Improving the self-service call experience


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Every caller to a speech application has his or her own individual set of aural, speech, hand-eye coordination (as used in DTMF keypad entry) and material comprehension skills. Add to this environmental variables such as background noise, poor mobile phone signals and caller distraction, and it becomes clear that each call to the IVR system is truly a unique interaction.

This is one of the main reasons human operators are so good at handling any type of call – they can handle the dynamics of human conversation intuitively and with ease. Callers know this all too well and will often opt for an agent the first time the speech system fails to be productive for them.

To the extent that the speech application can monitor and adjust to the behavior of a particular caller during the call (an adaptive approach), a proportionate number of automated calls can be more efficient and productive.

Based on production metrics gathered at various installations, Figure 1 illustrates the relationships between average call length, the number of script levels and the effectiveness of Adaptive Technology at optimizing the call process. These data indicate improvements in the Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Handle Rate (AHR), IVR Utilization (IVR turns per call) and Caller Input Error Rates.

Adaptive Audio Performance Graph

With call centers, enterprise IT departments and ASR-based hosting centers recognizing the economic benefits of automated calls versus using an agent, the trend is towards longer, more complex and information-rich speech applications.

Enabling technologies such as the web-centric IVR, speech-enabled dialogs, natural language understanding and customer-directed dialogs serve to help further this trend.

With this increased caller interaction, leveraging the benefits of Adaptive Technology for the IVR offers several direct and indirect benefits including increased operational efficiencies, reduced operational costs, increased customer satisfaction and a very short and verifiable ROI and payback period. Thus, the use of adaptive technologies makes good business sense from the point of view of the customer and the enterprise.

Adaptive Audio and VUI Cloud from Interactive Digital, ( allows any voice application to become adaptive to the user in this manner. The technology automatically learns caller behavior in real time then delivers a personalized and more productive and efficient call experience. To download a free copy of the White Paper containing more detailed results on the case studies cited in this article, click

Daniel O'Sullivan
CEO, innovator and technologist in software engineering and product development. Created and implemented Adaptive Technology and Fastrack Software products that have optimized over 1.5 Billion self-service phone calls worldwide and saved clients over $100M to date. Electrical Engineering undergrad with a Masters in Computer Science. Lucent/Bell Labs alumni. Winner of worldwide eco-design project and received several patents. Currently CEO of Software Technology Partners.Focus: Business Development, Technology Partnering, Mobile, Web and Cloud Technologies and Human-Computer Interaction.


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