What does IVR actually mean?

Offer your clients a call recorder?

Chances are your client has no idea what an IVR is but we bet they’ve called one before. You know, those automated recorded voices that say “Press one for Sales, press 2 for Accounts” and so on. It stands for Interactive Voice Response and if you are American it’s called  “ Auto-Attendant.”

IVR systems have long been used to service high volume calls at lower costs or by call centres wanting to segment callers and prioritise customers.More recently large and small businesses are adopting IVR because it saves them from having to employ a receptionist, but the advantages do not end there; IVR’s can make callers feel attended to even if it is by a machine, and ensure that calls are answered at any time of day creating a much more professional image. Some callers still dislike the idea of talking to a machine, and this is largely because it can be hard to design a good one, and easy to design a bad one.So what are Firstcom’s golden rules when putting together an IVR?

1) Don’t exceed four options on the menu and make your most popular option the first.Put yourself in the callers shoes; having to listen to a whole menu of complicated options will frustrate them and make them more likely to hang up.

2) Don’t use jargon or obscure language on prompts and make sure your IVR terminology is consistent with your brand and website.

3) Add an “other” option at the end of the menu to encourage customers to stay in the IVR. This is good practice anyway as it offers the caller the opportunity to speak to a human if they don’t know which option to select.

4) Regularly review your IVR to ensure that it is fit for purpose. Organisations evolve and your IVR should reflect this. One idea is to survey your customers for feedback on their experience of calling into the system.

In the past only organisations with big IT or telecoms budgets could afford the hardware, software and staff to run an in-house IVR system. The arrival of the cloud and subscription based telephony solutions like Universe, has placed automated communications features like IVR in the grasp of smaller companies and start-ups. For a monthly fee your clients get a user-friendly drag-and-drop solution that they can build to fit their specific call handling requirements.

Want to see how simple the Universe IVR is? Watch this video here:

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