770 — Royal Mail automates a million calls/year using natural language speech portal

Aug 13, 2003 | Conteúdos Em Ingles

Royal Mail (RM) reported today that it has “dramatically reduced” call handling costs for its Track & Trace (T&T) letter and packet tracking service by investing in an Aspect speech portal embedded with Nuance ASR technology. The speech portal currently handles around 80,000 enquiries a month, putting it on track to handle a million calls in its first year of operation. According to RM, this represents around half of all customer calls to the T&T service.

By automating a million calls a year that were previously handled by Customer Service Advisors, the speech portal is expected to reduce T&T call handling costs by around 25 per cent.

The speech portal was designed and implemented by Aspect Communications and uses version 6.0 of Aspect’s Customer Self Service (CSS) software as well as natural language speech recognition technology from Nuance Communications.

The T&T service enables members of the public and business customers to find out the delivery status of letters and small parcels sent via Royal Mail’s Special Delivery services both domestically and internationally (for example, whether items are being processed at the initial mail processing centre, in transit, being held for collection – as well as the time and date that items were delivered).

T&T was first introduced as a ‘live Advisor’ service in 1993 and extended in the late 90s when a self-service web version was introduced. The new speech portal bolts on to these T&T web servers, making use of the same database resources.

To find out the delivery status of Special Delivery items using the speech portal, customers dial the T&T service on a local rate 0845 number that can be found on all receipts. An automated greeting asks them to speak a unique thirteen digit alphanumeric number printed on their receipts. This tracking number is then passed to the T&T web interface, which assesses delivery status and reads back status details to customers.

This application has allowed RM to re-deploy a third of its T&T customer service advisors to other campaigns and to set up a dedicated call handling team for postcode inquiries. RM has also increased the number of advisors handling email queries (mainly received via its web site).

According to RM, only an estimated 10 per cent of calls are transferred to live agents because callers wish to avoid the Self Service system.

Filipe Samora

Em Foco – Empresa