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SYKES Business Process Outsourcing Glossary

Looking to learn a little more about what we do? We've compiled a comprehensive list of common BPO terms and definitions so you can stay in the know.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive voice response (IVR) is an automated phone system commonly used by call centers. When a customer calls, they interact with a pre-recorded menu that offers them options to communicate their reason for calling. Using touch tone and speech recognition technologies, IVR interprets the customer need and offers solutions. For customers who prefer to speak to an agent, IVR systems intelligently route calls to the right agent based on the options they’ve already selected, so they are not faced with having to repeat information or speak to multiple people to reach a resolution.

IVR adds to the customer experience by putting the caller in the driver’s seat, deflecting live agent call volume, and reducing average handle time. Customers are able to choose their preferred method of support — without reducing quality — and can reach their goals without being bogged down by unwanted or unneeded touchpoints. When customers achieve their goals with a lower level of effort, they are far more likely to become loyal customers and recommend that brand to others.

For companies, IVR automatically answers questions or routes calls to the right customer service representative without going through a front desk. Of course, this also ensures that agents serving an unrelated department aren’t attempting to solve a problem before realizing it should have been routed elsewhere. Removing those silos improves both the customer experience and the employee experience.

For more than 40 years, SYKES has diligently sought to hire the best agents and equip them with the tools and technology to make their jobs easier. We’ve implemented personalization engines and recommendation engines that serve as digital IVR systems, so agents and customers reach their goals more effectively.

Our purpose statement of “helping people, one caring interaction at a time” means that a great customer experience is at the forefront of everything we do. We strive to augment our expert agents with innovations, such as IVR, so they can focus on serving their customers with the confidence of knowing that they were the right person to help.