IVR Myths Busted #3: Some Tasks Are Too Complex to be Automated in an IVR System

IVR Myths Busted #3: Some Tasks Are Too Complex to be Automated in an IVR System

Is there a task that you automatically send to the call center agents because you think your IVR system can’t handle it? If so, you’re missing an opportunity to increase your IVR system utilization and ROI. This is the final in a series of articles that breaks down popular myths associated with IVR systems and offers tips for increasing utilization. Our first article addresses the myth that there is no standard formula for measuring IVR system utilization. Our second article explores the connection between IVR system utilization and customer satisfaction. Now we take a look at the type of tasks that can be automated by an IVR system. 

It’s not unusual for businesses to assume that some tasks must be handled by a live customer service agent because they are simply too complex to be automated within an IVR system. If their IVR system vendor doesn’t tell them otherwise, businesses don’t bother putting their system to the test.  Some examples include:

  1. Address update or moving notification
  2. Email address capture
  3. Alphanumeric accounts recognition
  4. Selecting from a large list
  5. Tasks that require many data collection steps

The truth is that even the most difficult task can be automated. And processing even a fraction of those calls through the IVR system can result in big savings. Take, for example, a change of address. Over a three-year period, a large retail department store processed 2 million address changes. Every one of these requests being fulfilled went to a live customer service agent. After adding this task to their IVR system, 25% of the calls were automated. That’s 250,000 calls a year that were prevented from going to the call center, an average savings of $500,000 per year.

Don’t put limitations on what your IVR system is capable of automating. Consider these real-world examples of tasks that have been automated in an IVR system by USAN:

  1. Alphanumeric accounts and data capture in an automated IVR
  2. Credit limit increases and credit applications
  3. Stock Portfolio Management
  4. Personal Banking with many accounts and account types per profile


The sky is truly the limit when it comes to what you can automate in your IVR application. The more you automate, the more you increase IVR system utilization. If you’d like to learn more about increasing IVR system utilization, download Five Ways IVR Systems Fail: How to optimize IVR utilization to boost ROI while improving overall customer satisfaction.

Also read the other articles in our IVR Myths Busted series: