Imagine customer service that never sleeps—meaning you’ll face no late-night support scrambles and won’t have to worry about the limitations of human schedules and resources.
Cloud IVR is a method of providing a friendly, automated assistant to greet every call no matter when it comes in. It can perform various customer support tasks, such as answering basic questions, taking orders, and routing complex inquiries to your human team.
Since these IVRs run in the cloud and have no geographic or workday-related restrictions, they can work at all hours of the day regardless of the time zone—even for businesses without big IT teams or remote employees in different regions.
If you’re looking for ways to automate the manual phone tasks at your company and free up your agents to do other high-priority work, it’s worth exploring how cloud-based IVRs can improve your call center operations.
Forget the Hardware with Cloud IVR
IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response, and you can think of an IVR as your friendly, automated receptionist. It’s the first voice your customers hear when they call your business.
Back in the day—aka when phones worked by sending information over copper wires—human operators routed calls through switchboards in bulky boxes called PBXs. The upkeep of these things was laborious, costly, and inconvenient.
Today, we’ve swapped clunky switchboards for remotely hosted servers and introduced Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems to make internet-based calls instead. In fact, many of the web-based systems today are also capable of connecting seamlessly with traditional phone networks as well, meaning they can handle both landline and internet-based calls.
This newer technology leverages the processing power of platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, eliminating the need for expensive on-site hardware and manual updates or upgrades.
Of course, these cloud-based systems can be updated from anywhere and at any time, and they also make it very easy to implement the automated receptionists of IVR technology.
If you’re starting small, lightweight solutions like Talkdesk Callbar or Iris Connect Flow offer drag-and-drop simplicity and budget-friendly pricing. Alternatively, if you’re already using a CRM like Salesforce or Zendesk, you can probably use their built-in IVR features for personalized greetings and seamless data integration.
For larger operations, providers such as RingCentral offer advanced APIs and development tools to tailor your IVR to your specific brand and customer journeys. However, this level of customization comes with higher costs and requires more work to set up.
To find the best system for your needs, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Are you expecting just a handful of calls per day or a constant flow?
- Do you have in-house staff to manage the setup and ongoing maintenance?
- Which functionalities are essential, and do you need any integrations with existing systems?
- How much room for growth do you have and anticipate?
Your answers to these questions will determine which capabilities you should look for in a cloud IVR system and how much you’ll need to spend to get started.
Cloud IVR Capabilities
Cloud IVR technology can benefit businesses in a number of ways—from adding basic features to providing key business intelligence.
Automating Business Essentials:
- Automated FAQs: Cloud IVRs can answer common questions about your products, services, and operating hours on a 24/7 schedule, freeing up your human agents to handle more complex, less monotonous queries. (This can also help reduce your call center turnover.)
- Self-Service Ordering: IVR systems can streamline order processing by allowing customers to place orders via voice commands. This is useful for simplifying certain transactions and increasing overall efficiency.
- Appointment Scheduling: IVRs can help callers make bookings for meetings, service calls, or consultations, reducing hold times and offering customers complete control over their schedules.
Improved Security and Reliability:
- Secure Payment Processing: You can integrate your system with secure payment gateways so customers can make payments safely and conveniently through the IVR, reducing financial risks and building trust.
- Data Protection: VoIP phones can risk security, but cloud IVRs utilize data encryption and secure platforms to protect customer information and financial transactions.
- High Uptime and Redundancy: Many cloud providers offer high uptime and redundancy, minimizing service disruptions and guaranteeing consistent availability.
Advanced Features for Next-Level Service:
- Speech Recognition: Some IVRs use advanced speech recognition based on NPL engines that can understand when customers talk to them like humans, creating a more user-friendly experience and eliminating the need for overly complex menus.
- Visual IVR: This feature utilizes web-based interfaces alongside voice commands for enhanced self-service, allowing customers to navigate visual menus for a richer and more intuitive experience.
- Personalization: Advanced IVRs can leverage customer data to personalize interactions, offering greetings by name and suggesting relevant options based on past interactions.
- Real-Time Analytics: Built-in analytics tools help you gain valuable insights into call data, user interactions, and performance metrics—ultimately leading to opportunities for continuous optimization and improved service delivery.
Overall, cloud IVRs are the perfect call center tools to cut down on customer service costs. They’re available 24/7, they require no pay or sick leave, and they can help countless customers simultaneously.
Benefits of Cloud IVR Over Traditional PBX
Think of your clunky old PBX system like a gas-guzzling car. Sure, it gets you where you need to go, but it constantly drains your budget with recurring costs and maintenance fees.
Cloud IVRs are the sleek, electric vehicles of customer service. First, they can save you money on operational and maintenance costs. Second, they offer you feel-good benefits and instant digital readouts.
Here are a few more reasons you may want to switch your service to the cloud:
- Lower Costs: Cloud IVRs eliminate expensive hardware purchases and require minimal setup fees, significantly reducing initial costs compared to traditional PBXs. And since no hardware maintenance or upgrades are needed, it results in ongoing cost savings with little or no risk of sudden repair expenses.
- Scalability on Demand: You can easily adjust your call center capacity to meet fluctuating demand because cloud IVRs scale effortlessly. This helps you avoid the limitations and costs of fixed PBX configurations.
- Enhanced Engagement: IVRs allow you to offer personalized greetings and relevant options automatically based on customer data, creating a more welcoming and efficient experience.
- Real-Time Insights: IVR systems have built-in analytics that can provide valuable data on call patterns and customer behavior, allowing you to optimize your service offerings and communication strategies continuously.
- Reduced Hardware Footprint: Moving to a cloud-based solution minimizes the need for physical equipment (and the associated manufacturing and disposal of that equipment), contributing to a greener business model.