Bringing human intelligence to customer service technology

Customer service is all about helping people. The clue is in the name. But when handling customer phone calls somewhere along the line that basic premise has become buried.

Callers are becoming ever more self-sufficient and demanding instant access to information. Therefore the idea of being put on hold, navigating long menu systems or being redirected is regarded with increasing frustration. So wouldn't it be great to call up your local Council, utility provider or mobile operator and get exactly what you need simply by answering the question, 'how can I help you?'

Well, that vision may become a reality sooner than you think, as all around us speech recognition technology is starting to become a part of every day life. Whether we're asking Siri when our next appointment is, telling our TV to change channels or using the voice control features on our games console; without us even noticing we're increasingly interacting with a diverse range of devices using our voices.

As brands realise that consumers are more confident in using speech technology this enables them to make radical changes to their customer service. Household names are already using this technology as a core part of their customer service delivery. Pioneering brands want to deliver a seamless experience and know that voice can deliver a quicker and more fulfilling experience to consumers than lengthy menu systems.

New rules of engagement

One of the key reasons why more and more companies are implementing voice is down to how mobile communication channels have fundamentally changed the relationship between a brand and its customers. The speed at which people can now access information about products and services has intensified as has the need for immediate unhindered communication.

Acknowledging the value that individuals publicly place on good service has led to companies recognising that to compete effectively, traditional approaches to customer service won't cut it in the digital world.

Applying voice technology

And that is where voice technology is making an impact. It's now an increasingly frequent application in the world of consumer electronics, present in many cars, phones, tablets and PC's. So individuals are no longer stumped if they call up customer services and are greeted by a system that requires them to interact with it verbally. In many cases, if it reduces the time taken to get to the place they want to be, people readily embrace it and enjoy the experience.

Of course, distilling customer service successfully down to 'how can I help you? doesn't just happen by magic. At Eckoh, a great deal of development work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that when customers are open and natural with their spoken questions or requests, the speech recognition system can firstly recognise the query and secondly process it.

As with most technology, the system needs to be taught. In the initial stages of implementation, we use 'hidden' contact centre agents to help a system 'learn' responses it may initially stumble upon. Without the caller knowing, a human agent listens to their spoken response and routes the call correctly using their PC. Bringing this level of human intelligence into the equation helps the system to become smarter, aiding it towards complete independence in a short space of time.

The world of customer service is undergoing a seismic shift and without question, speech technology will be available everywhere. Positive and frequent experiences will increase demand for it and the forward thinking brands are investing in voice controlled technology to capitalise on delivering a great customer experience.

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Posted by eckoh at 11:09 AM on Nov 4, 2015


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