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What is IVR?

 In Blog, Technology, Unified Communications, Voice

IVR stands for “Interactive Voice Response” (aka Voice Response Unit, VRU). It’s a key technology used by many enterprise-level organizations for interacting with the public and, in some cases, staff.

IVR applications are programs that can pull information from and write information to databases based on caller input. They provide information to the caller via recorded messages and/or sophisticated text-to-speech functionality and can collect all sorts of responses from the caller in return.


What’s the difference between IVR and an Auto Attendant?

Though to callers it is superficially similar to an Auto Attendant (what consumers would call a “phone tree”), the possibilities with IVR are far wider. Beyond just directing calls, IVR systems can allow callers to do a huge variety of other tasks, such as checking account balances, modifying doctor’s appointments, paying bills, signing up for classes, and a great deal more.


What else can IVR systems do?

IVR applications aren’t just for callers calling in, they can also be used as notification systems to call out. This makes them a powerful tool for doctor’s offices, schools, government institutions, and other organizations who need to notify specific groups of people of events (school closures, court dates, upcoming appointments, unpaid bills, etc) with personalized information. Furthermore, IVR can, if needed, collect information from the recipient on the same call (thus requiring more functionality than a basic “robo-call” recording).


Do all IVR systems have speech recognition?

Many IVR systems have limited or no speech recognition capabilities. Instead they speak to callers, who then respond via touch tone input (DTMF) on their phones. “Voice Response” in the name refers to the system responding to the caller via voice prompts and text-to-speech (TTS) information in an audio format. Because IVR software can be written to do such a wide variety of tasks, the level of speech recognition needed is often much more advanced than you’d find in a basic Auto Attendant.


How do call centers use IVR systems?

IVR systems are an important part of many call center software packages because they can allow more efficient routing and handling of calls. Before entering the queue, a caller can be asked for a variety of pieces of information (product type, account number, location, etc.) that is then processed through a database to route them to a group of agents best able to help them.

Furthermore, modern call centers also utilize “screen pop” technology that uses IVR inputs to bring up relevant records and documents on an agent’s screen the moment they take the call. This saves time for both the caller and the agent, allowing faster turnaround.


 Add IVR Functions to Your Phone System with XMedius

CX-E brings top notch IVR functionality to your existing IT infrastructure. Not only are several powerful applications available (such as Notification and the TeamQ informal call center solution), but it empowers your staff to write custom IVR applications to suit your business needs. It can run programs written in any language in the Microsoft Visual Studio.

Reach out to our team to learn more about what CX-E can do to streamline your operations, empower employees, and improve customer satisfaction.



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