What Is IVR and How To Get The Most Out Of It (+ Ready-to-use Examples)

“Mi casa es su casa” is a popular Spanish phrase. It means “My house is your house”, being all about genuine hospitality in its original sense.

It should also be what every company does. It can be understood as a trademark of customer relationships. 

This is why we should keep working on creating solutions to make customer service as easy as possible.

It’s always great to make them interactive, so your customers can always get what they want. This is how you make them feel like home. 

When they want to solve an issue, it should be done in a snap. Quickly and comfortably. It’s like the first commandment in a support agent’s decalogue.

Considering this, IVR is one of the most experienced and developed players on the market. It’s also the subject here. 

Let’s learn all the contents raised in this article.

First, I’ll explain what the initials IVR stand for. Then, you’ll find out how this technology works.

As I’ve already praised IVR, you’ll find out the reasons for that statement. I’ll point out all the benefits coming from using it.

It’s always great to know how to set up such a profitable technology. You’ll get the guide in the next paragraph.

Next, you’ll get some tips on how to create a clear and professional IVR message. That’s not all – there will also be some practical examples of these messages.

The next paragraph tells a story about industries that enjoy IVR the most. 

As the technology keeps growing, many IVR solutions are popping out continuously. You’ll have the opportunity to see the most reliable one in the following section.

OK, all aboard, time to start!

Table of contents:

  1. What does IVR stand for
  2. How does IVR technology work
  3. What are the main benefits of IVR
  4. How to set up a successful IVR
  5. How to provide an effective IVR message
  6. Which industries use IVR
  7. Which IVR solution is reliable
  8. Incredibe Voyage, Readers

What does IVR stand for

IVR means interactive voice response. Let’s take this idea apart.

I’ve already said which solutions are demanded the most in customer service. Interactive ones. And that’s why we have this word in IVR.

Voice response is simple to explain. It’s just the recorded message delivered to you by the system.

As the response is adapted to the customer’s needs, we link these two parts and receive the term: interactive voice response.

How does IVR technology work

Let’s take a break from wordplays and move to the technical side of IVR.

IVR is like an automated call center. Customers listen to pre-recorded messages and choose the requested service.

They can do it via their keypad with the system recognizing the sounds made by respective keys. 

Some areas use text-to-speech (TTS) technology in their IVR system. It concerns content like welcome messages. I’ll move to further details later.  

Too few abbreviations? Here comes the next one, the last besides IVR, I promise. 

It’s ACD – automatic call distributor. Imagine that you’re a customer. It’s the first step when you contact a company, especially the larger one.

You hear a welcome message along with other valuable information. Next, you choose the nature of your problem.   

The recorded message sounds like: “Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Support” etc. You press the key, so the IVR system can recognize the sound from the keypad. Then it routes you to the specific agent, who is ready to help you.

It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? IVR technology opens a horn of plenty. Plenty of benefits.

What are the main benefits of IVR

If you want to give your customer a feeling of appreciation and satisfaction, IVR is the answer. Here’s why.

Personalized service

Using IVR allows you to greet your caller personally like he’s just walked into your entrance hall. 

Warm welcome. Simple and friendly expressions. Letting the customer choose whatever he or she wants to get. This is the recipe to make your customer service as pleasant as possible.

No matter the type of customer, you can be sure that you will get positive feedback. 

What is more, people tend to share this kind of experience. Customers will not only come back, but they can bring along some new faces. 

So, your customer base can only expand.    

Increased brand loyalty 

Using IVR is a mutual benefit. Your customers are glad and you strengthen your position on the market.

You can present your business as a place where customer satisfaction is the key value.  

It’s always great to hear something like: “Welcome to [your company’s name]. We missed you. How can we help you?” 

It’s a general example, invented on the spot. You are free to deliver your own striking message. It’s great when it’s adapted to your language of communication with customers used on all platforms.

I can guarantee you that it can only strengthen your brand identity.

This is how you care about your customer satisfaction and your image simultaneously.

Automatization of thankless work

I know, the human factor is valuable in building customer relationships. There is a set of qualities that every salesperson should have.

But, automatization of at least part of this process has always been tempting. And IVR gives you this possibility.

You can avoid the chaos, redirecting calls from one agent to another, forcing customers to stay on hold for a long time. 

The fact is, an initial part of every talk is covered by the IVR system.

And then, your customer can speak to the right agent. Mentioned human factor enters the stage at the right moment.

So, everything works perfectly. It’s like a perpetual motion machine of customer service.

