Sarah Hall
Sarah Hall is a Customer Success Manager at Tenfold, a CTI software company that's eliminating manual data entry into CRMs...
Read Full Bio >>

Sarah Hall | December 27, 2017 |


What You Need to Know About IVR

What You Need to Know About IVR IVR solutions and the ecosystem that supports them aren't standing still.

IVR solutions and the ecosystem that supports them aren't standing still.

IVR has been around for quite some time, but advances have made this technology more valuable than ever before in the enterprise and contact center.

As a bit of background, interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that allows a pre-recorded voice to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones. It uses a telephony menu that enables identification, segmentation, and routing of callers to the most appropriate customer service or contact center agent. The system accepts a combination of voice input and touch-tone keypad selection and provides appropriate responses in the form of voice, fax, callback, e-mail, and perhaps other media. An IVR system consists of telephony equipment, software applications, a database, and supporting infrastructure.

IVR Evolved
IVR systems deployed in the network are sized to handle large call volumes and are used for outbound calling, as IVR systems are more intelligent than many predictive dialer systems. While an IVR system is usually used as an entry point to route calls, you can also use IVR to automate tasks. That means a customer can get the job done and inquiries answered without ever having to speak to an actual agent. IVR reduces cost per call by letting customers choose the type of help they want, including self-service. Not only does the system free up agents to handle more complex cases that may require a special touch, but customers can quickly self-solve basic issues like bill payments, account inquiries, and more.

But IVR solutions and the ecosystem that supports them are not standing still. Comprehensive hosted services, advances in speech technology, and omnichannel integration are examples of what's available today to application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals to provide improved voice self-service experiences for customers.

A Market Look
According to market studies from Technavio and MarketandMarkets, the IVR market is forecast to reach $5.54 billion by 2023, up from $3.73 billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 6.83% (during 2017-2023). The reports state that this growth is driven by the increasing scalability and efficiency of organizations, the increasing integration of advanced technologies, and rise in cloud-based services that meet the industry standards for the IVR systems.

The overall IVR market in the North American region is highly fragmented with the presence of some large and several medium-sized companies that offer solutions for various verticals such as banking, financial services, and insurance; pharmaceutical and healthcare; government and public sector; and education. 8X8, Nuance Communications, Convergys, Avaya, Cisco, AT&T, West, Genesys,Verizon, 24/7, and Five9 are some of the major communications companies that offer IVR solutions.

The adoption of cloud infrastructure boosts the demand for IVR systems. There is a growing adoption of cloud infrastructure within the enterprise, largely because of its ability to provide self-service applications at a minimal cost.

A Deeper Look at IVR Benefits
Automation is quickly becoming the rule for delivering faster and richer customer experiences. Giving customers the option of self-service is the key to empowering them and winning their long-term loyalty. One of the most sophisticated tools for great automated service is IVR. There are two benefits that bubble up to the top of the list:

  • Agility -- IVR helps to simplify the interaction process. Companies of all sizes can take advantage of all the benefits without having to worry about the technical aspect, hardware costs, and computing budgets. Answering phone calls takes a lot of time, and not every phone call deserves the attention of a trained employee. IVR systems can take care of most frequently asked questions, such as office hours, directions, phone directory, common tech support questions, etc., and allow customer service agents to concentrate on the harder stuff.

    IVR systems are always available to customers regardless of time or day, while office hours, holidays, and breaks dictate and limit employee availability. With IVR, customers have unlimited access to your company as they can receive service whenever they need it.

  • Better Customer Service -- Although the impersonal nature of a machine may be initially offsetting to some, it ultimately allows for more direct, specific, and thorough customer service. Through utilizing IVR systems, customers feel that they are being better attended to. If customers are calling with specific questions, automation can generate quick responses that are informative, as well as time efficient. Additionally, calls can now be answered on the first ring, which in turn reduces customer wait time and cuts call volume, saving time for both the customer and company agents.

    IVR systems also allow tremendous timesaving benefits for customers. In addition to being matched to the most qualified agent, customers do not have to listen to full menus and may click or touch their way quickly to the option they need. Automated speech recognition and text-to-speech in multiple languages makes the experience faster, and dropped calls are far less likely, when IVR systems are used.


Great IVR experiences are definitely possible, and can be quicker and easier than other channels for certain tasks. But in order to get the most from your IVR, it's essential that the experience is usable, personalized, and integrated with other channels. Self-service is becoming channel-agnostic, as seen in how organizations structure internal functions. Creating a seamless customer experience with personalized IVR helps optimize your digital transformation and reduce the total cost of ownership. It can return major advantages compared to custom or silo-built solutions.


March 7, 2018

Video collaboration is experiencing significant change and innovation-how can your enterprise take advantage? In this webinar, leading industry analyst Ira Weinstein will present detailed analysis

February 21, 2018

Business agility has become the strongest driver for enterprises to begin migrating their communications to the cloud-and its a benefit that enterprises are already realizing. To gain this benefit

February 7, 2018

Enterprises are starting to grasp the critical importance of security and compliance in their team collaboration deployments. And once the risks are mitigated, your enterprise can integrate these n

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.