The Best IVR Software for 2024: Understand Your Options
By Veronika Bučková
| 30. April 2024 |
Call Center, Features
By V. BučkováVeronika Bučková
| 30 Apr 2024 |
Call Center, Features
    By V. BučkováVeronika Bučková
    | 30 Apr 2024
    Call Center, Features

    Best IVR Software to Efficiently Resolve Customer Queries

    The global IVR software market was worth over $4.5 billion in 2023. Just under two thirds of companies that use IVR solutions are large enterprises. Thanks to the advent of reliable cloud-based tools, however, it’s now easier than ever for small and medium-sized companies to implement their own IVR.

    We’re going to explore the main benefits of using an IVR system, key features to look out for when choosing one for your business, and wrap up with a handy list of some of the top IVR providers operating in the market today.

    Key takeaways:

    • IVR systems enable you to streamline your workflows and deliver a better customer experience by directing callers to the right agents faster.
    • Modern IVR tools that leverage the capabilities of AI are much more sophisticated than traditional systems and can introduce extra self-service elements.
    • You can integrate an IVR with your CRM to create seamless interactions throughout the customer journey.

    What is IVR?

    Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology companies use to help manage customer calls. It presents customers with a menu of options which they choose from using voice responses or the keypad on their phones.

    IVR menus continue to lead the customer through an option tree until one of two things happens: 

    • If the query is relatively straightforward, the customer may be able to resolve it themselves via a pre-recorded self-service option. 
    • Otherwise, the IVR connects the customer with an appropriate agent and routes the call to them.
    Image Source: https://action.ai/the-demise-of-ivr-and-the-future-of-voice/

    What Are the Benefits of Using IVR Software?

    Putting a dedicated IVR solution in place has the potential to transform your customer service offering. 

    Here are just a few of the IVR software benefits:

    #1 Streamline Calls Across the Customer Journey

    Your customers expect you to resolve their queries quickly and efficiently. Ideally, the first agent they talk to should always be able to help. No-one wants to be re-routed to multiple agents, having to explain their issue over and over again. 

    You can tailor IVR software to match each query to the right agent, based on things like the nature of the customer’s issue and the agent’s skill sets. This is a key factor in improving the customer experience, since it ensures more of your customers get the right support the first time.

    #2 Provide 24/7 Self-Service

    Staffing a call center 24 hours a day, seven days a week is possible, but expensive.     It’s probably not a sensible idea if your customers are mostly located in the same time zone. You won’t get many calls in the middle of the night or at other unsociable hours.

    That said, not all customers are able or willing to call during standard office hours. Traditionally, this poses something of a dilemma. How do you offer out-of-hours support that doesn’t cost the Earth?

    Again, IVR comes to the rescue. Although some more complex queries will always need the human touch to resolve, many issues are fairly straightforward and lend themselves to automated, IVR self-service solutions. 

    With IVR, your customers can call up at any time of the day or night and resolve their queries independently.

    #3 Give Better Access to Information for Agents

    To achieve this, making sure agents can access all the information they need to help a customer as quickly as possible. 

    The best IVR systems make sure agents have information about each caller even before they start speaking to them. That way, they can hit the ground running and resolve queries faster. 

    Today’s IVR systems often integrate with other tools such as CRM platforms, which enables agents to access a full customer history, so they understand the context of each call.

    #4 Improve Call Metrics

    Image Source: https://www.callcenterhosting.com/blog/guide-call-center-metrics/

    Keeping an eye on call metrics such as call handling and waiting times is crucial in customer service. The right IVR software can have a huge positive impact on them.

    International car rental provider DiscoverCars was facing a number of challenges. The customer service team was struggling to manage high call volumes and customer satisfaction scores were low.

    CloudTalk turned out to be the answer. It had a transformative effect on several key metrics including:

    • Customer satisfaction grew up by 15%
    • Waiting time dropped by 80% 
    • Call handling time decreased by 25%
    • Call abandonment rate was reduced by 20%.

    #5 Reduce Costs Across the Board

    When you put an IVR in place as a front-line service solution, you can do more with less. The number of calls that agents actually have to answer is reduced, since customers can often resolve their own issues using the self-service options.

    And, because call routing is more efficient, it means more queries are resolved faster. All in all, this translates into significant cost savings, as your team can handle a greater volume of calls in the same period of time.

    #6 Strengthen Your Brand Image

    Every interaction with a customer represents an opportunity to reinforce your brand messaging. Often, an IVR will be the first point of contact a customer has with your business. This gives you a chance to showcase your core brand values right from the start.

    Before the customer has even spoken to an agent, you can make a great first impression by making sure your IVR projects the very best image of your company.

