What is Interactive Voice Response (IVR)?

By Hal Werner

Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad. In telecommunications, IVR allows customers to interact with a company’s host system via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition, after which they can service their own inquiries by following the IVR dialogue. IVR systems can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further direct users on how to proceed. IVR applications can be used to control almost any function where the interface can be broken down into a series of simple interactions.

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 operations.