Interactive Voice Response Offers More than You Think

By | September 20, 2014

When most of us think about interactive voice response (IVR), we imagine a computerized voice that routes us to the appropriate department or person within the company we are calling. A better IVR system will deliver this routing smoothly, a subpar IVR system will be clunky and make us wish we could talk to a live person.

While the foundation of a good IVR system still is to serve as a virtual receptionist, modern IVR systems offer much more. In some cases, they can even go beyond what a live receptionist could offer.

One useful feature of the modern IVR system is integration with customer relations management (CRM) systems. When a person calls from their smartphone, for instance, the IVR system might recognize the customer based on the number they are using. CRM integration can facilitate order lookups and other interactions, too, which can be more efficient and less scary for the customer who wants to get something done but doesn’t want to speak to a live person (we’re all antisocial like that sometimes).

But modern IVR can do much more, too. Systems such as Genesys (News-Alert) IVR can use voice biometrics, for instance. Need to recognize a caller by their voice? Now we have the technology, and this can be more effective than the voice identification that comes from a live person.

Another cool feature that IVR now can offer is GPS lookup. It can provide permission-based geographic location for most cell phones and landlines when accessed via the IVR system.

A good IVR system can also integrate with text messaging and deliver natural language name and address capture, so the caller telling the system their address or name can be a breeze.

For regulated industries where security is a top consideration, or for businesses that need to capture caller information seamlessly, IVR systems now can include call recording and even real-time transcription. The days of asking customers to leave a message and needing to have an employee listen to these messages are over!

So while we usually only think about IVR in terms of its most basic functionality, cutting-edge IVR systems today are far more deeply integrated with other computing systems, and make much better use of advances in speech recognition technology and analytics. IVR has come a long way.