Speech-enabled Automation for Better Customer Service at Lower Costs

Speech automation in the contact center not only helps by cutting costs by managing all interactions most efficiently; it also helps by providing 24×7 access to fast and efficient customer service. Speech can further reduce the need for inbound customer interaction by proactively contacting the customer with very relevant information in a timely manner – such as the notification of the customer’s prescription to be refilled or a notification of the customer’s credit card payment that is due today.

Speech automation also offers tremendous savings and Return on Investment (ROI) when compared to outsourced offshore agents. According to Datamonitor (as quoted in bizcommunity.com), a contact center in an offshore location, like India, saves Western businesses approximately 25% to 35% per transaction. However, a call serviced through speech automation costs approximately 15% to 25% of the cost of a call handled by an agent in India. Some companies like Lloyd TSB, the UK’s fifth largest bank have discovered that the widespread use and success of its automated speech-enabled phone self-service system has eliminated the need for additional offshore agent capacity.

Speech automation opportunities exist at every stage of the call flow. Automation can be applied with self-service modules after initial recognition of the caller, greeting, intent capture, Identification (ID) & Verification or could be limited to just front-end the calls, recognize the caller, capture intent and route the call to the best available agent. In a highly automated yet personalized scenario, the consumer interactions are completely automated – including inbound and outbound interactions.

Speech-enabled automated customer service and its benefits

Speech-enabled automated customer service and its benefits

Broadly speaking, speech automation impacts operations by reducing agent talk time, by increasing speed of issue resolution and by increasing availability of customer service to 24×7. Additionally, speech automation can also be used to reduce the number of incoming calls with highly relevant and timely, proactively delivered notifications. Up-selling and cross-selling with speech automation has also proven to be extremely effective – but only when it is applied judicially and non-repetitively. Using customer surveys for agents as well as the speech automation application itself can help measure customer satisfaction more frequently and systematically and this survey data can be utilized to further increase customer satisfaction.

In addition to the high incremental impact opportunity with speech automation, several factors such as the wide acceptance of open standards like Voice-XML, the increased number of pre-packaged solution choices and the availability of new deployment options like hosted and managed solutions reduce the time-to-value and make speech automation significantly more attractive compared to the other initiatives.

Customer service managers have many initiatives to choose from to deliver the best customer service at the least possible costs.  Among all these initiatives, speech automation stands out for its high incremental impact and its proven results. A study of speech implementations by Dan Miller of Speech Technology magazine shows that over 80% of speech implementations met or exceeded projections of ROI with an average payback period of about 11 months.


  1. franklin says:



  2. Alex says:


    tnx for info!!…

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