Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are automated customer service systems with which customers can interact in real time. Today we will talk about how to configure the IVR.


How does an IVR system work?


The IVR system can work in two ways: the first is by means of DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency). This form is usually the most used and the most effective. The system works with frequencies that decode the digit that was dialed and direct the call to the desired option. The other way is through the ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition). In this option the client must say the desired option and the system sends the call to the client’s choice.

This system is perfect for managing and filtering a large number of calls. Opting for this type of system can translate into a reduction in costs for the company and an improved experience for the customers. 


How to configure an the IVR


In order for the service we offer to work properly, we must configure the IVR  correctly. One of the benefits of this system is to improve the company’s image, although to do so the system must be well configured and adapted to your company.

Even if it seems like a contradiction, we should offer the client many features but keeping it an “easy” system to follow. We shouldn’t offer more than five options, because the client could have a problem memorizing them. Calling our company must be simple for our clients. Although the system can take into consideration different elements when redirecting a call, the client needs to make few interactions that lead him to the best agent. That’s why, you have to put yourself in the place of the users who will be calling and set up a concise and clear, easy-to-remember menu of options. 

When configuring an IVR we must remember to include a default option to which the system will automatically go if the caller does not press anything or if the system couldn’t recognize the option as valid.  Ideally, this default option must redirect the call to an agent to answer the call personally.


Based on the type of technology…


In addition, the initial and basic configuration of the system will depend on what kind of technology it works with. As we have already explained, it can work through an ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) or DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency). If your IVR works with ASR, once you configured the system, if a client asks to speak with the “commercial department” the system will relate it to the previously configured options and send the call to the available extension. If your IVR works with multi-frequency tone, the client shall indicate what he needs through the keyboard. For example, the system points out that pressing “3” will send you to the commercial department and once you press 3, it sends you to the available agent in that department.





Ways to configure the IVR


The different ways that you have to configure the IVR will depend on your company’s kind of activity and the type of calls it receives:


With a Voicemail


Configuring the IVR with a voicemail is the perfect option for those companies that receive a lot of calls daily. It’s the easiest way to use the IVR. The voicemail helps to manage a high volume of incoming calls, in the case where no agents are available, for example. A voice tells the client that all extensions are occupied and it gives the possibility to leave a message. Then it ends the call  by thanking them. Later the system sends the client’s message to the company’s email so any agent can listen to it and take care of it. It’s a basic configuration for any call center. 


Menu of options 


Another basic feature of an IVR. With the menu of options, when clients call, a voice indicates to them all the options they can choose from to redirect the call to the correct departement and agent. 


Automatic Operator


When a customer calls the company he is offered the possibility to dial or say the number of the extension if he knows it. The user must then say or press the keys of the extension he wants to contact and the system redirects the call to the person he is looking for. For example, if you want to contact extension 235, you type it in your phone or say it and the system will put you in touch with the indicated extension.

There is also the possibility of loading the list of company employees so that the IVR recognises the name of the company member said by the caller and automatically directs the call to this  person.


Automatic satisfaction survey


With this kind of survey you can test your system and see how your customers value this system you have chosen to serve them. It also allows you to evaluate your agent’s work. Once the conversation has ended, the client can rate it. This kind of survey is useful for  quality control of the services we offer such as customer service. 


And furthermore…


When the IVR system is redirecting a call, either as a voicemail or as a menu of options, you can add music on hold or an informative message about the company. You can indicate the opening hours of customer service, for example. This is a way to obtain an experience for the client and to differentiate our company.

And you can configure the IVR so it manages the information in different languages. If your company has a strong presence in the UK but also Spain, you can configure the system so it detects when a incoming call is from the UK or Spain. Therefore, the message that the client listens to could be in spanish or english, depending on where the client is from.


We have talked about some IVR basic examples but this technology can be used to automate complex processes like  the status of an order or the management of previous appointments. The development of artificial intelligence solutions is making the IVR system capable of managing increasingly complex processes.


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