What is IVR and how you can get better results?

Understanding your customers is the first step to improving your IVR.

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If you are like us, you are familiar with that lovely voice telling us to “Press 1 for English or 2 for French”, but we find that many companies who have implemented an IVR solution think this is where it ends, they are mistaken. That would be like buying an iPhone without the Apple Store or Genius Bar. Not convinced? Well, let’s go over our thoughts.

For those that are new, What is IVR?

IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response, which is a telephone-based menu system that enables your customers to dial for identification, segmentation, and routing of callers to the most appropriate agent within your team. In some cases, it can provide account information and everything can be done automated. It is a simple and effective tool that significantly reduces overhead costs and increases efficiency within a company.

Still don’t understand?

Think about when you call into Rogers, Telus, or even TD Bank. The attendee that “answers” is not a human, it is a form of IVR system that helps navigate you to where you need to go or who you need to talk to.

So, why should you look beyond implementing IVR?

It is simple. Your customers are continuing to expect better service, and want you to deliver on it. This comes with the ageing population being more digital and expecting a frictionless experience. Let’s give you an idea of how a company can look beyond implementation.

High Volume = Low Conversion Rate

If this sounds like you, it is probably time to start looking at how your customers are using your IVR system. How? We believe the first step starts with understanding your customers. Below are a few areas where we have seen IVR monitoring create opportunities for better customer experience and higher conversion rates;

  • it takes them too long to get there;
  • they are trying to do something and they are not able to do it; and/or
  • your customer is connected with the wrong person or put on hold.

Does that sound like you?

All of these answers can be fixed. But, it has to start with understanding your customer and mapping out their journey and the problems that they are having. For some companies that have a complex IVR system set-up, it can take months to map out the journey, which is why we recommend implementing an IVR monitoring plugin to help accelerate results and start optimizing for your next customer.

For those that are mapping out their customers’ journey, looking at where drop-offs are and trends, is where we recommend that you start. If you have found where a drop-off has taken place, we recommend that you start A/B testing and providing recommendations with small user groups to see how your efforts are realized. This can be measured through KPIs or success metrics, such as:

  • If 100 / 200 customers that we are testing stay on the phone, we will consider the implementation successful.
  • If 25% of customers reach the “support desk”, we will consider the implementation successful.

Companies that have started improving their IVR systems, have been able to improve their current systems with us by being able to search for a specific failed call by phone number and drill down into the cause of the failure.


The benefits to using an IVR are clear and the associated costs are relatively low. However, as companies look at ways to continuously improve their customer experience they should try to proactively detect issues and improve their current services.

We at Optimiz, believe that meaningful insights start with the customers you design for. We are proud partners of Appdynamics, Cisco, and moogsoft.