IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response and is a technology that allows a caller to communicate with the system through simple voice commands and/or by pressing keys on a keypad (touch tone/DTMF).

In a call center, an IVR allows callers to navigate their call to the desired location. This may be a certain department, or a specific person, or even an automated recording. Whatever it is, an IVR allows a caller to choose where the call will be connected by listening to the menu options and then pressing the desired menu option key via the keypad, or by voice commands if available. This, however, is not all an IVR can be. It has many useful functions beyond the scope of call navigation.

IVR technology can be used to allow a database to send and receive data to and from a caller or agent. There are many possibilities of how this could be done. For example, you may want your menu to ask the caller for their account number. The caller would then be able to enter in their account number via the keypad, or by voice response if available. The caller’s response is read by the system and is able to find their account in your database. The database could then provide the IVR with the account balance, status, upcoming charges, etc. The IVR would then read this information back to the caller. More examples would include the system recognizing a caller based on the phone number associated with their account or a caller being able to enter their credit card information for billing purposes which is then stored in a database. The possibilities on how you configure your IVR are endless.

Implementing an IVR can help save your call center time and money by allowing the system to receive input from the caller and addressing their needs in an automated and streamlined fashion.