If you’re considering an answering service, it’s likely you’ve come across the term Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

This smart computer operator is designed from the ground-up to give you and your business far more control over your call queue. IVR—sometimes also used with the terms auto attendant, voice response unit (VRU) and others—can also be used in combination with live operators to create an efficient call answering service like none other.

Things to Know About IVR

When you select IVR, you’re choosing a service that’s more than just an automated attendant.

IVR is an advanced software package that can ask your callers open-ended questions, then intelligently process the caller’s natural language response. The end result is a smarter system and a lot less frustration for your callers. It’s can do things other than just answering the phone, though.

Here are three facts about IVR you might not have considered:

  • It allows callers to solve their own problems. Depending on the nature of your business, you may get a lot of calls asking for help with common problems. These callers eat up a lot of time and resources, and they cost you plenty in the process.Luckily, you can configure your IVR to answer these same questions with a level of thoughtfulness you’d give them yourself. You simply need to program the system with the options and proper responses to automate your caller support, just make sure to keep your responses updated as your industry or company evolves.
  • You can teach it to prioritize certain callers. Even if the customer is always right, there are a few customers that are far more valuable to you than the rest. These high value callers are also high stakes. You can’t afford to risk upsetting them by feeding them through menu after menu or putting them on hold for a long time.As a way of helping you retain these clients, your IVR can actually learn who is a priority and route them directly to a particular person in your operation or simply move them to the front of the call queue.
  • IVR can even collect caller information. This goes well beyond call routing, especially when the information collected allows human operators to service calls faster and with a higher level of accuracy.Whether you’re asking for account numbers and then verification of the caller’s identity, you need to check account details before allowing the caller to proceed or you simply want to ask the caller how you’re doing, your IVR has the capability of collecting that information and passing it on to a human.

There’s lots of interesting technology that you can use to make your company look bigger and also service customers more efficiently. IVR is among them and definitely one you’ll want to consider if you experience a high call volume on a regular basis. Instead of long call queues, IVR will help customers self-service, prioritize them for your human operators and even collect data you’d otherwise have to spend time collecting yourself.