Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, are everywhere. If you don’t know what this is, as soon as it is explained you will know immediately. IVR’s are those systems where if you phone a company or business, it offers you various options and responds to either your spoken answers or which button you press on your telephone keyboard. Now everyone knows what the correct name is for the system.
While consumers may moan and groan about them, and how long it takes to speak to a real person, from the business points of view IVR’s are invaluable. If you call a large corporation that has several thousand employees, spending a couple of minutes listening to options and choosing the relevant one for you ensures you get to speak to somebody who can help you, which is the whole point of the call.
These have usually been limited to government agencies and large businesses and corporations, but SME’s are slowly getting in on the act as they have realised that even though some find them annoying, they do give an air of professionalism and give the impressions that although a company is small, it still has many departments and employees.
An SME with a single phone number will greatly benefit from an Interactive Voice Response as there is nothing worse than ringing a number which is constantly engaged. The IVR will take the call and free up the line for the next caller. When the IVR directs a call to the right department and if the line is busy, there will be a polite message telling the caller that their call will be answered as soon as possible.
There may be only one person in an office taking calls, but the IVR gives the impression that this SME is a busy company, dealing with dozens of enquiries, and the fact they are waiting in a queue makes them feel as if they are dealing with a professional company.