Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- "In telephony, interactive voice response, or IVR, is a phone technology that allows a computer to detect voice and touch tones using a normal phone call. The IVR system can respond with pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct callers on how to proceed. IVR systems can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple menu choices. Once constructed IVR systems generally scale well to handle large call volumes."
Computer Telephony Component
IVR is an automated computer telephony integration CTI system which allows providers to create complex menus which the caller can navigate by using touch-tone keypresses or via spoken commands. IVR systems can be used as a Voice portal to access remote information such as bus scheduling where the caller can select the route for which they require information, or for billing or customer service systems which allow the caller to enter information such as their account number or credit card details without the need for operator assistance.
IVR and ACD Integration
IVR solutions are often integrated with an ACD, which routes incoming phone calls to agent work groups. This integration can be both a front end and back operation.
- Most typically, an ACD system can route callers to an IVR program based upon DNIS or other parameters such as time of day or day of the week.
- A smart IVR can transfer callers back to an ACD system to route the call to the next available agent within an agent hunt group.
One important task of an integrated IVR and ACD is to display Screen Pop information from the caller on the agent's workstation so that the agent has caller information readily available without the need to prompt the caller again.
IVR and Voice Broadcasting
IVR applications are typically associated with inbound calling programs. However, IVR technology can be applied to outbound calling campaigns and are most commonly used with Voice Broadcasting and touchphone responses. Examples of the application of this technology include the option to speak with an operator, opt out of a calling campaign, or taking an outbound survey.
Graphical Design Tool for IVR Applications
Recent IVR systems usually use high level scripting languages such as VoiceXML, an open standard for interactive voice response systems. For most users who lack technical training, developing an IVR system using scripting language, even high level language, are not feasible. The good news is there are design tools that are based on graphical user interface for the techies and none-techies alike. By using a GUI tool, a user can simply drag-and-drop components and create and deploy an IVR system in minutes. The whole design is a call flow diagram, much like a voicemail system user manual.