Home > Blog > What is Interactive Voice Response Ivr
book your consultation today image

Learn more about how Ooma Office can help your business.

Talk to one of our Ooma Office experts today!

Thank you!

An Ooma Office Sales Representative will be in touch shortly.


The Ooma Office Logo
Thank you
Learn how ooma can help - consultation image

Learn more about how Ooma Office can help your business.

Just call 877-621-0515 or click this to CHAT. Or, fill out this form and someone will reach out to you shortly.

By clicking below you expressly agree to and acknowledge the statements set forth in this
link. By submitting your contact information, you are giving express written consent to receive on your telephone, mobile or other electronic device auto-dialed, pre-recorded, artificial or other automated telemarketing calls or texts (SMS & MMS) from Ooma, its marketing partners, or third parties acting on Ooma’s behalf, even if your number is a on a corporate, state or federal Do Not Call (DNC) list. Carrier fees may apply. Consent is not a condition of purchase. It also indicates that you agree to Ooma’s Privacy Policy.
Fix error

What is IVR?

IVR is a phone system feature that responds to your voice. Like a virtual assistant, it helps businesses route calls to the correct party. But an IVR system takes it a step further. Instead of automatic call distribution, IVR technology uses speech recognition software to interpret spoken responses and interact with the callers to route their calls and complete simple tasks instead of just following telephone keypad menu selections. Let’s dig deeper and explore all the IVR can do.

When you call a business and are given an auto attendant, you can say your selections or use a touch-tone keypad on your telephone. The ability to speak your choice means that you are using IVR technology. IVR systems use both natural language processing and telephone keypad recognition to handle inbound calls.

Examples of IVR

While the origins of interactive voice response can be traced back to the 1930s, IVR technology grew by leaps and bounds in the 1960s as call centers became a thing. By the 1980s, IVR technology had caught up with demand, and IVR systems took off. Now you rarely place a call to a large business without interacting with an IVR system.

Any company that uses a voice-responsive, automated system with a menu of choices to direct your call uses some form of an IVR system. IVR software has a few components, let’s take a look at them.


Inbound calls, especially to businesses with high call volumes, are rarely answered by a person. Instead, customers are typically greeted with an automated response. Pre-recorded messages usually include a welcome message and news or updates about the business. If the company uses call recording, this is typically where a comment about the call being recorded is placed. After the greeting, the IVR system menu options start.


An IVR menu starts the job of routing inbound calls. Typical interactive voice response menu options include voice prompts that allow the caller to connect with various business departments, such as:

Please tell me the department you wish to reach. You can say “sales department,” “billing,” “customer support” or “operator.”

Once the voice recognition technology routes the call to one of the main departments, the caller will either be connected with a company representative from that department or presented with another set of IVR solutions for user input that funnels them to their end goal.

IVR menu options also include positive customer experience solutions that provide relevant information or self-service and eliminate callers who might not need to speak to a representative. Things like the following are also typically included on an IVR menu:

  • What can I help you with? You can say something like “business hours” or “location.”
  • If you know the extension you’re trying to reach, please enter it now or say the first three letters of the person’s last name.
  • To repeat this menu, press the # key or say “repeat.”
  • The beauty of an interactive voice response system is that you can set your menu items in any way that suits your business. Take advantage of reporting and analytics to track the customer journey and work to continuously improve your customer satisfaction and call center operations by modifying your call flow to improve your results. To learn about top IVR best practices here.

    IVR features can even help customers complete tasks. Businesses like banks can use it to set menu items, such as giving account balances, changing passwords, providing account information and accepting payments.

    IVR system call flow

    Advanced IVR systems are capable of routing callers without being confusing or redundant. Your IVR system call flow should never frustrate callers. Starting from the initial greeting, it begins to interact with your caller using a speech recognition system and making quick decisions based on the voice response from the caller.

