1130 — Enterprises should revisit voice self-service applications, the Yankee Group says

Feb 20, 2004 | Conteúdos Em Ingles

Voice self-service applications based on touch-tone, speech recognition, and text-to-speech technologies serve customers are far more cost-effectively than using live agents, the Yankee Group says in a new report, Hosted Speech Applications are Poised for Growth, Increasing Competition and Volatility. In the last 3 years, competition in the voice self-service market has accelerated, and that benefits enterprise buyers, says Art Schoeller, Yankee Group Customer Relationship Management Strategies senior analyst. “Competition is increasing, so enterprises have an advantage in negotiating service-level agreements with prospective hosting providers,” Schoeller says.

Providers in this market range from traditional interactive voice response (IVR) outsourcing firms such as West and First Data, to small startups such as beVocal and TellMe, to IVR platform providers such as Intervoice. In addition, network service providers such as AT&T, Qwest, and others see an opportunity to market voice self-service as an extension of their enhanced 800 services.

The Yankee Group report contains a compelling business case for voice self-service applications. The cost of deploying these applications is an order of magnitude less than the cost of using live agents, Schoeller says. However, without proper design and maintenance, callers find using these applications frustrating, thus mitigating their value to the enterprise.

“Better interface design is key to successfully deploying a cost-effective solution, he adds. Programmers skilled in the design and implementation of voice self-service applications continue to be the critical element in this market, despite industry hype about advances in development tools. Enterprises should negotiate hosting service level agreements with terms and conditions that tie the hosting provider’s revenue with effective application design, deployment, and monitoring.”

Providing voice self-service via a hosted model is not new, but the approach has undergone fundamental shifts in the last 3 years, Schoeller adds. Some of the new developments in the last few years including standards such as VoiceXML are now accelerating and will help this market expand.