Cheap Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Software | Compare Costs and Options
Interactive voice response, or IVR, software, is a key component of how many businesses now manage incoming calls. The cost of these systems is largely determined by whether you opt for a hosted solution, or if you decide to host your IVR software locally. The size of the system and adding more users to the IVR will also increase your cost. Pricing is typically assessed per “port”, which is a way of saying a single active connection on the system. So the more callers you can have in your system at a single time, the greater the cost will be. IVR support multiple industries, including:
- Inbound Contact Centers
- Outbound Contact Centers
- Debt Collection Agencies
- Enterprise Call Centers
- Help Desk Support
- Fundraising Agencies
Every IVR system is different, and the more complex you need your system to be, the more your initial start-up cost may end up being. The consultation fee involved in developing a new IVR system for a business is often one of the largest costs in the process, and this will climb based on the complexity of the required solution.
What is Interactive Voice Response Software?
If you’ve ever called into a business and been told to “Press 1 for …”, then you’ve been involved in an IVR system of some type. Of course, these systems have grown in complexity and capabilities over the years, and now offer a very effective way for companies to manage incoming calls.
First, an IVR system can offer a way to provide a great deal of information to customers without the customer ever having to speak to a representative directly. This can be as simple as pressing a button to get a store’s hours, or as complex as the systems used by telephone banking services that allow customers to obtain banking information using the IVR system.
Modern systems often also incorporate speech recognition. This gives callers the option to simply say what they need rather than waiting for a long list of options and then having to punch in the accompanying code. Speech recognition often improves the customer experience, but typically comes at an increased cost to the company installing the IVR software.
What to Look for in Low-Cost Interactive Voice Response Systems?
The first thing to decide when purchasing this type of system is whether or not you are going to host it internally or take advantage of an externally hosted service. Internal hosting often offers you more flexibility, security, and customization ability, something which might be suitable for a large company with a high need for security and a very robust internal IT department and infrastructure. On the other hand, for small businesses that want IVR services but don’t have the internal capabilities to manage a system internally, a hosted solution offers the perfect compromise, and much more economical pricing.
- Auto-Attendant and Call Routing Features
- Data Collection
- Phone Survey Tools
- Text to Speech
- Multi Questions Surveys
- Easy ‘Do Not Call’ Set-Up
As already discussed, speech recognition is a key feature that can greatly improve the IVR experience and is a feature worth looking for if you can find it offered by a low-cost provider. However, there is a different, but related feature that is also worth keeping an eye out for if you want your customers to be able to obtain personal account information by accessing your IVR system. This is the text-to-speech feature. With this feature, once customers enter a password or other account identifier, the IVR system can actually access information from a database and playback the requested information to the caller without having to have the exact response pre-recorded. This is similar, once again, to how banks might provide an account balance based on navigation through an IVR menu.
Always look for a company that is willing to offer you a demo of their system before you sign up for a contract. Even if you think you’ve found a low-priced option that can’t be beaten, if they’re not willing to stand behind their product by offering a free demo, you should proceed with caution.
Bargain Interactive Voice Response Companies with Discounted Prices?
Both of these options specialize in cheap hosted services. Given that this is now the clear winner when it comes to customers who are looking for a bargain on their IVR pricing, this is the most common model on the marketplace. If you have a need to host your system internally, your best bet is to look for a local provider that specializes in IVR in your region, so you can work with them to develop an on-site solution at your place of business.
Five9: One of the best features of Five9 is the easy to use system that allows you to design and restructure your IVR menu. Drag and drop interfaces make it easy for people with no experience with IVR to develop a detailed and complex system in a relatively short period of time. Additionally, there are service agents available 24/7 who are ready to assist if clients ever encounter an issue with their IVR system.
Plum Voice: Plum Voice is a provider that specializes in working with large-scale call center clients, meaning their software is powerful enough to handle even very complex IVR scenarios. With redundant backups, they pledge 100% uptime, which is something that you could never guarantee with an internally hosted system, so your customers will always have access to the information that they need to access through your menu.
These systems demonstrate two different ends of the IVR spectrum. One is geared towards easy to use solutions for smaller businesses, while the other is tilted towards the enterprise end of the industry. These provide you with just a sampling of what is available, and further research should provide numerous options that you can try in order to find the best deal possible for your company.