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IVR phone systems

An IVR or Interactive Voice Response system can route calls automatically and serve as an around-the-clock solution when agents in your contact center aren't available. Sign up for a free trial of Dialpad's unified communications platform to try it out! It takes just a few minutes and you'll be set up with a virtual business phone number too.

What is IVR?

IVR technology is essentially an automated voice system that interacts with your callers, gathers call-specific data, and uses information provided by your callers to route the phone call to the right department or person.

Contact centers and call centers—and even smaller businesses in general—use IVR systems to automatically route inbound calls, saving time for both agents and customers.

How do you set up an IVR in Dialpad?

IVR menus are sometimes called “phone trees” because each option can lead to further options (like the branches of a tree). It’s best to keep things as simple as possible, to avoid confusing or frustrating your callers.

Dialpad makes it easy to customize your IVR menu—you can design a call flow that best suits your business and your customers in minutes, right in your online dashboard. Think about the most common reasons why people call you. Look at data from previous interactions, identify FAQs, and program your IVR to provide the answers.

To do this:

  1. Go to Admin Settings > Departments
  2. Click Business Hours & Call Handling > Call Routing, then select Edit Call Routing
  3. From there, you can choose to route calls to your agents, or alternatives like routing to voicemail, a prerecorded message, or an automated menu

Once that's done, you’ll have a fully automated contact center IVR that can guide your callers!

💸 Interested in IVR system pricing?

Dialpad's pricing plans are cost-effective—and all Talk plans come with auto attendant and IVR features!

More than an IVR system

Dialpad isn't just a business phone system. Here are just a few of the unified communications features you'll get:

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Easy call routing

One of the most important things to look for in an IVR tool is something that's easy to use. Can you route calls to anyone in your company, change the pre-set rules on your own, and make sure callers are always sent to the right place—without having to contact a tech support team or wait for them to implement the changes? Dialpad lets you do exactly that.

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All your communication channels in one place

With Dialpad, you can make phone calls, have video meetings, and send SMS/MMS + instant messages—all from the same beautiful desktop or mobile app. (It also works on web browsers, no downloads needed!)

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Simple call forwarding

Set up a maximum of five call forwarding numbers so that any missed calls go straight to your colleague, cell phone, or any other phone number. It takes just a few clicks from your online dashboard! Never miss a phone call again.

The best IVR system
is built right in

Why pay for (and manage) a separate IVR software when it could be built into your phone system or contact center platform? See how easy it is to set up in Dialpad by booking a product tour!

Why our customers love Dialpad's IVR feature

It lets them provide a consistent customer experience

If your business gets a decent volume of inbound calls on a daily basis, then you probably need an IVR system. It lets your callers take care of basic questions themselves and route themselves to the right people, while minimizing the burden on your agents.

The result? Shorter wait times and lower overall call volume. Your callers feel they’re attended to faster, and your IVR system can deliver answers without a live agent ever getting involved.

📚 Further reading:

Learn more about the use of IVRs in contact centers in this guide from our own contact center leader.

It makes it easier for your customers to get answers outside business hours

The truth is that your customers will try to get in touch with your business on their own time and own schedule—and often, that's outside the usual 9 to 5 hours.

An IVR service can be turned on 24/7, even if you don't have agents on duty at all hours of the day (and night). Sure, the IVR can't answer every single complicated question and sometimes you'll still need a live agent to help, but you're still giving the callers who have more straightforward questions an avenue to get answers through.

With IVR, you can essentially automate huge chunks of the phone experience to make sure that anyone who calls your business is always sent to the right place to resolve their query, with minimal waiting or time spent on hold. (Thanks, callback options!)

That’s one of the biggest reasons why IVR is so important when it comes to improving the customer experience—IVR menus reduce the amount of effort your callers have to put in.

(It also helps that customers these days are used to calling a business and being greeted by IVR software and a list of menu options, not a human operator.)

This way, your business doesn’t need to list a different phone number for every department on your website—it can list just one VoIP number to receive every type of customer call… And still allow them to reach the specific person they need.

How much better would that make your customer experience on the phone?

It lets agents focus on high-value conversations

If your business has a high call volume, this one’s for you. Using IVR software can help you manage your call flow, which in turn allows your contact center to handle a higher real-time call volume effectively.

The more people who call you, the harder it is for your agents to resolve everyone’s issues without being rushed into finding the “quick” answer rather than the right answer. Not great for customer satisfaction.

That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye on your call volume. Which, by the way, you can easily see with Dialpad’s contact center platform, along with your agents’ average speed to answer (basically, are you picking up the phone in a timely manner?):

So, what does this have to do with your IVR? Well, if you notice your contact center team is regularly swamped with calls and customer satisfaction is going down, then you might want to look at adjusting your IVR as a solution.Is your IVR menu working as hard as it can? One way you can try to figure this out is by seeing if your menu options are actually being used by your callers. Which, again, you can see in your Dialpad account.

It removes (or at least minimizes) human error

IVR platforms are, by nature, more accurate than a human would be at their one purpose: directing or transferring calls to the right person or team.

When your callers choose an option from the menu, it’s guaranteed that they’ll always be redirected to the right place thanks to IVR’s foolproof accuracy, whereas a human operator in the same place would be bound to mess up once in a while.

And if they don’t get directed to the right person? It’s more likely that it’s because they entered or said the wrong IVR menu option—not because it’s the IVR’s fault.

(What’s more, having a pre-recorded voice read out all phone menus means there’s no chance that this voice could stumble over a word, or mispronounce anything, or leave long pauses.)

It allows you to go global—while improving your bottom line

Handling more customers while providing a good customer experience naturally leads to, well, more money.

A good IVR system that’s part of a good on-the-phone customer experience can be a key weapon in your customer retention arsenal. Use it!

The other important thing is that with some IVR software, you can record greetings and menus in multiple languages, which makes your contact center—and your business—more accessible to international customers.

And unlike humans, IVR menus don’t need to eat or sleep. When your team is off the clock, your IVR system can still take at least part of your customer calls and answer certain types of questions.

Try Dialpad's IVR solution now for free!

Sign up for a 14-day free trial to take Dialpad for a test drive. It takes just a few minutes (even faster if you sign up with your Gmail or Microsoft 365 account), and you'll be set up with a virtual business number too.

FAQs about IVR systems

What is the cost of an IVR system?

Every IVR service provider's pricing is different, and can range pretty widely. Generally, the most cost-effective way to give your team access to IVR technology is by choosing a business phone system, communications platform, or contact center software that has IVR built in.

These providers are typically SaaS providers, and will charge on a monthly or annual subscription model, which means your upfront costs are drastically reduced.

For example, Dialpad's pricing plans are available in a few tiers, and all of them come with an IVR system included—in addition to other features like unlimited calling and SMS/MMS messaging in the US and Canada, custom voicemail greetings, off-hours routing, and more.

The Enterprise plan even comes with a 100% uptime guarantee.

Just as a rule of thumb, before you make a decision about which IVR platform to choose, look at two things: customer support (do you have to pay extra for it?) and what features are included in each pricing tier. This is where most IVR service providers will charge you extra for basic things if you're not careful.

How does an IVR work?

What are some IVR business use cases?

Are there certain industries that should use IVR?