Creating a Digital Personality with Speech Technology

SpeechTEK 2009 took place alongside CRM Evolution '09; for a look at destinationCRM's complete coverage of both shows, click here.

For all the live-twittering, follow @CRMe09 on Twitter, or see all the tweets under the hashtag #CRMe09.

NEW YORK — We live in an age when every organization not only needs a brand, a personality, and a consistent set of experiences, but also a digital personality, according to Jeffrey Rayport, founder and chairman of Marketspace, LLC, in his Tuesday keynote address here at the combined conferences of CRM Evolution 2009 and SpeechTEK 2009. 

“Most of the interactions we have with new customers out there are actually interactions in which the moments of truth are — nine times out of 10 — delivered by technology or technology-enabling people,” he told the audience, stressing that speech technology can play a significant part in creating what he called a digital personality.

To develop that digital personality, Rayport said, a company must have an understanding of who its customers are, the impact they have on its brands, and the implications this has for speech technologies.

According to Rayport, today’s consumers have available to them an almost infinite selection of brands and products, empowering them to shape the nature of their relationships with companies. Because of this new level of power and control, “companies actually have to care about customer experience,” Rayport said, noting that the growth of consumer technology has forever changed the way people access information and communicate with one another. This trend, he argued, turns speech and contact center technologies into even-more-important tools in managing customer relationships.

“Speech is ready for primetime,” Rayport said, noting that companies cannot rely as heavily on marketing as they once did. “It’s not marketing that’s everything -- it’s your technology that’s everything."

The challenge of our time, Rayport asserted, is putting all these touch points together to create a seamless customer experience. To meet that challenge — utilizing speech technology and other customer touch points to create a digital brand experience -- he enumerated five steps to develop consumer engagement, each of which can involve a speech-technology component:

  1. target the core;
  2. activate the community;
  3. work the Web;
  4. design for occasion; and 
  5. integrate the experience.

“Why aren’t we using voice to target brand and the experience?” Rayport asked, rhetorically. “Every brand must have a digital personality, and voice will lead the way.… Speech is where the emotional connections get made.”


CRM Evolution '09 concluded earlier this week in New York. Full coverage can be found here.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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