In Defense Of IVR

August, 2016

Badly designed IVR call flows give IVR a bad rap. We put forward a defence.

Badly designed IVR call flows give IVR a bad rap. We all hate being passed through 7 layers of “press 3 to do this, press 4 to do that, press 5 if you are at your wits’ end”. This kind of system can taint our view of IVRs.

But there are some very positive, sensible uses of IVR that play to its strengths and are really appreciated – so we’d like to take a moment to speak in defense of IVR:


Here, at Sytel, we see outbound IVR being used by clients and resellers, and with good reason. If a message is a simple one, what quicker way to get through to a customer quickly than by ringing them up? If the respondent knows you may be calling they are more likely to answer, and if your message needs some kind of feedback from them it’s easy to ask them to ‘press 1 if you agree…’ to ensure they have understood and responded to you. However, even if they don’t answer your call they can listen to their voicemail and can call you back.
Consider how slow the response will be and how few respondents there would be if you tried to and ask the same question by email! Not only that, but by the time you have an answer the moment may be passed. IVR can get you answers – fast!

People friendly

The elderly may balk at having to go online to fill in a form. It may require looking at a tiny screen on a mobile phone or perhaps sitting down at a PC. However, a question asked by an IVR simply requires a digit to be pressed or perhaps speaking an answer. A phone is an interface that we are all familiar with; people don’t see phone calls as high-tech. This translates to less work for the customer and is therefore more likely to be completed.

Sensitive matters

For many people talking to a machine is easier than talking to a real person. If you need to collect some information that is of a sensitive or very personal nature it may be difficult to ask over the phone with a human being. Sytel has examples of users producing both inbound and outbound IVR scripts that allow a respondent to provide an IVR with a response to a difficult question. IVR is discreet.

Time saving

We have also seen great examples that combine automated messages with real live agents. If there is simple information to collect why not let an IVR carry out this section of the task and allow your agents to focus on more complex task?. If necessary, transfer the IVR call back to the agent after the data capture has been carried out. It’s a good way to use agent’s time efficiently.


Are you concerned whether your employees always present the best possible face of your company? You don’t need to worry about your IVR. Once it has been recorded it doesn’t get tired or have a bad day or over-emphasise the wrong word in a phrase and cause some minor confusion. What is recorded stays recorded. IVR is consistent, both in the message and the tone of the message. And if IVR is being used to collect digits – maybe to look up an account number – you can be sure that it won’t mishear or miss a digit. It won’t make the kind of mistakes that humans make.

IVR Design

Want to design a custom form to feed data into a database? You might need to find a software developer to write some code for you to do this. IVR systems (and we’re talking about the best ones here) often allow code-free design of data collection to feed straight into a database. This kind of code free design could allow you to lookup a caller’s CLI, extract some information from a database and collect data from them as they press digits.

So, next time you are looking for a fast, consistent, simple, customer-friendly way of collecting a lot of data quickly, consider what IVR can do for you. It should be a useful tool to keep in contact with your clients, not a barrier to keep them away from you.

What We Offer

Sytel Limited develops and supplies Softdial Contact Center® (SCC), offering multimedia, multichannel, fully blended cloud contact center solutions, for quick and easy deployment by partners offering CCaaS or enterprise users. All Sytel cloud components are secure, resilient and scale seamlessly from 10 agents to 10,000+, whether local, mobile or remote.

  • Flexible Contact Center Platform

    Softdial Contact Center™ – tightly integrated modules, designed to deliver at scale

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    Fully customisable, multi-channel, multi-session workspace

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    Design all user interfaces to individual requirements

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    ‘Swap out’ components and integrate with 3rd party apps

  • World Class Development

    Continuous evolution pushing technical boundaries


Softdial Contact Center™ (SCC) is designed to be flexible, extensible and scalable, integrating with any legacy equipment, and meeting the most complex of requirements.

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    Voice, chat, email, social, etc – fully integrated and blended

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    Work with multiple live contact sessions of any media type

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    Automated, ‘best available’ decisions to blend and balance work load across all media types

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    Design effective automated flows or integrate with 3rd party providers

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    Stored customer contact history, to aid routing and add context to conversations


A complete suite of tools, with unique flexibility to extend and swap out modules to deliver a tailored contact center solution for any environment

  • Softdial One™

    Highly flexible unified web UI for agents, supervisors and administrators

  • Softdial Scripter™

    Create complex process flow scripts for agents, IVR, chatbots and other applications

  • Sytel AI Dialer™

    Best-of-breed predictive dialing under any compliance rules

  • Softdial Pathfinder™

    Precise routing rules for ‘best available’ connection

  • Softdial Media Server™

    Core telephony functions to manage all inbound/ outbound SIP calls

  • Softdial Reporter™ 5

    Fully customisable performance stats, charts and reports, across all channels

  • Softdial Publisher™

    Comprehensive data output to build your own reports

  • Softdial Recording Monitor™

    Audio and screen recording of agent activity to ensure the highest standards

  • Softdial Campaign Manager™

    Comprehensive configuration and control for outbound campaigns

  • Softdial Repository™

    Central storage and configuration of common resources

  • Sytel Global Compliance™

    Flexible ‘no contact’ rules to protect contact center and consumer


Performance and efficiency for a wide range of business applications

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