Some people call them IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Others just call them an interactive phone system, and some jokingly call them a “phone maze”. I just updated mine to its third generation. For a large business that has many employees, it’s a mechanism to direct calls to the the proper department or individual, without the expense of 24-hour coverage of human telephone receptionists. For a startup company which initially has very few or even a single employee, it helps to appear to be bigger, and to have the proper structure to be able to grow.
Perhaps at the beginning, the different Sales Department, Accounting Department, and Customer Service Department extension numbers are directed to the same individual. Later, those different extension numbers can be re-assigned to go to independent ones without having to change the front-facing part of the system or even the pre-recorded voices.
The system can also answer frequently-asked questions audibly, without having to waste the time and energy of a human being. This can include the organization’s address, hours of operation or website information. Especially if your company is an audio/video producer, it will stand out much more since the audio quality can be much higher than those available from many phone companies, including Project Fi and Google Voice,
covered in my recent article Review: Project Fi, son of Google Voice.
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