The Role of Interactive Voice Response in Effective Communication

the role of interactive voice response in effective communication


The role of interactive voice response in effective communication. The smart use of IVR doesn't cause frustration but instead earns callers appreciation.

Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automation tool that can help provide effective communication with your callers. Yes, IVR has a bad reputation among consumers, but this is because it’s too often used for the wrong thing or set up the wrong way. Don’t let this discourage you from considering the appropriate uses of IVR. When used correctly, interactive voice response can delight your customers, save them time, and save you money.

The key issue is having the correct application. This means avoiding using IVR in a way that irritates customers, such as to keep them from talking to a real person and block them from completing the reason for their call.


Here are some appropriate IVR applications you might want to consider.


Give Out Basic Information to Callers:

Sometimes callers need basic information, and they’d rather punch a few buttons on their keypad then they would to hold for a person. What are some examples? To get your business address or hours of operation are two cases. A specific example would be a bank giving out their routing and transit number. For a politician listing their itinerary for the day would be a great IVR application. Yes, these things are often available online, but this doesn’t help people without internet access or who prefer to use the telephone. IVR can help in all these situations, as well as many others


Capture routine information from callersCapture Routine Information from Callers:

Other times callers don’t need to, or don’t want to, talk to a real person. Sometimes they want to leave information and do it quickly. One example might be an RSVP hotline, where they simply leave their name, if they’re attending, and how many. That call only lasts a few seconds, and there’s no need for them to talk to a person, unless they have a question. And when you get IVR from your answering service, callers can quickly connect to a real person whenever they want to.

When you combine IVR on the front end with answering service backup, you end up with a cost-effective solution that ranks high on customer service.


Handle Overflow Calls:

What happens to callers when your phone lines are busy or all your employees are already on calls? In the first instance theyll receive a busy signal, and in the second instance theyll end up waiting on hold for a long time. Neither outcome is a good one.

Instead route these overflow calls to IVR. It can provide them with the opportunity to move forward if they don’t want to wait. Of course, they can always hold for the next available person. But in today’s busy economy, most people would rather leave a message, so they can move on to their next task.


Serve as disaster backup.Serve as a Disaster Backup:

Though we hope to never have to deal with a workplace emergency or disaster, these do occur. And when they do, it’s usually communications that suffer and serve to amplify people’s frustration and fear. Again, IVR can serve as a communications backup in the event of an emergency. This is a time when people aren’t as concerned about the quality of calls as much as they are about being able to communicate. And IVR can provide this basic communications solution.





Just because IVR is often set up incorrectly, serving to impede communication, this doesn’t mean this is always the case. The smart application of IVR can earn your callers appreciation because you save them time and facilitate effective communication.

This is especially true when it’s paired with live answering service. Let’s chalk this up as a win.


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Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer who covers the telephone answering service and call center industry.