Engage Voice | Intro to IVR Designer

An IVR –– that is, an Interactive Voice Response system –– is an automated system that can answer calls and perform actions like playing recordings, receiving input, and routing calls. 
 
Although you may not be familiar with creating IVRs, you’ve likely interacted with IVR systems many times. For example, you’ve probably interacted with an IVR when calling a company’s customer service line or when taking a customer satisfaction survey by phone. 
 
With the platform’s IVR Designer, you’ll have the ability to create IVRs from the most basic to complex using IVR Studio’s drag-and-drop interface. 
 
While we provide a number of tools and opportunities for IVR customization, our system is designed to be intuitive. Think of an IVR as a dynamic, interactive flowchart that you can custom-build to guide customers through your desired pathways. With just a little practice, anyone can build a basic IVR in minutes.

Who uses IVRs and why?

Businesses of all kinds use IVRs to automate interactions with callers. They can be used to save your business time and money by taking over interactions that can be automated, which in turn frees up agents to focus on more important customer interactions. 
 
IVRs can also be used to improve your customer service by streamlining calls and ensuring that customers are always routed to the correct destination, whether that’s to a specific department, an agent, or an external destination.
 
Say you provide your customers with a phone number they can call to learn more about your products. Before transferring them to an agent, you might want to determine which product they’re interested in. 
 
One solution is to design an IVR that presents callers with a recording that describes the different products and then prompts callers to choose a product or product category. Based on callers’ input, the IVR can then present them with information regarding their choice, prompt them for additional input, transfer the calls, or simply end the calls. 
 
In addition to using input to determine the pathway of a call, IVRs can also record information communicated verbally by the caller. These recordings can be saved individually or collectively and accessed later. 
 
Some businesses might want to use IVRs to create a 24/7 customer service line without hiring new agents. An IVR could allow customers to double-check information about their accounts or edit their account details.
 
Overall, IVRs are useful both for determining where calls need to be transferred and for gathering information from callers. However, keep in mind that a physical agent using a script can offer more possibilities for retrieving information. So, depending on your needs, you might want to use an IVR to determine the pathways calls need to take and then transfer those calls to an agent with a script. You might also want to transfer calls from an agent to an IVR for something like a customer satisfaction survey.

Where and how do I create an IVR?

Creating an IVR takes several steps. The first step takes place in the IVR Designer groups page, which you can reach by navigating to IVR > IVR designer. This is where you’ll set up an IVR group and create IVRs that will be organized within that group. 
 
Your next step involves assigning each IVR one or more DNIS numbers –– that is, the inbound number callers can dial to access your IVR. 
 
Your last step involves creating the IVR itself in IVR Studio, which can be reached via the IVR Studio tab in the IVR configuration panel. 
 
You can use the drag-and-drop interface in IVR Studio to connect nodes and create potential pathways for calls. Nodes are the individual components of your IVRs that determine what happens along the various paths calls can take. 
 
Nodes function as visual representations of the actions you wish to provide your callers, such as playing a recording or receiving input. When connected, they form a chain of potential actions, or potential call flows. 
 
You can design your IVRs to perform many functions within the pathways you create. For example, IVRs can play recordings, record calls, receive speech or touch-tone data, repeat back information callers have provided, and integrate web services. 
 
Your IVRs can also be configured to set up reporting. Over time you can use your reporting to improve your IVRs and, in turn, increase customer satisfaction.

IVR Designer configuration options

IVR Designer contains a variety of configuration options, which can be found in the configuration panel at the IVR level. The list below contains all available configuration panel settings in IVR Designer.
  • General: Use this option to name your IVR and provide a short description
  • DNIS Assignment: Use this option to assign a phone number callers can use to access your IVR
  • Reporting: Use this option if you’d like to set up reporting for your IVR 
  • IVR Studio: Enter the IVR Studio via this option

What are a few cool things I can do with IVRs?

You can visit What nodes can do for a more in-depth discussion of how you can use IVR Studio, but for now, let’s discuss a few ways that you can configure your IVRs.
  • You can configure IVRs to accept single- and multi-digit touch-tone inputs
  • Using speech recognition, you can configure IVRs to recognize alphanumeric content, including predetermined words and phrases. Please note that extra charges may apply for this service    
  • IVRs can use text-to-speech functionality to convert any text input you provide into (automated) speech 
  • IVRs provide flexible destination routing so you can transfer calls to a variety of internal and external destinations 
  • You can use the WWW node in IVR Studio to send and receive information to and from external locations
  • You can configure your IVR to begin and end call recording at any point during a call
  • IVRs have flexible reporting so you can generate data based on your chosen criteria
  • Finally, you can use JavaScript to customize your IVRs in any way that you like
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