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How Does IVR Systems Work?

what is IVR

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Want an efficient solution for your corporate call center? Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can help reduce your company’s costs and improve productivity.

IVR systems are basically automated systems that are voice-activated. For example, one of your customers simply wants to pay an overdue bill. They dial into the system, choose from a menu of options using their voice as an indicator, then pay their bill over the phone. The information gathered from IVR systems is stored in an electronic database you and your teams can access anytime.

It’s not just inbound calls, either. IVR systems can make outbound calls to a pre-chosen list of clients. Once you install it, IVR can dial multiple consumers at once to offer surveys or relay important information. In fact, IVR is frequently used by drugstores to automatically let people know when their prescriptions are in. Since IVR systems handle thousands of customers much faster than a real person, your company can manage large volumes of calls while saving money on labor and payroll.

What Are The Cost Saving Features of an IVR System?

Before calculating the costs of an IVR, it’s fair to point out the cost-saving opportunities this system will afford you. A flooded call center overcrowded with simple inquiries burns employees out easily. If you’re using a team of real people in your current call center, you don’t have to worry about completely replacing them. In fact, an IVR system only replaces the more mundane calls. This frees up your live team to handle high-value transactions and potential sales calls. Not only that, but your organization can also better prioritize customers through customized routing.

Here are some of the other cost-saving features of an IVR system:

  • Voice prompts: A consumer will clearly hear and understand all of their options. There’s no time lost from miscommunications.
  • Call scheduling: Calls can be conducted before, during, or after business hours. Your staff does not have to go into overtime to make these calls.
  • Call statistics: Being able to analyze call center data can give you valuable metrics for the future, along with truly understanding a client’s level of satisfaction.
  • Call transfer: If the IVR system cannot handle a special request, a caller will be directed to the appropriate agent.

How Much Does an IVR System Cost?

The actual cost of the IVR system will vary based on the size of your company, the number of lines needed, and the features you want. There will be upfront, one time fees as well as monthly and ongoing fees. And as your business grows, you will need the system to be scalable and to grow with you, which may mean an increased cost. However many organizations will offer volume discounts for loyal clients.

Usage Fees

Usage fees are typically monthly fees. They include the actual “use” of the IVR platform, as well as the infrastructure’s initial build, ongoing security, regular maintenance, and the use of enhanced services. This fee will also include keeping the IVR in compliance with your industry’s standards, if that is one of your requirements. An IVR provider will offer you an enterprise contract outlining all of these details and what they entail. The longer the contract, generally speaking, the better the rates.

We’ll start with the base monthly fee, which is a flat fee for up to 100,000 minutes of usage per month, for example. This rate does not change and gives you an allowance of minutes. Sometimes providers will let you “roll over” extra minutes into the following month, and some will not.

In addition to the flat monthly fee, you may also be charged “per minute”. So the cost of a usage fee can be as little as one penny per minute, a few cents per minute, or as much as twenty-five cents per minute, depending on call volume.

Usage fees will depend on whether you as a consumer choose to be a Client Of Record (COR) or Non Client of Record (NCOR) for the phone company. It’s normal to keep an existing contract with a telecommunication provider if they offer you a special deal. However, IVR providers also get special rates and have the ability to pass those savings on to their clients.

Professional Service Fees

Companies will have different names for this, but they all fall under the umbrella of “professional service fees”. Professional service fees cover the initial setup of your system. So of course, the more complex the system, the more you will be charged.

Larger organizations will need to pay close attention to the “flow” of their configuration. This requires great planning. For instance:

  • The IVR answers a call from a customer.
  • The IVR plays a message asking the caller to confirm their information.
  • If the information is incorrect, Step 2 will be repeated.
  • If the information is correct, the IVR system will take the caller to the next step.

If your configuration needs are quite great, such as integrating text to speech features, then this will be included in your professional service fees. Some fees are one-time, while others are rolled into a monthly charge.

Professional service fees can range from a few to several thousands of dollars, depending on your system’s complexity. It’s best to clear up what these charges will be moving forward in your contract.

A Trusted IVR System Vendor

Now that you know all of the costs associated with an IVR system, you’re ready to make an informed decision. Before choosing a vendor for your company, write down a list of questions you may have first. This way you can easily evaluate what’s best for your situation.

Not only that, you must know all of the services a certain vendor offers and for what prices. This is why transparency is key before you get started. Hidden fees and charges have no place in a standard IVR contract. That’s why Global Call Forwarding is a leading provider of IVR systems across small, mid-size, and large businesses seeking growth. We let you know exactly what features we offer and at what price points.

The costs don’t have to be complicated. Give our team a call for all of your IVR system today.

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