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Call Center IVR: Introduction, Concept, & User Guide

call center ivr
  • This guide on call center IVR gives you a complete understanding of the IVR systems and how they are used in contact centers to automate outbound sales and customer support operations.
  • Here, you’ll also learn its use cases, benefits, and steps involved in implementing the IVR phone system.
  • Before diving into the content, check out our intelligent IVR software for simplifying your customer care operations.

Table Of Contents:

What is IVR in a call center
How does IVR work?
Different types of IVR
How to set up and design an IVR
Why IVR is used in the call center?
5 Examples of IVR phone system
Benefits of using an IVR
Frequently asked questions

What is IVR in a call center?

  • IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response, and it is a technology used in call centers that allow callers to interact with an automated voice bot using voice or touch-tone commands.
  • When a caller dials an IVR number or toll-free number, they will typically hear a pre-recorded message that prompts them to select a list of options from the menu using their phone keypad or by speaking. The system then routes the caller to the appropriate department or agent based on their selection.
  • It’s commonly used to handle high volumes of calls, reduce wait times, improve customer service, and can minimize the workload of call center agents by acting as virtual agents.

How does IVR work in a call center?

  • It works by using pre-recorded voice prompts and touch-tone keypad entries to allow customers to interact with an automated system. Here is a general overview of how call center IVR works:
  • 1. When a customer reaches an interactive voice response system, they hear a pre-recorded message that prompts them to select from a list of common customer inquiry options. The message may say something like "Welcome to ABX Company. For customer support, press 1. For billing inquiries, press 2. For all other inquiries, press 3."
  • 2. The caller selects their desired option using their phone keypad. If the system uses voice recognition, the caller can speak their choice instead of pressing a button.
  • 3. The automated phone system then routes the caller to the appropriate department or agent based on their selection. This can involve transferring the call to a specific agent using skill-based routing, connecting the caller to a pre-recorded message, or providing further options to narrow down their query.
  • 4. If the caller needs to provide additional information, the system may prompt them to enter or speak the information, such as an account number or a support issue. This is usually powered by conversational AI, text-to-speech, and speech recognition technologies.
  • 5. Once the caller has completed their interaction with the IVR phone system, the call may be transferred to a live agent, or the call may be completed entirely through the platform.
  • Overall, interactive voice response systems use automation to provide an efficient and streamlined way for callers to interact with a company or organization. They can save time and reduce wait times for customers while freeing up agents to handle more complex inquiries.
Different types of IVR
Outbound IVR
  • It is an automated phone system that automatically makes outbound calls to customers, clients, and target audiences without the need for live agents. It typically uses features like auto dialer, voice broadcasting system, and pre-recorded voice messages to communicate information.
  • The purpose of an outbound IVR phone system is to provide information, such as appointment reminders, payment reminders, or service notifications. It can also be used for telemarketing or sales purposes, such as conducting surveys, closing leads, or delivering promotional messages.
Inbound IVR
  • Inbound IVR systems are used in customer service operations in call centers. They are used to handle high call volumes, screen, and route calls, and provide self-service options to callers. The system typically presents callers with a menu of options that they can select using touch-tone or voice recognition technology.
  • It also collects information from callers, such as their account number or reason for calling, to help direct the call to the appropriate department.
How to setup and design an IVR
  • The process involved in setting up a call center IVR may vary based on the IVR service provider you choose. Below are some general steps involved in configuring IVR software,
  • Choose an IVR platform: There are many different IVR providers available in the market, both cloud-based and on-premises. Consider factors such as cost, features, scalability, and ease of use when choosing a platform. Cloud or hosted IVR is usually encouraged as it’s cost-effective, flexible, feature-rich, and hardware-free.
  • Define the call flow: Determine the purpose and the specific interactions you want the caller to have with the system. Plan out the different paths a caller can take and what they will be asked to do or provide at each step in the IVR menu.
  • Record your prompts: Create and record the audio prompts or voice messages that will guide the caller through the IVR system. Make sure the prompts are clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Configure your IVR system: Set up the system according to the call flow you defined. This will involve configuring menus, call routing, assigning a business number, and other necessary attributes. Also, some IVR service providers like TeleCMI provide you visual call flow designer which makes configuration effortless for call center teams.
  • Test the system: Before launching the IVR system, test it to ensure that everything is working properly. Test all of the different call paths and make sure the prompts are clear and easy to follow. Including checking call connectivity issues.
  • Launch the system: Once the IVR system has been tested and is working properly, launch it and begin using it to interact with your customers.
  • Monitor and refine: Keep an eye on how your customers are interacting with the IVR system, and make adjustments as needed to improve the caller experience.
  • Setting up an IVR system requires careful planning, technical expertise, and attention to detail. If you don't have the necessary technical expertise, you may want to consider hiring a professional with CX and industry knowledge to help you set up your system.

