Scale Your Contact Center with Inbound IVR

Adding an inbound Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system is the easiest way to scale your contact center capacity. Learn how innovative companies are using their inbound IVRs in new ways.

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Scale Your Contact Center with Inbound IVR

Adding an inbound interactive voice response (IVR) system is the easiest way to scale your contact center capacity. This use case involves building a simple navigation menu for incoming callers. Most often, this system will connect your customers (and potential customers) to what they need. Inbound IVRs allow incoming voice dialers to navigate a phone menu and receive the right information, perform automatic transactions and lookups, and find the right person to help.

An inbound IVR captures user input in the form of decoded DTMF tones or, in modern IVR systems, speech recognition. With some simple web application logic, this lets you supplement your human operators—or bypass them entirely—for common transactions and information requests. With Twilio, your inbound call flow also becomes a branded experience, where you can inject brand values, introduce a special offer, or deliver a custom marketing message while routing customers to their requested destination.

Asking relevant questions to gather more input from your customers before routing them to an agent can drastically increase your inbound call capacity. In some cases, handled entirely without the need to involve a live agent. In fact, Twilio clients have seen the number of fully automated inbound calls increase, on average, from one percent to ten percent after implementing an inbound IVR.

Let’s look at some examples.

Premium Customer Service with Inbound IVR

While preparing to launch Hulu Plus, the premium service's customer support team needed an IVR solution that could scale reliably with the tremendous growth it was expecting. The team selected Twilio for its ease of use and low cost. Now, if all customer support agents are busy when users contact the Hulu Plus toll-free support number, callers are connected to the new cloud API-based IVR system.

The Hulu development team created multiple workflows within the Twilio-powered IVR. First, estimated wait times and queue positions are communicated to the caller. This is followed by custom audio, including music from popular Hulu shows. Callers always have the option to press '1' at any time to schedule a callback. In this scenario, Hulu's CRM will detect when an agent becomes available, and then automatically dial back the caller.

And because Twilio gathers rich metadata for each call that flows through the system, Hulu can track all the critical metrics for its customer support team, including total calls, average call time, and distribution of calls.

IVR for Faster Hiring of Quality Employees

Talkpush has created an entirely new recruitment model with a digital and audio application process that captures and assesses the voices of thousands of job seekers every week. When a candidate applies for a job online, they are prompted to complete an IVR interview. Talkpush records their answers and then provides the recording to employers so they can more fully evaluate candidates. Recruiters can review hundreds of candidates for the role, increasing their capacity fivefold or more.

For the first two years of business, Talkpush hosted their own IVR, running everything on Asterisk and their own hardware. They soon found they needed to move to a more scalable, flexible, and reliable platform—which brought them to Twilio. Talkpush shifted the majority of their volume into a Twilio-powered IVR in less than a month and finished the complete integration in half the time they expected.

Today, Talkpush’s platform and process enable recruiters to conduct up to 400 interviews per day. Since implementing Twilio into their platform, Talkpush has increased the interview volume by four times, reduced the time to hire by over 50%, and cut the average cost per hire by up to 70% for some employers.

Process Orders Automatically with IVR

Schwarz Supply Source is a leading provider of customized supply chain management solutions. Their client list includes Fortune 500 companies and some of the top retail brands in the world. Since some of Schwarz's customers are retailers who need to place offline orders from locations that don't have internet access, the company decided to build an IVR system that allows customers to place orders over the telephone.

They needed an IVR system that could process orders automatically, integrating and leveraging all the capabilities of their existing e-commerce and ERP systems. Streamlining call workflow to ensure a perfect balance of call length, usability, and functionality was also important. In addition, system uptime was a critical metric for Schwartz, especially during periods of peak demand. Twilio's proven track record of uptime and scalability were key factors in the decision to use Twilio APIs.

Even with no telecom experience, the Schwartz web development team built the first demo of their new end-to-end IVR ordering system on Twilio in just eight hours, using free trial credits. After demoing it to several sales and team members internally, they iterated quickly, adding a few more features for customer demos. The production IVR solution is now used across thousands of stores.

Advantages of Building Your IVR Using APIs

Legacy IVR systems come with serious drawbacks: they can require hours, weeks, or sometimes months of expensive consultants, RFPs, and negotiations to make even simple changes, such as updating a phone menu. In contrast, APIs allow you to update your IVR on demand, with full control of your phone tree and routing logic. With APIs, you can create custom greetings, collect speech and DTMF input, and route callers to the best available agent, all with a few clicks—no professional services required.

Want to Learn More?

Read the free e-book, 6 Ways to Reinvent the Customer Experience with IVR, to see how to build an IVR in minutes with Twilio’s visual builder, Studio.

IVR e-book