Interactive Voice Response or IVR is an automated telephony system that interacts with human callers through the use of voice and touch-tone keypad selections (DTMF tones). It’s also commonly known as a phone tree.
From a caller’s perspective, an IVR is a common phone menu. To get a bit more technical, an IVR system allows a caller to interact with a back-end telephony system by pressing keys that emit DTMF tones or saying words that are processed by a speech recognition system.
An IVR system understands voice and/or touch-tone keypad inputs and gathers caller information to route a call based on this input. It can also provide callers with information via pre-recorded audio or dynamic text-to-speech functionality.
Traditionally, a full IVR system consists of telephony equipment, software applications, a referential database, and any supporting infrastructure. Newer approaches abstract away this complexity and make building an IVR system quite easy. Twilio’s Programmable Voice API provides a straightforward way to build a custom IVR system with no specialized hardware required. See our IVR Use Case page to see how to to create a cloud-based IVR to intelligently route incoming callers.
IVR systems provide scalability to contact centers without the need for human attendants to answer calls. They enable intelligent, segmented call routing based on the information they gather, allowing for richer call context and faster call resolution. They supply general and account-based information to callers, which can eliminate the need for call transfers and delays.
Get started with Twilio and set up an IVR today. If you'd like to do something custom, feel free to talk through your use case with sales - we have IVR expertise you can lean on. We can't wait to see what you've built.