Why IVR is used in call centers?

  • Call center IVR is used by businesses and BPOs to automate certain interactions with callers, such as providing information, routing calls, and collecting data. Here are some common use cases:

Customer self-service

  • It’s used to provide callers with self-service options, such as checking account balances or making payments, reducing the need for live agents and allowing customers to get what they need more quickly.

Telesales and marketing

  • Outbound IVRs are used to promote awareness about products and services, communicate the latest offers, and reach prospects in the contact list to close deals.

Surveys and feedback

  • Helpful for conducting surveys or gathering feedback from users and customers allowing businesses to collect data and improve their products or services.

Appointment scheduling

  • It can be used to schedule appointments or reservations, reducing the need for live agents and improving efficiency.

Call routing

  • Used to route callers to the appropriate department or agent based on their needs, reducing wait times and improving call resolution. This results in enhanced customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value.

Account management

  • It can be used to provide account information, such as billing and payment history, allowing customers to access information quickly and easily.

5 Examples of IVR Phone System

Example 1: Telebanking

  • IVR systems are used by banks to provide customers with account information, such as account balances and transaction history, or to enable customers to perform certain transactions, such as transferring funds or paying bills.
Example 2: Patient caring in healthcare
  • The platform is used by healthcare providers to provide patients with appointment reminders and prescription refill options or to enable patients to speak to a nurse or physician outside of office hours.
Example 3: Flight information
  • IVR solutions are used by airlines to provide customers with flight information, such as flight schedules and delays, or to enable customers to check in for their flights or change their reservations.
Example 4: Teleshopping
  • Retailers use IVR telephony integrated with cloud telephony to provide customers with information about store hours and locations, and also to allow customers to check the status of their orders or make returns.
Example 5: Recharge data
  • Used by telecommunications providers to provide customers with information about their account, such as recharge and payment history, or to enable customers to change their voice plan or add services.
Example 6: Public awareness
  • It’s used by government agencies to provide citizens with information about public services, such as licensing and registration. Also, to broadcast election campaigns and disaster awareness.
Benefits of using an IVR
  • 24/7 business availability: It provides 24/7 availability for consumers to access information or make requests, even outside of business hours. It also, allows customers to add voice inputs using the voicemail feature.
  • Cost savings: By automating the call attending process, it helps organizations save on labor costs and improve call handling efficiency.
  • Improved customer experience: It provides quick, accurate, and personalized responses to callers, improving their overall experience and reducing frustration and churn rates.
  • Automatic call routing: Helpful for redirecting callers to the appropriate department or agent which reduces wait times and improves first-call resolution.
  • Self-service: Helps to provide customers with self-service options, such as bill payment or appointment scheduling thus, reducing the need for live agents and allowing callers to get what they need more quickly.
  • Performance analysis: It collects data on caller behavior, such as frequently asked questions or areas where callers are experiencing difficulties, allowing businesses to make data-driven improvements in the future. Also, call reports to help call center managers analyze conversations and provide the right training to agents.
  • Sign up to try TeleCMI hosted IVR system with a free trial

Frequently asked questions


Some advantages of conversational IVR include automatic call attending, customer self-service, serving customers during non-working hours, reduced call center workload, automatic call distribution (ACR), and improved customer experience.


Yes, many providers give you the option to integrate the IVR platform into the CRM application you are using, this can be done by clicking the integrating option in the dashboard.


Multi-level menus, call recording, on-hold music, voicemail, toll-free numbers, visual call flow designer, post-call SMS, sticky agent, call barging, call whispering, call transfer, number masking, and intelligent call routing options are the main features to consider when choosing an IVR software.


The IVR menu presents the caller with a list of options, such as "press 1 for sales, press 2 for support, press 3 for billing," and so on.

Menus can be customized to fit the specific needs of the business or organization using them. This can include custom greetings, specific menu options, and personalized routing based on caller information or previous interactions.

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