    Key IVR Features to Look For

    Here are a few of the most important elements every good IVR system should have:

    Call Flow Designer

    CFD is a tool for designing the journey the IVR provides for callers. You should be able to select different routing options (according to agent availability or skill set) and customize the settings to fit your needs.Designing an efficient options tree to optimize your service offering is key. That means you need your IVR system to have a call flow designer (CFD) that’s easy to operate.

    Skills-Based Routing

    In many call centers, customer service agents’ skill sets vary. For instance, they may have differing amounts of experience or specialize in specific areas.A good IVR system will let you adjust the settings to make sure calls are always routed to an agent with the appropriate skills to help the customer. This is known as skill-based routing and it’s a terrific way of making your service more efficient.

    Caller-Based Routing

    Skill-based routing isn’t the only option though. There are all kinds of ways to arrange your call routing settings and another effective one is caller-based routing.

    As we’ve already noted, modern IVR systems often feature integrations with popular CRM platforms. That means you can get the IVR to route calls using the customer data stored in your CRM.

    VIP Queues

    Do you offer a premium service? You could also choose to prioritize calls according to any specific status you define.

    When a premium customer calls with an issue, the IVR system will establish this call as a higher-priority and switch it into a VIP queue. This way, you can make sure it’s answered quickly.

    Callback

    It’s pretty much inevitable that your agents won’t answer every call straight away, especially when call volumes are unusually high. That means callers may have to queue, but not all of them will have the time (or patience).

    Top-quality IVR systems should, therefore, have a callback feature. This gives callers the option to ask for a callback when an agent becomes available or at a time most convenient for them.

    Your Best IVR Software Alternatives

    Having looked at the features you should be looking for in modern IVR services, it’s time to explore your options. Here’s a run-down of the top IVR software providers in the market:

    #1 CloudTalk

    CloudTalk is a cloud-based business calling solution with built-in IVR functionality. It supports over 35 integrations with popular tools such as HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zendesk, so you can easily leverage all of your customer data to customize call routing. 

    Its AI-driven nature provides highly flexible tools that come with Callback, a Call Flow Designer, and VIP Queues, and more . It also provides up to 20 different routing options, so it’s easy to adapt to your specific business needs.

    Image Source: https://help.cloudtalk.io/en/articles/3669429-call-flow-designer-guide

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Intelligent Call Routing tools optimize service efficiency
    • Callback feature ensures no call goes unanswered
    • Fully customizable solution that works with any call center workflow
    • Intuitive interface means your agents can start operating it with minimal training
    • Reduces average call duration by 40% to improve CX

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    CloudTalk is ideal for mid-sized companies that need a scalable solution that will be able to adapt nimbly as they grow. Its IVR technology is ideal for inbound customer service purposes, and there are also ample features to support outbound sales calls.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #2 Aircall

    Aircall is a business phone system used by over 17,000 companies worldwide. It focuses on speeding up voice-based customer support and sales operations to optimize the customer experience.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Specialist in voice-call technology
    • IVRs can be embedded in other IVRs to expand customer options with multi-level menus
    • Good selection of integrations including Shopify and Salesforce

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Aircall is a good choice for small businesses that rely heavily on phone-based communication, as that’s what it’s designed for. 

    If you need additional video-related features like webinar hosting, you might be better off exploring some alternative options as these are fairly restricted on Aircall. While Aircall does advertise international numbers in 100+ countries, too, that’s significantly fewer than the 160+ offered by CloudTalk. So, make sure to check all the nations you need to serve are covered.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #3 Zendesk Suite

    The Zendesk support suite is a cloud-based customer support platform. It offers a wide range of customer service-focused features including IVR and ticketing software.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Multiple channels for customer support such as phone and chat tools
    • Real-time dashboards give visibility into the call queue
    • Automatic call distribution for intelligent routing

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Zendesk is designed for use by any kind of business. That said, it’s a multichannel solution at its core. 

    So, it could be a good fit if your business connects with customers across multiple channels, but it also means it’s fairly complex to run and a little more expensive than some of the other options on this list. CloudTalk, on the other hand, is designed to be intuitive, so that your teams can start calling in just minutes.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #4 Talkdesk

    Another multichannel solution is the one offered by Talkdesk. It provides support for customer service by phone, chat, email, and via social media accounts. Its phone offering includes IVR software features.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Skills-based call routing matches customers with the right agent
    • Real-time monitoring of calls to track agent performance
    • Screen recording feature for video calls

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Talkdesk works well for businesses of all sizes looking for a multichannel contact center solution. It doesn’t provide conference calling support, however, so it’s not ideal if that’s a crucial feature for you. 

