:00 to 23:59: Out of working hours audio message

You can save this whole operation under a specific name, and it takes only a couple of clicks on the ZIWO web interface to return to the routine IVR scenario once Ramadan passes.

What are the advanced IVR Features for Businesses?

  • Complex IVR menus
    ZIWO provides an extensive list of complex IVR with menus, submenus to clients with more typical operational requirements.
  • IVR interaction with an API
    When a customer makes a call, the system initiates an API call through cURL waiting for their answer. Depending on the inputs and direction, API with IVR will send the customer to their designated queue. These can be either a VIP queue, a regional queue based on the prefix of the caller’s number, repeat customers, problematic customers, and more. The possibilities are infinite, but combining API with IVR can help you handle customers better by creating a queue for designated teams of agents. A simple API with IVR flow looks like this:
API integration flow
API integration flow


  • Smart IVR Routing
    Smart IVR routing allows your business to route calls based on the caller’s phone number. One can sort this either by phone number, range, or country.
    For example, it is possible to define a list of numbers from a specific country code and forward them automatically to their designated IVR queue for personalized services. You can also set up an IVR system where all calls from a particular country have specific action, such as being routed to a queue dedicated to this country, have a language or culture-specific team of agents, play an IVR, blacklist them, or more.

Few examples of dynamic routing with IVR are stated below:

Force Hangup Feature

Action to hang up on a blocked number – IVR
Action to hang up on a blocked number – IVR

Source: www.ziwo.io

IVR Country Configuration

  • UK will be rerouted to the English IVR queue - Interactive Voice Response
    Calls from the UK will be rerouted to the English IVR queue

    Outgoing IVR
    ZIWO can also help you start an IVR with outgoing calls. ZIWO API generates this process, and it will allow the company agents to call a specific client with a predefined IVR.  Some IVR examples are below:

IVR Scenarios: Food Delivery Company

  • First: IVR Scenario with a reminder instruction to a restaurant for dispatching orders.
  • Second: Interactive Voice Response Scenario reminding a restaurant or eatery that they have more than 10 orders pending and a customer is waiting for the delivery.
  • Third: In case of wrong deliveries on part of such restaurants, deliver an IVR message to the customer that a replacement item has been sent, and accept or deny the replacement by using their APP.


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