What Is IVR : Why Is It Important For Business?

11 - Jan - 2021 All   Customer Satisfaction   Customer Support   Integrations   Marketing  

If you’re a business owner, the potential to optimize your employees’ productivity and time usage is always expanding. Since time is money, taking redundant tasks off their plate to be replaced with an advanced technology to do the job in a shorter span can help streamline your operations. In the scope of communications, IVR systems provide businesses with an affordable manner to streamline their calling procedures for customers and employees.

What is IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response technology. It is a large umbrella of software-based communication systems known as Computer-Telephony integration or CTI. IVR solutions providing firms offer services to enable recording automated voicemail messages and routing or rerouting calls. Businesses can also avail higher-end IVR services such as website, database and CRM integration, reporting and bill processing.

In the past, IVR was only connected to telephonic calls where an automated voice recording would communicate with the customer, which would require a response in the form of corresponding numbers to be pressed to help navigate the system. Presently, new IVR systems have the facility of speech recognition so that customers can speak directly with the system rather than touch buttons. However, many businesses still use low-cost IVR services that provide only the button response prototype.

Visual IVR is another aspect that is a new facility by IVR providers. Usually, organizations that provide graphic IVR services also provide traditional IVR (phone). Visual IVR shifts the first phase of customer interaction from the telephone to a device such as a smartphone or a laptop. By enabling customers to fill information online and the kind of customer service they seek, such calls can be transferred to the appropriate agent instantly bypassing the touch-tone or voice-activated process. Instead, customers can request a customer service agent on the website and receive a call or a code to use in their market that will connect them to the right representative.

Similar to Visual IVR, Voice IVR can help overhaul your contact center systems and create a better customer experience by added convenience. Voice recognition is a system’s capacity to process natural language inputs provided by the customer; this is the job of a voice bot, that can provide intelligent cues and understand what the customer’s response is using conversational AI. This is also known as Natural Language Processing or NLP, a field of Artificial Intelligence. In our day to day life, we observe NLP operate on the smartphone’s virtual assistants such as Siri or OK Google. You can also interact with it using devices like Alexa, Google Home, Dialogflow or Amazon Fire stick.
Now the same technology can be made available for your contact centers.

IVR Scenario with Voice Bot


This eliminates the miniscule cognitive load of moving away from the phone to use the keypad. And by undertaking this, it eliminates the one bump in the road to creating a completely smooth IVR experience.

The interactive voice response (IVR) market was valued at USD 3.44 Billion in 2016 and is projected 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:

Source: https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Images/interactive-voice-response-market1.jpg

Why Do Businesses Require IVR?

For every business customer service is one of the key aspects for their growth.
Here are 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. Since the IVR solutions can be implemented briskly and be scaled up as per your growth easily, you will be able to reduce your wait times for clients. IVR also alleviates the aspect of hiring a number of employees to scan the questions and direct calls to the appropriate agent. According to Mckinsey reports, compared with the cost of handling such calls with human representatives, the IVR can save a company around $100 million annually.
  • Processing and Collection of Payments
    Automation of processing and completing payment transactions is one of the critical features of IVR. Apart from processing outbound collections calls, IVR solutions make it simpler for customers to contact organizations to access their billing details or account balances and make the payments themselves instead of being prompted frequently.
  • Communication and Marketing
    Outbound IVR is a useful tool for marketing, for instance, notifying your potential customers regarding a new product launch, and also to 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 dialling can be rewarding.
  • Automated Services: IVR can be a very handy tool to configure automated OTP services using voice inputs or intimate the customer about OOO, no show days, or days off.

How to improve Customer Experience with ZIWO ?

ZIWO is a cloud based contact center that can be deployed instantly. You can manage Phone Calls, WhatsApp, SMS Conversations -all in one place. Full API and CRM Plugins. Virtual phone numbers in any country. At ZIWO, our 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 scenarios:

Scenario 1: Basic IVR function:

For most of the organizations that use ZIWO IVR, we use 2 basic scenarios when they deal with customer service teams. They can however be modified to create more elaborate set-ups and responses on the request of our clients.

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

Scenario 2: Define Working Hours

Clients can define more accurate scenarios and paths; a basic request is to define the standard working hours period which can be seen illustrated below:

Defining work hours on the Ziwo dashboard

Source: www.ziwo.io

  • In the screenshot above, calls are assigned to be forwarded 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), which can include 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 (which can be useful if you have employees on duty).

Scenario 3:

You can also set up more advanced customized time slots, for instance, during Ramadan. Some companies need an hour long pause during the day with a designated 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 :

  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

This whole operation will be saved under a specific name, and takes only a couple of clicks on ZIWO web interface to return to the routine scenario once Ramadan passes.

What are the advanced IVR Features for Businesses?

  • Complex menus
    ZIWO provides an extensive list of complex IVR with menus, submenus to clients with more intricate operational requirements.
  • IVR interaction with an API
    When a customer makes a call, an API call will be made through cURL, and will be waiting for their answer. Depending on the inputs and direction, it 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 to designated teams of agents. A simple API flow looks like this:

IVR API integration flow

Source: www.ziwo.io

  • Smart routing
    Smart 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 queue for personalized services. You can also set up a system where all calls from a particular country have a 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.

Some examples of dynamic routing would be as the screenshots below:

Action to hang up on a blocked number

Source: www.ziwo.io

All calls from the UK will be rerouted to the English queue

  • Outgoing IVR
    ZIWO can also help you start an IVR with outgoing calls. This is generated through the ZIWO API which will allow the company agents to call a specific client with a predefined IVR. See Below Scenarios:

IVR Scenarios : Food Delivery Company

  • A reminder instruction to a restaurant for dispatching orders.
  • Reminding a restaurant or eatery that they have more than 10 orders pending to be dispatched and delivered.
  • In case of wrong deliveries on part of such restaurants, deliver a message to the customer that a replacement item has been sent, and to accept or deny the replacement by using their app.

IVR technology has changed rapidly over the last decade and has so much to offer to every organization, no matter what scale it is at. If your business deals with clients and customers to a moderate to a large extent, acquiring the best IVR system ZIWO will bring your employees an opportunity to spend their time and resources into areas that require improvement, this streamlining customer service and related operations.




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