What is an IVR and What Are the Benefits of Using One?

By: Latoya Irby

In your daily life, you’ve probably used IVR and never realized you were using it. When you call a company’s customer service number and get an automated voice giving you various menu options, that’s IVR. If you make a payment using your keypad, that’s IVR too.

IVR is Interactive Voice Response, an automated telephone system that interacts with callers. IVR is often used with technical support, allowing customers to troubleshoot easy-to-solve problems, but that’s not the only applicable use. Businesses that need to accept customer payments - like collection agencies, attorney offices, and even non-profit organizations - can also benefit from using IVR. IVR can route customers to the correct department and even allow customers to complete payment transactions. Using IVR is both a cost-saving and time-cutting measure that improves customer experience.

Benefits of Using IVR

IVR allows businesses to reach more customers in less time and there are many other benefits of using the technology in your business.

Reduced overhead by automating customer support.

Because of its ability to handle multiple customer calls in less time, IVR provides you with a much higher ROI than hiring additional personnel to receive calls. Traditionally, business growth meant spending additional capital for call centers, phone equipment, and employees to handle increased call volume. IVR allows you to scale your business without the traditional cost of business expansion.

IVR is available 24/7 which means customers can make a payment even when employee availability is low - after business hours, on the weekend, or on holidays.

The ability to prioritize calls based on value.

You won’t miss out on payments during high call volume times. Consumers will hang up if there’s a long wait and there’s no guarantee they’ll call back again. IVR can answer calls right away, handle multiple calls at a time, without additional human resources. This both reduces customer frustration and increases business sales.

IVR allows you to automatically collect information from calls. You can then use this data to create insights and drive decisions that benefit your business and your customers.

Build a stronger brand and image.

An automated call system can improve your company’s image with customers. It maintains consistency among calls and establishes a level of professionalism that consumers have come to accept from large companies. Even if you’re not a large company yet, using an IVR can create a positive perception of your company.

Handle more calls in less time.

IVR reduces the time it takes to complete a transaction, even when combined with a live agent. The customer might begin the transaction with a live agent, then transfer to an IVR to complete the process. Customers can service themselves by entering their payment information.

Reduce call errors.

Some customers prefer not to talk to a live agent. Depending on your business practice, you may be able to make the entire payment process 100% automated, allowing customers to completely bypass a human customer service representative. Because there are some issues that require a personalized human touch, you may opt to give the customer the option to speak to a representative during business hours by pressing “0” on the keypad for example.

Consistent compliance.

Using IVR lets you configure a personalized message and prompts for the customer to follow. Pre-recorded IVR messages ensure customers hear the same message every time without fail. This is especially important for businesses that need to deliver mandatory disclaimers like the mini-Miranda required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Working with a provider that is PCI-compliant ensures you business follows the requirements for accepting electronic payments.

Using IVR is about more than handling customer support. IVR helps your business to connect with customers by giving them the freedom to handle many of their own problems.

📌 Interested in seeing the impact of IVR? Check out a recent case study we conducted with a client who increased both volume and amount of payments while reducing the time and cost to receive those payments with our IVR solution.