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Interactive Voice Response meaning, and what IVR can do for business


This guide outlines Interactive Voice Response meaning and features, and details the benefits it can offer small, medium and large business operations.

The use of an IVR offers companies many advantages for business communication that enhance customer relations. For example, the use of a language selection menu can increase customer satisfaction and the efficiency of your company. In this article, we want to explain exactly what an IVR system is all about, what options and advantages it offers and how it works.

Interactive Voice Response meaning

What are the Interactive Voice Response meaning and main elements? You are certainly familiar with these selection options at the beginning of a hotline, if you are not directly connected to an employee but first have to choose an option by dialing a number. The IVR system is behind this principle.

With IVR (Interactive Voice Response, as the voice control system is called), is an electronic voice menu that allows incoming calls according to their needs automatically pre-qualified and forwarded to the right person. At the touch of a button on the phone, the caller or customer can decide for themselves which call center employee or department they want to be connected to based on their concerns.

IVR process

At the beginning of the conversation, the caller is greeted by the IVR system and presented with a number of options (eg select “1 for sales”, “2 for support”, “3 for marketing” etc.). At the push of a button, the customer can then decide which option he would like to take for his concern and will then be connected to the most suitable agent or the appropriate department. If all agents are in conversation at the time of the call, the caller waits in a queue.

What are the possible uses for Interactive Voice Response?

IVR offers excellent application options, especially for inbound telephony:

  • Coping with high call volumes
  • Use of IVR for pre-qualification and efficient control of calls
  • Automation of customer serviceRecord and use custom greetings, messages and announcements

What are the advantages of using an IVR?

1. Improvement of the company image

The use of Interactive Voice Response gives your company a certain professionalism, from which startups and smaller companies in particular can benefit. Because even if you only have a few employees, you can still create IVR announcements in order to forward the customer directly to the respective department such as sales, support or marketing.

2. Increase in customer satisfaction

If your Interactive Voice Response system is easy to use and reliable, your customers will never be referred to the wrong employee or department. This means that the customer can be helped more quickly with his problem, which saves time and increases customer satisfaction .

3. Increase in employee efficiency

Because the customer is always connected to the right contact person, the agents are better able to help the customer with his problem without first consulting with colleagues or managers. This means that calls have to be forwarded to another colleague less often and employees can work more efficiently and quickly. In addition, voice dialog systems mean that a customer service employee is no longer necessary who first accepts all calls and then forwards them to the appropriate contact person.

Tips for creating an Interactive Voice Response menu

Companies that use an Interactive Voice Response system can often have better customer satisfaction. In order for this to work, however, it is extremely important to create a user-friendly language selection menu. We want to show you how this works with the following tips.

1. Use a short selection menu

Try to keep your selection menu as short as possible and reduce it to the most important points. Because if the customer first has to listen to your choices for 5 minutes until he has found the right option, the probability is high that he will hang up beforehand. Therefore, pay attention to a flat selection menu with a horizontal level with approx. 5 options.

2. Avoid long sentences

Use short texts so that the caller can find the right option more quickly. As an announcement, you should rather play “Dial 1 for sales, 2 for support and 3 for marketing” rather than “Dial 1 for sales. Select 2 for the support department. With the 3 you will be forwarded to the marketing department. ”

3. Save your customers time

The system should be set up so that the entire selection menu does not have to be played before the caller is able to press a key and select his option.

IVR for Business

Phone trees, interactive voice response, or IVR for business. These terms refer to the automatic voice response system used by companies with large call volumes. The automation answers calls, greets callers, identifies the purpose of the call, and resolves it. The system does so either by: 

  • Providing information through pre-recorded messages,
  • Presenting the caller with menu options, 
  • Helping the caller complete a task arranged by the account manager, or
  • Transferring the call to the appropriate department or agent for further processing

Purchasing and setting up IVR is a simple and easy process. You can subscribe to a virtual phone service provider, like United World Telecom, that offers the service alongside other advanced communication features and tools. Generally, such services are highly customizable so that you can adapt it to your business’ needs as much as possible.

Who Can Benefit from IVR for Business?

Companies in every industry can take advantage of this service. If your business has a large call volume and depends on customer service and satisfaction to improve sales, then considering IVR for business is a good idea. Here are some types of businesses that use IVR:

  • Financial services
  • Healthcare services and pharmaceutical companies
  • IT and data service companies
  • Telecommunication companies
  • Customer support, appointment setting, and answering services
  • Marketing and advertising agencies
  • E-commerce businesses
  • Travel and tourism agencies
  • Governmental services
  • Educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities), and more

What Can You Do with IVR?

All of these companies can use IVR for business to organize incoming calls, assist callers in completing tasks, or directing them to the right employee. You can sort calls based on different categories of tasks or based on language and location preferences. Here are some examples of how businesses use IVR:

  • Greet callers
  • Provide basic company information (contact details, location, office hours)
  • Collect caller information
  • Provide company updates
  • Process payments and renewals
  • Refill prescriptions
  • Provide drug and recall information
  • Offer basic troubleshooting  
  • Account verification and activation services
  • Provide information about products, services, and promotions
  • Collect feedback from customers, etc

Besides merely organizing and distributing calls, an IVR for business, in advanced cases, can also help callers complete simple, mundane, repetitive tasks without needing to connect to an agent. This frees your agents up for more complex tasks.

How to Get IVR for Business?

To purchase and set up IVR, follow these simple steps:

1) Research providers: Look up different providers and what they have to offer that will enhance and improve your business communications. Do they have any additional features? How much can you customize? Do you need your IVR to be multilingual? And so on.

2) Browse through features and plans: Compare plans and features offered. Do they fit your needs and your budget? Maybe reach out to the provider and see if there is any wiggle room, if you really want their service.

3) Choose a provider: Once you’ve decided on a company to go ahead with, sign up for their service.

4) Design your IVR: Start creating and customizing your IVR by mapping out what menu options you want to offer your callers and what tasks will they be allowed to complete.


Now that you understand Interactive Voice Response meaning and features, and have some idea of the benefits for business, you can see it allows callers to have their issues or queries resolved quickly as they don’t need to wait in long lines. Additionally, they are transferred to the right department at the first attempt, reducing frustration from being bounced around. IVR for business has a higher rate of first call resolution, making it convenient for customers to call your business and making your business more approachable. 

About Meryl D’Sa'

Meryl D’Sa writes about the ways we can improve life through communications, travel, literature, and more. In her spare time, she reads literary fiction, binge-watches Netflix, and adores her cat.

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