Computers can help you listen to customers

Using a touch tone phone menu can be an exercise in frustration and take a long time to wade through. I’ve found that speech based systems, that work well, are great. AT&T telephone business customer service using a speech system that enables you to quickly get things you need and its powered by an automated attended that understands simple English.
Recognizing this growing trend to help businesses save time, money and be more efficient many vendors and consultants, including Microsoft have solutions.
With Microsoft(R) Speech Server 2004, retailers can leverage existing IT investments to solve real-world business problems in the area of customer-facing experience and internal operations — whether creating a seamless and personalized shopping experience or improving business operations such as seamless connections to suppliers, enhanced customer service offerings, or in-store point of sale systems.
Some applications for speech are enabling users to reset passwords with no need for a human tech to handle the call.
Password reset can comprise up to 40 percent of calls into a retailer’s IT help desk. Reducing this call volume by handling password reset significantly lowers IT operational costs, enabling users to get their passwords reset immediately via the telephone, and frees up IT staff to focus on higher value-added projects and priorities in their organizations.
“With Gold Systems’ Password Reset, both local and remote users can quickly and easily reset passwords with a simple phone call,” said Steve Stolt, director of product management at Gold Systems. “Password Reset runs on Microsoft Speech Server 2004 and supports integration with Active Directory(R) and other data sources.
Many retailers are also looking to speech technologies and Microsoft Speech Server 2004 to simplify and enhance their call center infrastructure and reduce operating costs by offloading potentially time-consuming, low-value calls to an automated speech system. As with the IT organizations, the retail call center agents that focused on providing customer service via the telephone are freed to focus on more complex customer inquiries, and attend to high-value customers to drive customer satisfaction and increased revenue. As retailers deploy Microsoft Speech Server-based solutions to enable reduced costs in their call centers, Microsoft is doing the same inside its own walls.