DTMF decoding and speech recognition are used to interpret the caller's response to voice prompts. DTMF tones are entered via the telephone keypad.
Other technologies include using text-to-speech (TTS) to speak complex and dynamic information, such as e-mails, news reports or weather information. IVR technology is also being introduced into automobile systems for hands-free operation.
Banking institutions are reliant on IVR systems for customer engagement and to extend business hours to a 24/7 operation. Telephone banking allows customers to check balances and transaction histories as well as to make payments and transfers. As online channels have emerged, banking customer satisfaction has decreased.
IVR systems are used by pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations to conduct clinical trials and manage the large volumes of data generated. The caller will respond to questions in their preferred language and their responses will be logged into a database and possibly recorded at the same time to confirm authenticity. Applications include patient randomization and drug supply management. They are also used in recording patient diaries and questionnaires.
Some of the largest installed IVR platforms are used for televoting on television game shows, such as Pop Idol and Big Brother, which can generate enormous call spikes. The network provider will often deploy call gapping in the PSTN to prevent network overload. IVR may also be used by survey organizations to ask more sensitive questions where the investigators are concerned that a respondent might feel less comfortable providing these answers to a human interlocutor (such as questions about drug use or sexual behavior). In some cases, an IVR system can be used in the same survey in conjunction with a human interviewer.