Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Delivering a Customised and Streamlined Experience for Callers

Feature Overview

If your business receives a high volume of calls from customers on a regular basis, it could be time to invest in an interactive voice response system. This automated telephony system enhances the self-service experience by providing callers with a pre-recorded menu of options to choose from – offering a solution to callers’ queries in their entirety or directing them to the right agent to resolve these.

What is Interactive Voice Response?

When customers reach out to a call centre or contact centre, they may not speak to an agent or representative right away. To ensure they’re directed to the best person for their query, it’s likely that the first thing they’ll hear is an interactive voice response (IVR).

An IVR is an automated system that many businesses use to interact with and gather information from callers. Customers will hear an automated greeting and then engage with pre-recorded messages that will assist them with their issues.

The callers’ choices decide the actions of the IVR. It can route calls to the right person to assist with customers’ issues, or, if these are less complex, the IVR can provide information and deal with incoming calls without directing the call to a live agent.

A typical interaction with an IVR that you’ll probably have experienced sounds a bit like this:

Thank you for calling Example Company. To speak to tech support, press 1. To speak to sales, press 2.

IVR systems typically offer a menu of choices for the caller, allowing them to use their dial-pad or voice to select options and be directed to the right agent for their query. IVR uses dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signaling to understand dial-pad responses and speech recognition to pick up voice responses.

IVR applications can also be used to verify caller information such as their name and customer reference number.

Benefits of IVR System

  • One of the top benefits of IVR technology is that it can handle and streamline high call volumes with ease. Rather than requiring a rep to manage and triage inbound calls, IVR uses automation and caller responses for call routing.
  • By providing customers with a menu of options to choose from, IVR ensures that customers are directed straight to the best agent to suit their specific query, rather than being bounced from agent to agent. IVR can also take customer information before they’re even connected to an agent. This makes it quicker and more efficient to deal with callers once they are connected to an employee.
  • IVR can be used to handle customer calls in their entirety. Whether your callers need to book an appointment, get information, or request a callback, some call queries don’t require speaking with a live agent at all.
  • We all make mistakes. These are often made when inputting customer information in a busy call centre. IVR, however, reduces the risk of this.
  • IVR can collect customer data such as payment details, their name, reference number, and phone number. This data is gathered automatically and is based entirely on what the caller inputs into the IVR system using their dial-pad or voice, removing the chance of call centre agents making a mistake.
  • In addition, IVR systems automatically route callers to the correct agent. An overwhelmed call operator or receptionist could easily route a caller to the wrong place - or even hang up by mistake - but an IVR system won’t.
  • An effective and customer-centric IVR solution not only speeds up the contact process but also lends professionalism to your business. Using a personalised and friendly greeting message for customer calls will immediately engage the caller, rather than simply leaving them to wait unguided until an agent or rep picks up.
  • IVR also helps you maintain consistency across calls your business receives, meaning that all customers will hear and respond to the same message before or instead of speaking to individual live agents.
  • Providing callers with a menu of departments to choose from also lends your business credibility - even if you only have one person per department. IVR applications show you’re well-equipped to handle customer queries, and with the ability to program your IVR menu in several languages, you can show your professionalism even further
  • IVR is a cost-effective way to deal with calls. It can function seamlessly alongside an automated call distribution (ACD) system - the software used to sort and distribute calls - so that you can replace call operators, receptionists, and even a portion of your live agents.
  • IVR solutions not only mean you can manage your inbound calls with less staff, but they also help your staff work more efficiently. By gathering customer data and directing the caller to the right agent before your staff interact with them, your agents will be able to handle customer enquiries quickly and easily.
  • There’s a misconception that IVR is not as personal as a live agent. In reality, however, another benefit of IVR is that it can be customised to suit your business. Everything from your greeting to goodbye message can be personalised to match your brand identity.
  • IVR can also be used as an extension of your marketing campaigns. You can use it to deliver messages about promotions or new products and services.
  • With its potential to improve customer satisfaction, streamline your call centre, and strengthen your brand identity, it’s no surprise that IVR can help your small business scale.
  • Many small businesses, at their inception, have their agents pick up and deal with customer calls, but as they grow and receive more calls, they see a lot of strain put on their employees. An IVR system will help small businesses deal with increased call volumes and customer needs as they scale.

How Does an IVR System Work?

In the past, IVR systems needed their own separate hardware, database, and manager to function. Nowadays, however, IVR comes as part of an advanced cloud contact solution like RingCentral.

A typical IVR phone system works as follows:

How Does an IVR System Work?
  • The caller is automatically greeted by the IVR and presented with menu options.
  • The caller then uses their dial-pad (recognised by the IVR using touch-tone keypad selection) or their voice (recognised using voice recognition software) to select an option from the menu.
  • This process repeats until the caller needs to be connected to an agent or their query is resolved. If they need to be routed to an agent, the IVR system categorises the caller based on their responses to direct them to the right agent.
  • Thanks to IVR, when the live agent picks up the phone, they already know the customer’s name and have their details to hand.

