What is an IVA? Upgrading from IVR to IVA

You’ve heard of the IVR system. 

Interactive voice response is a foundational part of most contact centres and busy calling environments.  

But what about intelligent virtual agents (IVAs)? 

IVAs represent the future of call management, self-service support, and staff empowerment. They handle repetitive and simple actions on behalf of human agents, allowing business leaders to enhance customer experience.  

We’re living in a world where companies and customers alike are growing increasingly comfortable with interactions that involve bots and automated systems. Virtual agents, powered by artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology, feel just as natural to engage with as a smart speaker, or voiceactivated assistant.  

IVAs are key to augmenting customer service staff and unlocking better experiences for customers in the age of digital transformation.  

What is an IVA? 

IVA technology is an evolution of the IVR system intended for routing calls and handling simple tasks. Virtual agents use AI to power speech-enabled or chat environments where customers can solve problems, complete payments, check balances, book appointments, and more 

Modern IVAs can have natural conversations with customers and pull information from a variety of contact centre environments to fulfil requests. 

Although IVA technology has been gradually making its way into the modern business landscape, it has gained significant traction in recent years. The pandemic of 2020 pushed countless brands to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and embrace innovation to deal with increased service demands and new customer expectations. 

The use of IVAs shot up by around 46% in 2020 alone 

Interest in IVA technology isn’t just linked to post-pandemic demands, however. Consumers are becoming more accustomed to conversational AI, with companies like Gartner predicting that speech interfaces will initiate around 70% of self-service activities by 2023. 


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