Special Report

Leveraging speech recognition technology in call centers

Speech recognition technology is often used to cut costs, improve customer satisfaction and increase productivity in the call center. Learn more about this up-and-coming call center technology in this special report, where we've outlined the basics of speech recognition technology and what you need to know about speech recognition software for the call center.

Table of contents:

  • What is speech recognition technology
  • Speech recognition benefits
  • Call center speech recognition vendors
  • Using speech recognition technology in the call center

     

     

      What is speech recognition technology  

    Speech recognition is the ability of a machine or program to identify words or phrases in spoken language and natural speech and convert them into a machine-readable format. In the call center, speech recognition software is used to handle incoming customer calls. According to Donna Fluss, some advanced interactive voice response (IVR) systems use speech recognition technology to allow customers to interact with the system by speaking instead of pushing buttons. Beyond IVR systems, some popular call center speech recognition applications are call routing, speech-to-text, voice dialing and voice search.

    One thing to note is that "voice recognition" and "speech recognition" are often used interchangeably, but they both mean different things. Voice recognition refers to a type of technology that is used to identify a particular individual's voice.

     

      Speech recognition benefits  

    Speech recognition systems can help companies lower costs and automate the handling of 40-85 percent of incoming customer calls, says Fluss. Some companies credit speech recognition paired with an IVR system for improving service quality, since the automated system can be available even when call center agents are not. More and more outbound call centers have begun using IVR/speech recognition systems to improve their effectiveness, especially collections and sales organizations.

    In addition, Speech recognition tools have been found to increase the effectiveness of IVR-based surveys. According to Fluss, many customers find it to be a more comfortable interface for taking a survey.

     

      Call center speech recognition vendors  

    Donna Fluss says the following speech recognition vendors who offer widely-used call center speech recognition products:

     

  • Nuance
  • Microsoft
  • IBM
  • Loquendo

    Visit the SearchCRM.com call center suite product directory for more vendors who provide speech recognition or other call center technologies.

     

      Using speech recognition technology in the call center  

    Many companies have had success using speech recognition technology, and learning from their experiences can be helpful for organizations just starting out with speech recognition. For example, one telecom is using speech recognition technology to improve customer service in a blended self-service/live agent environment. The system leveraged the company's knowledge base of FAQs and now routes callers to one of 35 self-service modules based on their needs recognized by the speech recognition system during the call.

    For organizations looking to learn more about speech recognition technology or even create their own system, Lori Bocklund recommends joining up with a speech recognition user group of a speech recognition vendor or getting involved with AVIOS (Applied Voice Input/Output Society), an organization that focuses on speech technologies.

     

     

      Additional speech recognition resources  

     

     

  • Read about how speech recognition applications are being integrated into the call center.

     

  • Learn how anger management software uses speech recognition technology.

This was first published in May 2009

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