The traditional type of IVR services or Interactive Voice Response technology can actually trace its roots back to the late 1930s. Bell Labs created a machine known as The Voder (Voice Operating Demonstrator) which was first unveiled at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. This device could produce a rough approximation of human speech, although it was very limited.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that the technology reached the point of practical use in automated call answering systems. By the 1990s most call centers were implementing some form of computer telephony integration or CTI that used IVR technology to allow the computer and the human caller to interact.
However, this is largely based on the computer providing information in voice form to the caller, then the caller making a selection by pushing a specific number on the keypad. In other words, the technology wasn’t able to understand the spoken word. It could provide the prompts to press the keypad and create the electronic signal it could read.
Within a few years, the technology reached the level where basic human speech could be recognized by the system. Most callers today have experienced IVR services where they spell their names or speak an account number or a choice of options when prompted.
Only Specific Information is Handled by the System
With the traditional or standard IVR services only specific information can be understood and processed by the system. In other words, the caller cannot simply state why they are calling; they have to respond to the prompts given by the system itself.
This may simplify the system compared to an auto attendant since the caller can speak their selection from the menu, but it still requires listening to the full menu. It also means that if the caller’s request isn’t listed on the menu as a specific category it is very likely the caller will push the button to speak to a live operator.
By using a true voice and speech recognition Operator Assistant, these issues can be avoided. These more advanced systems allow the caller to state their needs and the system then makes the connection within menus or lists of possible options.
Fewer Calls to Live Operators
One of the most common problems for a business is the use of traditional IVR services that don’t decrease the call demands on their live operators. Savvy customers simply bypass the system because of the challenges it poses for use. Scrolling through multiple menus gets frustrating, so they immediately request a live operator.
When true voice recognition technology is in place, the demand on live operators will drop immediately. Top providers of this service can set up customized services for a business that can reduce the demand of live operators by up to 50% after just a couple of months of use, freeing up your staff to focus on specific customer needs while the system handles all other routine and self-help types of calls.
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