Short history of IVR – Interactive Voice Response

June 12, 2015

IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is one of the key elements used by every call and content center allowing agents to save time and handle customer queries a lot better. In a nutshell, IVR makes it possible to give callers interactive options to choose from by selecting numbers on the keypad or saying words or phrases that the system can recognize.

IVR has been out there since the 1960s

While this may feel like a state-of-the-art invention related to the latest computer technology and AI, this is in fact a relatively old concept dating back to pre-internet and pre-VoIP times. IVR technology in its most basic form is actually based on the dual-tone multi-frequency technology developed in the 1960s by Bell System.

The dial mode based on tones allowed the development of phones with a keypad. These keys could be used for other tasks than dialing, while the earlier pulse technology was allowing only dialing.

All-in-one computer telephony solutions now include IVR

In the 1970s, IVR technology started to develop, but the first systems were rather complicated and expensive. In the 1980s, thanks to hardware development, IVR technology became affordable for more companies. But the most significant leap, which defines today’s IVR tools, came from computer telephony integration, where all customer communication related data and voice are integrated into one platform.

Further reading

Looking to learn more about using IVR in call centers? Be sure to visit the following guide:

IVR in the Call Center: Basic Knowledge, Top Benefits and Mistakes to Avoid

Also check out the following solutions that give you full control over what’s possible through an IVR system:

  • Inbound IVR – for engaging callers automatically
  • Outbound IVR – for running fully automated outbound voice campaigns

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