Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to the appropriate recipient.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, gathers information and routes calls to the appropriate recipient. An IVR system (IVRS) accepts a combination of voice telephone input and touch-tone keypad selection and provides appropriate responses in the form of voice, fax, callback, e-mail and perhaps other media.

An IVR system consists of telephony equipment, software applications, a database and a supporting infrastructure. Common IVR applications include:

  • Bank and stock account balances and transfers
  • Surveys and polls
  • Office call routing
  • Call center forwarding
  • Simple order entry transactions
  • Selective information lookup (movie schedules, etc.)

An IVR application provides pre-recorded voice responses for appropriate situations, keypad signal logic, access to relevant data and, potentially, the ability to record voice input for later handling. Using computer telephony integration (CTI), IVR applications can hand off a call to a human being who can view data related to the caller at a display.

WhatIs.com has a cheatsheet for how to bypass a tech company's IVR and talk to a real person.

This was first published in April 2008

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