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Voice and speech technology gaining credibility

Merri Mack, Voice&Data

With voice being recognised now as the second most accurate form of biometrics for security after the iris, both voice and speech recognition technologies are gaining in credibility for a number of new applications.

VeCommerce has developed voice biometric and voice self-service systems that focus on caller identification and verification solutions. Stephen Lewis, general manager, business consulting at VeCommerce said that voice has 100 different characteristics and is more reliable than fingerprint biometrics for example.

Australian Health Manngement is using voice biometrics, likewise one of the largest banks in Australia while other big banks here are trialling it.

Telstra’s voice to text conversion system based on the UK company SpinVox technology is also proving popular. Now in English, French, German and Spanish with Mandarin and Hindi to follow this year, it’s a convenient and effective way of receiving voice mails.

An independent survey conducted by callcentres.net into speech recognition customer experience identified key future trends for the technology found its not just generation Y embracing the technology for their customer service requirements.

The key findings from the research included:

  • Customer satisfaction levels with using a speech recognition system are high and the satisfaction level is statistically significantly higher than in 2005.
  • The

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  • majority of customers would rather use a speech recognition system than wait on hold for more than 30 seconds to speak to a customer service representative.
  • The majority of customers would rather use speech recognition to contact customer service than use web chat, SMS, email, the internet or a traditional IVR system.
  • Those who choose to use a speech recognition system do so because they find speech is easy to use and understand and it provides a quick transaction process.
  • The majority of customers stated that the speech recognition system they used required no improvements and they were happy with it as it currently operated.
  • In addition to improved customer satisfaction the callcentres.net research revealed a number of trends relating to customer use and interaction with speech recognition services between the generations and genders.

Speaking of these trends at a recent Nuance seminar, Dr. Catriona Wallace, Director, callcentres.net said, “Confidence has emerged as a key factor influencing satisfaction with speech recognition. The research shows that frequent users of speech technology have a statistically significantly higher level of satisfaction with the experience than new or inexperienced users. It’s also interesting to note that while men are more willing to try speech recognition, its women who are more likely to become real advocates of the experience once they’ve used it.”

“Another, perhaps surprising trend, is that Generation X (30-40 years of age) are more likely than Generation Y (Under 30 years) and baby boomers (41-62 years of age) to use speech recognition to handle their entire transaction, without speaking to a customer service representative (CSR). Less surprising is that Baby Boomers are statistically significantly more likely than other generations to use a speech recognition system to have their call directed to a customer service representative,” said Wallace.

Wallace continued, “Generation Y is very important for businesses to consider as they are the most powerful and influential consumer group there has been to-date. They also want to interact with businesses in different ways to older generations.”

Peter Chidiac, managing director, Nuance Communications, Australia and New Zealand, commented, “We’re understandably very pleased with the research that validates the fact that speech recognition meets customer demands and drives improved customer satisfaction.”