Speech recognition CRM uptake is increasing – but companies must confirm their objectives and review their options carefully before jumping on that particular bandwagon.
According to recent reports from Dimension Data and Datamonitor, speech recognition will almost always reduce call centre-costs but can easily damage profitability if customer service is degraded.
This, they argue, is primarily because the cost of disgruntled customers will almost always outweigh cost savings.
This lesson has been learned in relation to off-shoring and is equally applicable to speech recognition – if you pay peanuts, you normally get monkeys!
CEO at VoxGen, Simon Loopuit, said, “The cost of customer acquisition has never been higher and this must be taken into account when selecting an automation strategy.
“It is more important to safeguard minimum standards of customer service than to try to shave pennies from the cost of a call.
He added, “The key to effective speech implementation is hitting the right balance. It can never be considered a silver bullet for all business interactions.”
VoxGen believes that there is significant room for improvement in the solutions that are installed today.
Its review of publicly available speech recognition systems suggests that too many systems have concentrated on pure cost savings at the expense of the company’s brand.
Research carried out by Latitude on behalf of VoxGen, suggests that over half of companies in the UK that have deployed speech automation systems believe that the service/solution needs improvement.
Loopuit added, “The moment you open a telephone line to your customers, it becomes part of your multi-channel strategy.
“What is the point in creating a great experience on-line or in person only to lose your customers because of a poor experience on the phone.
He concluded, "Paying a premium for a quality speech recognition deployment will often provide the fastest ROI that a company will ever make.
The key to successful speech recognition can be summarised as The Five P’s:
- Right Problem - simple, repetitive tasks such as caller identification and password reset that don’t rely on inherently human abilities like problem solving and up-selling
- Right Perception - voice must be considered an integrated part of the whole CRM strategy and the workings of the call centre in particular
- Right Practice - applications are designed in the right way, focusing on the customer experience from the start and working with a good understanding of the limitations of ASR technology
- Right Performance – the system must be measured against customer service not simply cost reduction
- Right Pricing - the model aligns the objectives of the business, customer and speech provider
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