Ability to handle more calls

Using IVR assures you that every customer is directed straight to the right agent, which makes the whole process extremely functional.

There is no mess, no poor customer service which results in escalating frustration, etc. Everything is like clockwork. 

Consequently, you save a lot of time. Your agents can handle more calls efficiently. This is how you make your business productive.

Faster troubleshooting

When it comes to troubleshooting, your support agents are like a group of students from Robin Hood’s school. They hit the bulls-eye consistently.

It’s because they are always well-prepared to help the customers. There are no misunderstandings – they solve the issues from a field they know perfectly.

This is a result of IVR system functionality to connect customers with the right agents. That’s the way to make customer happiness grow.

Lower costs

Penny saved is a penny earned. Old and true. This is what IVR guarantees your business.

It’s because the phone calls are automatically redirected to the right agents. You don’t need to hire an uncountable number of additional agents and pay them monthly. 

The only costs are linked with launching IVR software and updating it once in a while. 

In the final analysis, much money stays in your pocket and you can use it for other important expenses.

How to set up a successful IVR

There are a few tips that can only improve the performance of your IVR system. Let’s go through them one by one.

Make your greeting nice and clear

To be honest, when a customer hears your greeting, it works like an advertising slogan. It’s like meeting face to face – the first impression is a key to a productive conversation.

This is why you should care about it. It’s important to find an appropriate language – somewhere between a professional and friendly tone.

And one more thing – you shouldn’t make this phrase too wordy. Introduce your services briefly and concisely.  

This is how your customer will feel like home. Mi casa es su casa – remember?

Use human voice for all messages

Your customer doesn’t call you to hear something like a chaotic discussion – different voices outshouting each other. It evokes the feeling of mess and unprofessional service.

Instead, your customers should hear a friendly human voice that delivers all important messages.

It’s important to avoid old, bad robotic voices coming from a speech synthesizer. They can discourage customers easily. 

There are new tools, such as Google Cloud text-to-speech, that can make this service acceptable from the very beginning.  

You can also provide a warm, friendly voice recorded in a professional studio by an experienced lector.

Specify the areas of customer service

I’ve already mentioned that customers don’t get along with the mess. Voice is a background, but it’s even more important to care about the essence of the information in your IVR system. 

To achieve that, research the subjects of customer calls. Then, it’s great to distinguish 2-3 general reasons for the contact.

Here we go, then you limit the sections as much as you can. For example, make it two. Your customer hears: “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support”. 

Then, you should also classify the character of messages for each area. I’ll move to that later.

Update your IVR regularly

IVR is not an old tree standing in a nature park – it requires detailed monitoring and constant updates.

It’s a base for customer satisfaction, so it’s necessary to keep an eye on it. Your business is bound to grow, am I right? This is why IVR should keep pace with this development.

Reasons for call evolve constantly. For example, as you keep adding new features to your product or services, many people may start to ask you about it. 

In the end, it may lead you to create a new department in your customer service, e.g. information about the updates. And you’re right, then you need to include it in your IVR message (e.g. “Press 3 for the recent info about our product”).

You can always ask your customers about the feedback after the conversation with your agent. Quick surveys can only improve your customer service, and consequently your IVR system.

How to provide an effective IVR message

Yeah, I know that there have already been tips considering the character of IVR messages, but it’s worth a deeper look. 

So, here I give you some more advice on creating effective IVR messages.

Tell your client everything he needs to know

Sometimes your phone lines just heat up. There are many inbound calls, so any new caller needs to wait for his turn.

This is when the IVR system should convey a clear message – your customer should know the estimated waiting time.

There’s also an option to save a place in the queue automatically and call back the client in due time.

Your customer should like it as he doesn’t need to hang on a phone – he can hang up instead and move on to something else. The agent will call him as soon as possible. 

This is how you build customer satisfaction.

Classify messages in terms of relevance 

Let’s agree that when somebody calls for help, he doesn’t want to hear messages, which are not related to his issue at all. It can lead to a confusion and frustrating customer experience.

This is why you should care about the organization of messages conveyed via IVR. 

For example, if a customer calls your support department, he shouldn’t be attacked by information about discounts, new goods, etc. These messages should be exclusive to your sales department. 

To sum up, your task is to classify recorded messages in terms of their subject and relevance. Only then they are ready to be added to your IVR system.

Add CTA phrase to your IVR system

I know what I promised at the start – that there won’t be more abbreviations after the paragraph about the way the IVR system works. 

But here comes the CTA (call to action). Will you forgive me?

