Disruptive Technology – How Siri has Changed Call Center Automation


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Disruptive technology is not a breakthrough innovation. Though, it does make good products a lot better — transforming what was historically so expensive and complicated that only a few people had access to it and making it affordable and accessible to a larger population.

Think back to the first mainframe computer. It cost millions of dollars to buy and it took years of specialized training to operate it. Only the largest corporations and universities had the luxury of owning one.

A few years, a few bright minds, and a few disruptive technology revolutions later, voilà — the desktop PC is available to the masses. Then came the laptop, the tablet and the smartphone, which has brought technology to even the remotest corners of the world.

One of the latest trends to dominate the market is Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface), an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator that works as an application for Apple’s iOS. The application uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations and perform actions.

What Does this Mean to Call Centers?

Consumer technology is changing the customer experience landscape for enterprise contact centers. Your standard inbound automation may not be good enough anymore. Consumers are expecting a “Siri-like” experience – a natural-sounding conversation when they call their service providers. So what are you doing to make your inbound speech experience better?

Did You Say “Egg Freckles?”

  1. A famous Doonesbury cartoon from 1993 shows Mike using the handwriting recognition feature on his PDA with hilarious results. Don’t risk an “Egg Freckles” experience with your call center automation.If you are still using DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency, or touch tone) IVRs (interactive voice response), look at the business case around using ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition). If you don’t know where to start, email me.
  2. If you are using ASR, is it conversational? Are you able to ask open-ended questions? Do you ever have to repeat questions to your consumers?
  3. And, if you are deploying a conversational ASR, consider taking it up a notch and deploy silent guides to improve your IVR containment, opt-out and completion rates.

PCs, PDAs, Smartphone, Siri. What do these disruptive technologies have in common? They’re personal and customized to the user. Do the same with your call center automation and you can’t go wrong.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mary Cook
Mary Cook, Director of Contact Center Solutions for Varolii Corporation, provides companies with operational, contact center and CRM consulting services. Prior to Varolii, she was a principal at The Call Center Intelligence Agency, providing expertise and interim management services for worldwide contact center operations for clients within the entertainment, communications, financial services, consumer product and service provider industries. Prior to that, she spent 10 years managing contact center operations for iQor, AFNI, Kuehne + Nagel and FTD.


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