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What is an Interactive Voice Response system (IVR)?

Published in IVR (Interactive voice response)

An IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response system and is the smart brain within any telephony platform.

"Key 1 for the sales department, key 2 for technical support, key 3 ...". This is just one of the many things an IVR is responsible for.

All calls to Belfabriek customers' phone numbers are also handled by our in-house developed IVR.

In this article, you will discover how interactive voice response (IVR) increases caller and colleague satisfaction and how this 'super-smart phone system in the cloud' saves time and money.

What can an IVR do?

An IVR greets callers and helps them to speak to the right person or be helped in some other way as quickly as possible.

To do this, the IVR can use data from the phone call such as: the calling or called number, the day and time of the call or the keys on the phone to make choices.

Furthermore, an IVR can have data such as your company's opening hours or know which employees are available or unavailable.

An IVR also acts as a telephone switchboard: devices can log on to this platform and thus become reachable.

With every incoming call, the IVR first thinks: may I transfer, can I transfer, to whom should I transfer or should I play an announcement or ask something first.

The more advanced IVR systems can also use voice recognition, allowing you to give voice commands to the system. Our IVR is linked to the Google Dialogflow voicebot, which allows you to programme smart voice bots that automatically handle a call. The Google Dialogflow voicebot can understand products and commands on multiple levels, helping customers. Google Dialogflow can also transfer calls.

You often find an IVR system at financial institutions that receive a lot of voice calls. By quickly transferring or automatically handling an incoming call to the right department, money is saved and a high level of customer satisfaction is achieved. An IVR thus reduces disappointment when customers call this financial institution.

Telecom operators and carriers use an IVR for a missed call alert. If a call is not answered then the user receives a text message with a missed call alert with the time of the call.
Many web shops and e-commerce companies also want to set up their own IVR to get automatic routing over incoming calls and no longer depend on SaaS solutions that may or may not do what is expected.

Belfabriek provides an interactive voice response system as its own platform. You can host this IVR in your own data centre on your own servers or opt for a fully managed IVR in our data centre. We provide incoming and outgoing telephony through a SIP trunk.

We give you access to the source code and you can programme it yourself or we program an API for you so that you talk to this API yourself from your software: this choice is yours. We program an IVR exactly as you want it.

If you have many employees in the office, an IVR is an attractive solution. All calls remain local and are handled on your own network and you have full control. So you get exactly what you want, and you also don't have software that does more than that. Your IVR remains stable and meets your exact requirements. This also allows call centres to programme a completely separate IVR platform for multi-level customer support (multi-level IVR).

This may all sound a bit technical and overwhelming, but the examples below show how this works in practice and how companies and organisations from small to large are using these capabilities.

  • Welcoming the caller 
    An IVR can greet your callers with a friendly, pre-recorded message. With a welcome text, the IVR immediately puts the caller at ease. Conversely, for example outside opening hours when no one is available, an IVR can play a message telling the caller when you can be reached or how you can be reached in case of emergency.

  • Transferring the caller to the right employee 
    Callers can be automatically transferred to the right employee. For example, IVR can transfer your callers to the nearest branch entirely automatically, based on the caller's area code or by asking them to enter the digits of the postcode. You can also transfer callers to different departments using an IVR. Here, the caller is presented with a list of choices from which she can choose using the keys on the phone; the familiar "key 1 for...".

    Are all callers answered by one group of colleagues and you want to distribute the work evenly among the available employees? An IVR can do that automatically too. Incoming calls are automatically transferred to the employee who has not had a call for the longest time.

  • Automating telephone customer service 
    When you often have to answer the same questions with the same answer, the IVR offers a solution. Record answers to common questions as recorded messages and offer them via the IVR. After playing this recorded answer, you can still give the caller the option of being put through to a member of staff for further questions via the IVR.

  • Handling high call volumes 
    An IVR can handle an unlimited number of calls simultaneously and puts callers on hold where necessary. If the queue turns out to be too long, you can offer callers the option to leave a voicemail message.

The advantages of an IVR

An IVR offers many more options than a regular PBX does. Whether you use a national or a local number, when you have your phone number connected through Belfabriek, you have access to all these IVR features and much more !

More advantages of an IVR? Why should every entrepreneur use it ?

  • Increase customer satisfaction.
    Because you start the call in the IVR with a friendly welcome message and callers are not transferred more often than necessary, they already come to your employee with a much more positive attitude. When an effective IVR ensures that callers go straight to the right person, callers also get their questions answered faster and problems can be solved immediately. This makes for happy customers and happy colleagues!

  • Works more efficiently 
    When callers are much more likely to be transferred directly to the right employee, it also means colleagues are much less likely to receive questions they don't know the answer to or for which they have to transfer the caller to someone else. This means that everyone can concentrate on their own specialism and develop more in depth.

  • Saves costs and is profitable 
    With a well-designed IVR system, the workload is much lighter for everyone. And because you answer questions and solve problems faster, employees keep more time for other more important things.

  • Strengthen your image 
    Fast customer support on incoming calls through the IVR shows that your company is a professional organisation. You thus inspire the confidence of callers.

Record your phone number now!

Take advantage of your visit to our website to register your own IVR-driven phone number now. Choose online from a large number of available (inter)national phone numbers !

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