In simple words, IVR or Interactive Voice Response is a process that lets the customers to reach the right person/ department by pressing some specified phone keys. It helps the businesses to handle customers faster and without an agent.
In technical terms, it is a technology that allows the customers to interact with the company’s host system through the use of voice and DTMF (dual tone multi-frequency) signals.
IVR allows you to record greetings and create menus that the caller can select with their telephone keypad. Callers can select options by simply pressing a digit.
You might have experienced this many times. Every time you call to your network service provider, you are asked to press some keys to know about your current data plan, to know about the available prepaid plans or to talk to the customer care executive.
As you can see in this image, the customer has called a business number. He is then prompted to press 1, 2 or 3 from his phone to reach Sales, Support or Billing department respectively. He can choose to press any of these keys, as per his need.
The press of the digit on the keypad sends a DTMF tone to the company host system. This then selects the appropriate action and navigates the caller to that.
The IVR system helps to handle incoming phone calls more efficiently. It allows businesses to have a pre-recorded automated phone menu. You can set up a menu of your own choice having custom recorded messages about any important instruction or message about your business. IVR system can handle large volume of calls and enhance customer experience by reducing waiting time.