IVR systems are typically intended to service high call volumes, reduce cost and improve the customer experience. Examples of typical IVR applications are telephone banking, televoting, and credit card services. Companies also use IVR services to extend their business hours to 24/7 operation. The use of IVR and voice automation allows callers' queries to be resolved without the need for queueing and incurring the cost of a live agent. If callers do not find the information they need or require further assistance, their calls are often transferred to an agent. This makes for a more efficient system in which agents have more time to deal with complex interactions. The agents do not deal with basic inquiries that require yes/no responses or obtaining customer details.
Call centers use IVR systems to identify and segment callers. The ability to identify customers allows services to be tailored according to the customer profile. The caller can be given the option to wait in the queue, choose an automated service, or request a callback. The system may obtain caller line identification (CLI) data from the network to help identify or authenticate the caller. Additional caller authentication data could include account number, personal information, password and biometrics (such as voice print).
When an IVR system answers multiple phone numbers the use of DNIS ensures that the correct application and language is executed. A single large IVR system can handle calls for thousands of applications, each with its own phone numbers and script.
IVR also enables customer prioritization. In a system wherein individual customers may have a different status the service will automatically prioritize the individual's call and move customers to the front of a specific queue. Prioritization could also be based on the DNIS and call reason.
Smaller companies and start-ups can also use an IVR system to make their business appear larger than it is. For example, a caller never needs to know that their sales and support calls are routed to the same person.
In addition to interacting with customer information systems and databases, IVRs will also log call detail information into its own database for auditing, performance report, and future IVR system enhancements.