When you choose relevant messages, it’s also important to put some magic words there. This mainly concerns the sales department – you encourage your client to use your offer.

So, after a message about your discount, use a simple phrase like “ask our agent to find out more”. That’s it. 

Now it’s up to the customer to get the necessary information if he or she wants. 

Don’t be like a broken record

To be more precise – don’t repeat the same IVR messages while your customer is on the line. 

You should make sure that you have enough relevant information to cover the average time of your customer’s call waiting.

Just be a hero and save your customer from hearing the same, boring message over and over again.

If messages are varied and engaging, your chances to satisfy a customer improve massively. 

Effective IVR messages: examples

Let me present you with a few practical examples of the IVR message as a summary of this paragraph.

Welcome messages

  • Hi! Nice to meet you! We are here for you. If you want to place an order, press 1 to call our salesperson. If you have a question, press 2 to call our support agent – he’s there to give you all the answers.
  • Hello! Welcome to our company! Currently our lines are pretty busy and your estimated wait time is 2 minutes. We’d love you to stay on the line, but you can also send us an email with your question on [email address].
  • Welcome to our sales center! We have some hot news especially for you! There is a 40% discount for [product name]! Ask our sales agent for more information.

Farewell messages

  • Thank you for your call. We want to give you all the best. This is why we’d love to get your feedback. Press 1 and answer one simple question, so we can hear your voice and improve our service.
  • It’s been a pleasure to talk with you. We were wondering – maybe you want to talk to us elsewhere next time? If yes, you got it! Visit [your company’s web address] and use our new Live Chat to get all your questions answered!

Which industries use IVR

I would call IVR a type of flexible tool for customer service development. It fits any size of business in the framework of any industry. 

However, there is one sector that reaps the most rewards. This is e-commerce, in the broad sense.

It’s because it gets all the benefits mentioned in an above paragraph. Quick reminder? Here you go.

First and foremost, you save time and money.

Simultaneously, you provide well-developed and efficient customer service in all sections – sales, support, etc. 

The most famous examples of other industries using IVR include: 

  • banking, e.g. to check your current balance, information about transactions, payments, transfers, loans, etc;
  • healthcare, e.g. to consult health issues with professionals by phone, signing up for doctor visits, tests, vaccinations (current hot issue), refilling prescriptions, etc.
  • media, e.g. to vote for a contestant of a TV game show, or to participate in a radio interactive competition.

But, these are just examples. Remember that IVR is an effective tool for any company that aims to improve its customer service and save money. Industry and size don’t matter.

Which IVR solution is reliable

Well, speaking in the most simple terms, Channels is a sure thing to boost the IVR system in your company. 

It is because it’s a data-driven phone system, which shows all necessary customer details to your agents. 

IVR is one of the many features of Channels. You can launch a system that narrows a gap with your customers to an unprecedented level.

So, let me clarify the effect of using Channels’ IVR in your customer service.

Let’s say, your customer hears: “If you want to talk to the sales department, press 1”. He does it, he is connected with an agent, and the conversation starts.

The agent sees everything he needs – the customer’s name, call history, and previous orders. So, he can give personalized service at once, no matter if he speaks to a rockstar, a millennial, or a professional deodorant tester. Everyone is served professionally.

A customer feels like he speaks with someone he knows for ages, so his satisfaction can only grow.

This is why Channels is the best way to make your customers happy and keep them for a longer time. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?


Get Channels for free now.

Use IVR and many other features to strengthen your customer relationships.

Right now, Channels offers you a 7-day free trial during which you’ll get full access to the software, a free phone number, and a few $$$ so you can fully test it out! No credit card required.

What’s stopping you?

Incredible Voyage, Readers

OK, here we are – we reached the final station of our Incredible Voyage, Readers. Yeah, this is what letters IVR may also stand for. 🙂

As you can see, IVR (interactive voice response) is a solution used by business owners in many industries.

This is why it’s hard to predict the exact scale of its further development. Let’s stick to the adjective “big”, and observe it regularly.

The main reason for its usefulness is saving time, expanding customer base, and finally boosting sales revenues.

Partial automatization of customer service has been inevitable. If everything works well, you can create a network of strong customer relationships.

To achieve that, I recommend you to follow all the guidelines listed in this article – make sure that all your IVR messages fulfill their role.

To get a professional service in IVR, you need to press your keypad. Here, it’s a bit similar, just click “Sign up free” above to start your free trial with Channels.

OK, once again, thank you – it’s been an Incredible Voyage, Readers.