    Pricing is also a key consideration, as even Talkdesk’s most affordable plan is considerably more expensive than some alternatives on our list.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #5 Genesys Cloud CX

    Then there’s Genesys Cloud CX. This is a cloud-based contact center platform that provides support for voice calls, chat, SMS, and email. Aimed primarily at larger companies, it offers quite a few advanced features including predictive routing and real-time analytics.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Good range of integrations available
    • Predictive routing feature speeds up service delivery
    • Real-time analytics help generate actionable strategic insights

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    At its heart, Genesys Cloud CX is an enterprise solution. The upside is the range of advanced features it offers, but this does mean it’s quite a complicated piece of tech to use. The pricing structure is a little opaque as well, so unless your business has very complex customer service requirements, a simpler and easier to use solution—like CloudTalk—may be more your line.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #6 JustCall

    Justcall is a cloud-based phone platform that offers a streamlined communications product. It includes an IVR system for inbound calls and an auto dialer for outbound sales to help streamline your workflows.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • IVR teams with Automatic Call Distribution technology to enable intelligent call routing
    • Conference calling feature lets agents access help from supervisors easily
    • Simple set up and straightforward configuration

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Justcall is one of the more budget-friendly options, but that does mean it’s not quite as feature-rich as some of its competitors. Still, it’s a perfectly adequate solution for small and medium-sized companies that only need the basics done well.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #7 Nextiva

    Nextiva’s VoIP solution is generally considered one of the easiest to set up and use, which is one reason it currently services over 100,000 customers. Its contact center software lets you interact with customers over voice, email, chat, SMS, or social channels.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Auto-transcription feature saves time during post-call analysis
    • IVR’s Smart Attendant function creates more personalized customer experiences
    • Customizable call flow builder for straightforward option tree design

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Nextiva is a good option for any business that needs a reliable multichannel communications system. Be sure to check the integration suite, though, as the range of integrations Nextiva offers isn’t quite as broad as some other providers. CloudTalk, on the other hand, integrates seamlessly with more than 30 different business tools. 

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    #8 RingEX (From RingCentral)

    RingCentral is one of the oldest business telecommunications providers on the market, having made its debut way back in 1999. Its RingEX phone system is designed to boost your company’s productivity by enabling you to build custom workflows and deliver seamless service.

    Key Features & Strengths

    • Wide range of integrations with popular CRM and workflow management tools
    • Smart IVR system allows intelligent call routing
    • Virtual Assistant feature takes notes during calls to support service delivery

    What Type of Business is it Best For?

    RingEX is a robust business phone system that will suit any kind of company. However, users do often complain that the company’s customer support isn’t ideal. Bear in mind, too, that if you want full contact center functionality, with workforce management tools and multichannel support, you’ll need to go for the RingCX product instead.

    Pricing

    Image Source: https://www.cloudtalk.io/blog/the-ultime-call-center-solution-list/

    IVR Software: Your Key to Improving Customer Satisfaction

    Choosing the right IVR system can seem like a challenge at first, but as long as you bear a few key points in mind, finding the right software for your company should be a relatively painless process.

    First, remember that while the IVR price tag is obviously important, it’s not the only factor that should feed into your decision. The product should be the best fit for your business, because you’ll want to have confidence that you can rely on it long term.

    Establish your priorities and objectives first, then select a platform that aligns with them. In order to choose right, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Does it have all the integrations you’ll need as your company grows? 
    • Do you want advanced features so you can upgrade your premium offering? 
    • Do you have specific business goals that require a customized solution? 

    If your chosen solution ticked all the boxes, you found your winner.

    And if you don’t have a favorite yet, Schedule a demo today

    CloudTalk may be just the software you are searching for.

    FAQs

    What Is IVR Software?

    IVR software is automated technology used by businesses to manage high call volumes by intelligently routing callers to agents.

    How Does IVR Software Work?

    An IVR plays a prerecorded message to the caller, presenting them with a range of options. The caller then chooses their preferred option and depending on the response, the IVR might play another menu, route the call through to a customer service agent, or give the caller self-service options.

    Which Businesses Can Benefit From Using IVR?

    Any organization, large or small, that deals with inbound calls on a day-to-day basis can benefit from putting an IVR system in place. IVR solutions are generally customizable, so you can adapt them to suit your own business needs.

    What Is an Example of an IVR System in Action?

    When you call a company’s support line, you often hear an automated message, something like this:
    “Welcome to the Classic Shoe Company. Please select from the following options:
    To place an order, please press 1.
    To ask about an existing order, please press 2.
    For all other inquiries, please press 3.”
    This is an IVR in action. It moves you through a decision tree until it can determine whether to offer you a self-service solution or route you to a live agent.

    How Much Does an IVR Solution Cost?

    There’s no simple answer to this because it depends on how feature-rich the system is. As a general rule, phone solutions with IVR systems cost somewhere in the region of $25-$70 per user, per month. However, top-end solutions can go as high as $220 per user per month, or even more.