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What is interactive voice response (IVR)?

Definition: Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone system technology that allows callers to navigate a menu and access information using voice commands or keypad inputs. 

IVR aims to provide callers with prerecorded messages to their commonly asked questions without the need to speak directly to the agent.

Interactive voice response systems are used in customer support and call centers to automate routine tasks, route calls to appropriate departments, or provide self-service options, reducing wait times and enhancing the overall caller experience.

How does interactive voice response work?

IVR consists of telephony equipment, TCP/IP networks, software applications, and databases for automated customer interactions. 

Here's how the process typically works:

  1. Call initiation: A customer dials a phone number associated with a company's IVR system.
  2. Connection: The call is connected to the IVR system.
  3. Greeting and menu: The IVR system plays a pre-recorded greeting and presents the caller with a menu of options.
  4. User input: The caller interacts with the IVR system by providing input through voice commands or keypad inputs. Modern IVR systems may also incorporate natural language processing (NLP) and speech recognition technology to understand spoken input better.
  5. Call routing or information retrieval: Depending on the caller's input, the IVR system either routes the call to the appropriate department or retrieves the requested information from a connected database and provides it to the caller via pre-recorded or text-to-speech responses.
  6. Additional actions: The IVR system can update customer information, process payments, or schedule appointments.
  7. Call completion: Once the caller's query or request has been addressed, the IVR system prompts the user for additional input or simply ends the call.
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Article FAQs

What is an example of interactive voice response?
An example of IVR is when you call your bank's customer service line, and the system prompts you to enter your account number or select an option like "Press 1 for account balance, 2 for transactions, or 3 to speak to an agent."
What are the different types of Interactive voice response?
Different types of IVR include inbound IVR (handling incoming calls), outbound IVR (initiating automated calls), touch-tone based IVR (using keypad inputs), speech-enabled IVR (using voice commands), and visual IVR (combining voice and visual elements in smartphone apps).

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