    A pre-designed call route map works behind the scenes to guide calls depending on the voice answers. Not only does it provide call routing, it also tracks where the caller goes at each step with each answer. IVR allows businesses to use analytics and reporting to test their voice response call flow and ensure it runs as efficiently as possible and provides the best customer experience. This means that calls are getting where they need to go without redundant and annoying questions that frustrate your callers.

    Your business can have several versions of an IVR phone menu. You can have one IVR system that maps out and routes calls during business hours with the option to speak to a person. You can also create an after-hours IVR phone system so that customers can call even in the middle of the night and still receive the information they need, like account balances.

    Benefits of IVR

    A company uses IVR systems for many reasons, but most stem from creating a better customer experience. Things like decreased wait times, first call resolution, less stressed staff, projecting a professional image and providing a 24/7 self-service option to callers are ways IVR systems benefit a company.

    Create a positive customer experience.

    The biggest reason to use IVR software is to increase customer satisfaction. A quick response and call resolution mean better customer service and happy callers who are more likely to turn into repeat customers and advocates, driving more business.

    When a customer calls your business, they will no longer need to wait on hold for a human operator. An IVR system will begin walking them through their choices and routing them to the correct place.

    Each step in the IVR automated phone system has a purpose that gets the customer closer to where they can get the help they need. This results in a good first impression, efficient issue resolution and a decreased chance that they will need to call again.

    Decrease customer wait time.

    Call centers and businesses all naturally have their busy times. Remember, IVR systems can not only route calls but also, in some cases, provide information that gives callers the information they needed. You can create your interactive voice response call flow to address simple customer queries. This is especially helpful during high call volume times.

    First call resolution.

    Ideally, you want to resolve your customer’s issue the first time they call in with no need for another call or follow-up. This is called first call resolution and goes a long way in increasing customer satisfaction ratings. IVR systems help with this. When set up the right way, they allow customers to help themselves with a self-service option or quickly route complex calls to agents who can handle the call the first time. Measuring FCR is a great way to determine if your IVR is set up for optimal performance and if your employees are properly trained to handle complex calls.

    Reduce stress on your staff.

    No more phones ringing off the hook means a more calming environment—one less likely to overwhelm and stress employees. The IVR platform can help employees do their jobs more efficiently, leading to increased job satisfaction. When calls are routed to the correct place, and some simple tasks are handled without involving staff, it takes stress off both employees and callers, while giving you lower operational costs.

    It also gives your employees more time to spend on complicated calls. If the call escalates to something more than they are equipped to handle, they can be confident in the knowledge that they simply follow the same call flow roadmap as the IVR system to get the caller to the person who can help quickly.

    Create a professional image.

    A professional image starts with the first contact point, often over the phone. IVR systems allow a clear and concise greeting, call routing and customers getting the information or agent they need the first time without repeated questions. While IVR was once reserved for enterprise-level businesses, modern technology and services like Ooma Enterprise close the gap and make IVR applications affordable and accessible to companies of all sizes.

    Give your customers 24/7 customer service.

    IVR applications can be employed at any time of the day or night. While IVR systems help your business manage high call volume times, they can also provide self-service options 24/7, making you even more accessible to your customers. You can create an IVR system that provides information and handles simple transactions so callers get service even when an employee isn’t available.

    Customer Testimony image of Country Communications, Toronto Canada

    Better outcomes with Ooma Enterprise VoIP.

    Learn how Country Communications uses Ooma Enterprise to deliver a better customer experience and improve the bottom line for a group of restaurant franchisees with more than 600 locations across North America.

    Who uses interactive voice response?

    Almost any business can benefit from an IVR system. You’ve probably encountered an IVR system with a medical office or hospital. Any company with multiple departments will benefit from the professional image and simple automation that IVR technology provides. IVR systems are particularly popular in banking institutions and call centers.

    Banks and financial institutions commonly use IVR so that even when they are closed, customers can still call to get information and complete simple tasks. The 24/7 availability and simple self-service options, like checking account balances, getting account information and making simple transactions, improve customer experience.

