By Stephanie Ciccarelli
March 29, 2011
Have you ever considered how complicated scripting for a telephone tree can be?
What about the intricacies involved in making your IVR smarter?
I recently read an article written by Leonard Klie in a magazine called CRM (Customer Relationship Management) that explored how far technology has come in terms of personalizing an experience for a caller. Based upon what I read, it may be that this brand of personalization, while well-intentioned, has gone too far!
How does a phone system know what your name is before they've asked? Might an IVR also be able to anticipate the reason why someone a customer who phones in might be calling?
Just how much should an IVR system know and say to a customer prior to the person speaking with a live representative?
Find out more in today's VOX Daily!
Software is only as smart as the data it has access to, and given the number of automated phone systems used by businesses and technologies available, it would appear that the IVR or Interactive Voice Response has developed a mind of its own.
Discerning and acknowledging the identity of the caller, making assumptions about the potential reason for their call, offering additional services and more represent just some of the tools that businesses can employ regarding telephony using today's technologies.
For example, the potential exists that when you place a call that connects with a business, their phone system cross-references your phone number through Automatic Number Identification (ANI) or Caller ID and voilÃ , they have your name or that of the person the number is registered to in some cases without even your having done business with their company.
CRM also reports that ANI data can also be used to alter the language, dialect and accent of an IVR application depending on the geographic region of the country where the call originates from.
While this may be exceptional customer service for customers calling in, there is a substantial cost in having more work done to provide the language options.
For instance if a company already has an English IVR, it could add another 80 percent to the cost to build another language into it. Depending on the potential return on investment, it could make a great deal of sense to pursue this, particularly if the company is in the United States and decides to add Spanish as an option.
For voice talent, building in additional languages and dialects yields a number of great opportunities!
Basic speech synthesis is employed by many businesses to make their customers' encounters with IVRs more personal, however, most people aren't prepared for just how many details are known and revealed to them by the IVR about their account or reasons for calling.
Additionally, using ANI or caller ID could also inadvertently compromise the account holder's information and reveal it to someone else in that household place the call.
Synthetic speech, by its very nature, can also falter in terms of correct pronunciations of a person's name. While not all names are delivered incorrectly, inevitably there will be names that the synthesized voice mangles creating a somewhat undesirable brand experience.
We've talked about synthesized voices before in the framework of Text to Speech but we hadn't evaluated the technology within this technological context in relation to customer service and marketing via Interactive Voice Response.
As voice talent, you know that a custom recording is always more effective and more accurate in terms of delivering a script and applying proper pronunciation, emphasis and cadence.
Whether you're a customer calling in or someone who records for telephony, what kind of things are you noticing in terms of how much a company knows about you before you reach a live person?
Does this make you feel better as a customer or do you feel somewhat uncomfortable?
Take a moment now to share your thoughts and experiences. I look forward to hearing from you!
Â©iStockphoto.com/Dmitriy AseevRelated Topics: Accent, Interactive Voice Response, IVR, phones, synthesized speech, telephony, United States
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