What is an IVR system?

An IVR system is an automated interface that greets callers at the beginning of phone calls. IVR systems allow callers to interact with menus, indicate what they need, and possibly self-serve to resolve their own issues. Contact centers frequently use IVRs, in conjunction with automatic call distributors (ACDs), to refine the quality of call routing. But IVR systems aren't restricted to contact center use - any organization with a need to route phone calls can benefit from IVRs.

Traditional IVR systems require callers to interact using their phone's keypad (DTMF technology). For example, the caller might be instructed to "Press 3 for technical support." More modern IVR systems use natural language processing and text to speech, both forms of artificial intelligence (AI), to allow callers to say their menu options or simply say what they are calling about - for example, "I need help because my computer keeps crashing." These conversational abilities create a more natural experience and can allow customers to bypass the menu altogether.

Today's IVR systems can also use AI-powered chatbots to collect customer information and facilitate self-service. These bots function much like Apple's Siri as they walk callers through transactions like scheduling appointments or placing food orders. And if self-service isn't in the cards, IVR systems that use chatbots can still facilitate the interaction by collecting pertinent caller information and passing it to the agent.

Effectively designing IVR systems requires a fine balance between customer and operational needs. For example, contact centers should encourage self-service but not make it difficult for callers to reach agents. When this balance is achieved, organizations can realize benefits such as:

  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Reduced operating costs
  • Better call routing
  • Lower average handle times (AHT)
  • Faster resolutions

How NICE can help

NICE CXone is the market leading contact center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its contact center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), IVR system, interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – leading-edge, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and speeds resolutions of customer issues for better business outcomes. It provides self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic contact center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.