Interactive Voice Response

With the rapidly increasing use of technology, businesses have incorporated devices which can enable consumers to have improved customer service experiences.  One of these technologies that is prevalent in most computer call centers today is the usage of Interactive Voice Response (IVR).  IVR allows computers to detect data input via voice and keypads. 

IVR technology is most commonly used in telecommunication services.  When consumers call the customer service department of a firm, they were previously forced to hold for hours at length before being connected to an agent who could assist them.  With IVR however, consumers get an immediate mechanical response that is almost human-like in every sense.  This dynamic technology makes the consumer feel that the service they are receiving is more personal and attentive to their immediate concerns in many aspects. 

IVR systems us pre-recorded or dynamically generated audio to guide users through the process of receiving the services or assistance they require.  The limitations of IVR systems however, are that they can only be used to control functions that have interfaces which can be broken down into a series of simple menu-like choices. 

Large call volumes and simplistic consumer requirements can be met through the IVR system and allows human agents to be free to assist consumers who demand service from agents rather than an IVR system. 

For example, before the use of IVR technology, whenever an individual attempted to contact a call center or customer service center, they would encounter a hold session that often lasted several hours at a stretch.  Due to the high volume of calls, it was highly improbable that the consumer would receive the opportunity to discuss any pertinent issues with a human agent.  Often times, individuals calling these centers would hang up in frustration and the firm would eventually be degraded in consumer eyes due to the inefficiency of their call centers.

The use of IVR technology now, when a consumer calls a call center, they will not immediately get in touch with an agent, but they do get more personalized service than before.  As mentioned earlier, IVR technology makes use of pre-recorded messages and voice-detecting technology.  IVR technology has molded the call center system in such a significant manner that even pre-recorded messages give the caller a more human-like experience because the technology responds to voice signals.  Thus, the caller feels as if they are speaking to another individual, rather than an impersonal robotic machine. 

IVR technology has enhanced customers’ satisfaction with many firms’ customer service and call center services.  This has assisted companies in the improvement of their Customer Relation Management (CRM) programs. 

Many business have used IVR technology to limit the number of call center agents they hire.  Thus, simplistic tasks such as order placement, mobile/telephone account management, banking, entertainment, caller identification, and other such tasks that are most commonly used by consumers.  These tasks may usually take the consumer a few minutes using IVR technology-based programs, but would have taken perhaps hours if they had to wait for service from an agent.  For companies, this means lower operational costs and more profit.

However, many consumers still feel that the services they receive by IVR technology “agents” is highly impersonal and restricts their right to speak to an actual agent.  The use of IVR technology, although efficient in many respects, fails to appease the entire consumer market. 

Further information about IVR technology can be accessed from: