What is Dual Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF)?

Dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) is a technology used with touch tone phones, best known to users as the sound made when pressing a number key. It signals the phone company that you want to make a call and sends a command to the switch. It does this by sending two tones for every number pushed - one high frequency and one low frequency.

Dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) has an important use in call centers, as many interactive voice response (IVR) systems use dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) as a way for callers to navigate their menus. An IVR is the front end of the phone call that greets the caller and provides him with menu options. By using dual tone multi frequency (DTMF), a caller simply needs to push the number on his keypad that corresponds to the number of the menu option. For example, the IVR might say, "Press 1 for claims," and by pressing one the caller will be connected to a claims representative.

With dual tone multi frequency (DTMF), callers can also key in account numbers or order numbers, which can then be passed to the service agent so she can get a jump start on solving the caller's issue.

Dual tone multi frequency (DTMF) can be effective to use with IVRs when the menu options are straightforward or when the caller needs to enter a long number. Whether or not it's the right solution for a specific call center will depend on their business needs.

How NICE inContact can help

NICE inContact CXone is the market leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world. CXone is a cloud native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – these solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer experiences for companies of all sizes.


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