Speech technology ... next generation contact center: Part 1; A vital technology necessary for the survival and prosperity of contact centers.

Author:Tehrani, Nadji
Position:Publisher's Outlook
 
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Innovation Is The Key

Since 1982, when this publication laid the foundation in a pioneering act for the current multibillion dollar customer interaction, contact center and CRM sectors, our industry has been blessed with countless innovations that have kept this industry flourishing and surviving while many others have come and gone. In other words, our industry was blessed enough to have numerous visionaries and competent leaders that helped us to continuously reinvent ourselves and take the industry to the next level.

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Over the last 24 years, we have come from rotary telephones and 3X5 inch index cards in 1982, to sophisticated telecommunications technology, database management, IP contact centers and fully monitored home agents, to sophisticated modern speech technologies.

I recently attended a speech technology conference that reinforced my views about the benefits of the implementation of speech technology in contact centers. More than ever, I am convinced that speech technology will not only enhance the quality of customer care, customer service and CRM (inbound technologies) but also certain parts of outbound contact center projects. Speech technology is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for survival.

I informally interviewed several exhibitors at this conference and always asked the question, "How long does it take before a company will see return on investment?" The unanimous answer was, "A six month ROI is a definite possibility!"

All Major Vendors Were Represented

To name a few, here is an abbreviated listing of some of the major corporations that were offering speech technology solutions for which contact centers, customer interaction centers and CRM centers are the #1 beneficiaries. The companies included such prestigious organizations as Aculab, Aspect Communications, AT & T, Avaya, Brooktrout Technology, Cisco Systems, Convergys, Edify, Envox, Genesys, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel Corporation, Intervoice, Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Nuance, Lumen Vox, ScanSoft, Syntellect, TuVox, Unisys Corporation, Unveil Technologies, VoiceGenie Technologies, SER Solutions and West Corporation. Conventional wisdom dictates that Fortune 500 companies, such as some of those mentioned above, would not even entertain the idea of developing products or solutions for technologies that have less than billions of dollars of market potential. To be sure, speech technology, which has just begun to explode with growth, has now come of age and has attracted global attention not only because of its considerable enhancing capabilities in customer service and customer care, but also because of a tremendous cost savings potential.

Major Cost Savings

Regarding the cost saving aspect of speech technology implementations, during the conference I was able to discuss this matter with several senior executives of companies that offer speech technologies, and the feeling is that the actual savings amount would depend on the application. However, some executives rated the potential for labor savings as high as 85...

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