Do you want to know more about how an IVR solution will work for your business?

For an in-depth explanation of how RingCentral’s IVR system works, we can show you just how easy it is to set up and modify your IVR system

Functionalities of RingCentral IVR System

IVR has been around since the 1970s, so there are lots of IVR providers out there. RingCentral, though, offers many unique and valuable functionalities that make it the best option for businesses. With a RingCentral IVR, your customers can do the following without having to speak to a live agent:

Functionalities of RingCentral IVR System
  • Make payments or money transfers over the phone.
  • Request callbacks, complete lead forms, and respond to surveys.
  • Enquire about details such as order status, appointment time, or account balances.
  • Discover information such as product details, prices, and manuals, company directories, or business hours.
  • Book appointments.
  • Edit information such as contact details, passwords or PINs.

How Integrated IVR Improves Your Customer Experience

IVR services can offer customers the solution to their queries far quicker than a live call agent, especially if your contact centre is experiencing high call volumes and your callers have to deal with long waiting times.

IVR is especially useful when customers want to contact you out of business hours to check the status of their order or account details or arrange a callback.


Rather than being left on hold or greeted with a voicemail message, callers can use their dial-pad or voice prompts to get the information they need instantly.

If customers do need to be routed to a live agent, IVR software can be used to direct them to the correct department and ensure first contact resolution. There’s nothing worse than being put on hold again and again as a call centre tries to direct you to the right person. IVR can eliminate this frustrating process entirely.

How to Set Up Your IVR?

Setting up a RingCentral IVR system is incredibly simple. RingCentral provides you with an integrated cloud call centre system. Using this, you can set up and modify your IVR from your web browser with our intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

For a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your IVR, check out this video on creating an IVR menu here:

The RingCentral IVR system is easy to set up, modify, and run. Just be sure to test your IVR after you’ve set it up.

Related Features

Generate Leads in Your Outbound Call Centre.

If your call or contact centre is making outbound calls as well as taking inbound calls, RingCentral’s outbound call software can enhance your business’s telephony technology. This software helps you create, share, and streamline your outbound agents’ scripts and speeds up lead generation.

online service help assistance
call centre agents  working collaboratively in different place

Streamline Customer Interactions in a Collaborative Contact Centre.

Using RingCentral’s collaborative contact centre technology, you can integrate your IVR with your favourite everyday apps and customer relationship management (CRM) software.

With our open application programming interfaces (API), you can customise your integrations and continue to use all your existing software for maximum efficiency.

Our agent management software helps manage your contact centre team with greater flexibility with its user-friendly interface. This allows you to optimise workflows and generate real-time reports on call centre interactions.

Leverage Omnichannel Services.

Not all customers want to make a phone call, so RingCentral lets you leverage the omnichannel experience to connect customers with your IVR or agent through their channel of choice.

Whether it’s communicating with your team via social media or finding the information they need by interacting with chatbots, integrating your telephony system with other communication channels is a great way to improve customer experience.

RingCentral Omnichannel service 24/7
24 hour inbound call centre service

Integrate Your Inbound Call Centre.

Using IVR and cloud call centre software, you can integrate and streamline your inbound call centre processes. By combining your CRM software with your IVR and ACD, you can save time and money. A streamlined system will also lead to happier customers and employees.

Find Out More About Interactive Voice Response Solutions for Your Business

An IVR solution for your business, whether for a large contact centre or your small office, can save time and costs, enhance customer experience, and create a stronger sense of professionalism and brand identity. If you want to learn more about how an IVR system could transform how your business handles calls, simply register here for a full product demo video:

IVR Frequently Asked Questions

While some IVR systems offer a single menu of options for callers, a multi-level IVR has several menus, creating a user-flow system where each response given by the caller can lead them to another menu. This allows you to get more specific information about what your customer needs before routing them to the right agent.

An IVR script is simply the script you program into your IVR to deliver to callers. With RingCentral, you can fully customise your IVR script to match your business’s voice, tone, and branding.

An IVR call flow is the steps a caller takes through the IVR system to the end of their call or to a live agent. While the script is the words said by the IVR, the flow is the steps you put in place on the interface that guide callers to the right department.

An IVR payment is a telephone payment system that allows callers to make payments over the phone using their telephone keypad or voice. This lets callers make payments with ease without having to wait on hold to speak to an agent.

So long as you choose an IVR provider that is legitimate and compliant with privacy laws, in particular the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), payments made by your callers through your IVR system will be completely safe.

IVR is inexpensive, especially compared to the costs of employees carrying out the same amount of work in more time. RingCentral offers monthly and annual plans. Check out our plans and pricing page for more details.

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