Rhetorical and Claritus announced the completion of a joint technology project for British Airways. The partnership has created a new customer service platform which uses a mix of text-to-speech, provided by Rhetorical’s rVoice text-to-speech engine, and voice recognition technology to help customers order the latest British Airways holiday brochures. The system operates 24 hours a day, can handle 1000 calls per hour and has processed around 10,000 requests since the launch of the service in June 2003.
Fulfilling brochure requests has always been a necessary but expensive process. The costs of manning a contact centre with trained staff are significant so it is vital to a business that those staff are employed to resolve customer problems and queries, brochure requests are often a case of form filling which takes time, is repetitive and unrewarding for staff. At a time when the airline industry has suffered a major slump it is important for BA to make the best use of resources, said Paul Coby, chief information officer for BA.
The system has 30 telephony ports and is capable of handling up to 1000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day. The ‘black box’ solution was built by Claritus using the Envox 5.0 software development environment and is hosted by Claritus on a telecoms class Compaq server.