    What does IVR mean in a call center?

    A call center is one of the main places IVR systems are used. They typically deal with a high volume of calls and many departments and agents to direct the calls to. Call centers that use automation make processes simple, reduce confusion and provide callers with a consistent, efficient experience. IVR systems also help your employees be more efficient in the following ways:

    Skill-based routing

    Intelligent questions and intelligent call routing means that call center agents receive calls they are truly equipped to handle. In many cases, the agents in call centers start to get calls of the same nature and can work much quicker and more efficiently without switching tasks with each call. This means that agents don’t get overwhelmed and feel much more energized and productive helping customers.

    Self-service as an option

    IVR can help callers get the information they need and leave without ever having to speak to an employee. This removes the stress from your call center agents and empowers your caller. Callers sometimes want to figure things out on their own, and an interactive voice response that allows them to complete simple tasks without a live agent helps them do just that.

    Automated processes

    IVR systems can share company hours, information about your business, and location. Interactive voice response can also be set up to provide basic troubleshooting tips, activate accounts, access account information, complete small transactions and answer frequently asked questions.

    Customer prioritization

    It’s true that all customers are important, but the nature of business is simply that some are a higher priority than others. An intelligent IVR system can quickly satisfy those callers who find what they need in your self-service options, freeing up time for your agents to spend on those customers with complicated issues.

    If you’re ready to step up your business and take the leap into IVR, Ooma has you covered. IVR work is one of the features in the Ooma Enterprise Call Center Platform. Using this service, Ooma provides extensive reporting, analytics and relevant data to help you monitor and measure the health of your call center and improve your overall performance.

    Upgrade your business communications and explore IVR with Ooma.

    Let’s get started

    Got questions? Give us a call at 866-467-6935 for a free consultation.

    Ooma Enterprise Pricing and Plans

    Design the best solution for your business using one of the following plans.



    Business Telephony


    Per User / Per Month
    • Crystal clear voice
    • 50+ calling features
    • Virtual receptionist
    • Audio meetings
    • Caller info match
    • Text messaging
    • Desktop and mobile app
    • Hot desking
    • Unlimited calling in the U.S., Canada and Mexico
    • White Glove Onboarding
    • Dedicated Customer Success Heroes
    • 24×7 North American-based support
    Most Popular


    Employee Communications
    and Collaboration


    Per User / Per Month
    • Everything in Standard, plus:
    • Video meetings
    • Enhanced text messaging
    • Always-on and ad hoc recording
    • Voice mail transcription
    • Unlimited virtual fax
    • Enhanced call blocking
    • Web-based admin portal
    • CRM integration
    • Business analytics
    • Open API framework
    Best Value

    Call Center

    Intelligent Customer Service


    Per User / Per Month
    • Everything in Enhanced, plus:
    • Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
    • Unlimited call queues
    • Skills-based routing
    • Call backs
    • No answer call forwarding
    • Intelligent reconnect
    • Visual do-it-yourself call flows
    • Advanced real-time reporting and wallboards

    Thank you!

    An Ooma Office Sales Representative will be in touch shortly.


    Ooma Enterprise
    Ooma Enterprise

    UCaaS solutions perfectly tailored for your business.

    We’ll follow-up within one business day.

    We’ll conduct a needs analysis and design a solution built around your requirements.

    A custom quote will be generated.

    Call Sales 877-412-9552
    or  Chat
    By clicking below you expressly agree to and acknowledge the statements set forth in this
    link. By submitting your contact information, you are giving express written consent to receive on your telephone, mobile or other electronic device auto-dialed, pre-recorded, artificial or other automated telemarketing calls or texts (SMS & MMS) from Ooma, its marketing partners, or third parties acting on Ooma’s behalf, even if your number is a on a corporate, state or federal Do Not Call (DNC) list. Carrier fees may apply. Consent is not a condition of purchase. It also indicates that you agree to Ooma’s Privacy Policy.
    Fix error