• July 21, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Global Routing Via Speech Recognition

Following the industry trend of replacing dual tone multifrequency (DTMF) with speech recognition technologies, MCI has launched its Global Enhanced Call Routing (GECR) service to allow companies to accept, forward, and route contact center calls from their customers internationally. In addition, the network-based solution comes equipped with a speech recognition platform to improve call resolution and increase customer satisfaction. The offering is targeted to enterprises and government organizations with multicountry contact centers, and is designed to save money via an organization's infrastructure budget by replacing more costly, premise-based IVR solutions.

GECR accomplishes this by decreasing the number of systems an enterprise's IT department needs to manage. In addition, MCI has provided feature enhancements that some on-premise solutions lack, such as built-in redundancy, flexibility, and country-to-country routing. Also, the new solution saves money by changing the economic business model from a capital investment to a pay-as-you-go solution, according to the company. "Global ECR gives multinational corporations the flexibility to establish contact centers where it makes the most economic and strategic sense, while maintaining the ability to respond quickly to international calls," says Nancy Gofus, senior vice president of MCI IP Services.

Callers will hear prerecorded messages, select prompts, and enter specific information via touch-tone or speech recognition. Additionally, they'll have calls routed to the appropriate agent based on subject matter, time of day, customer request, and other criteria. To sustain international business language requirements, MCI GECR is multilingual, supporting British English, Dutch, French, and German via menu prompts and message announcements. Additional languages are supported based on business needs. Callers can hear and respond to menu options in their native language, and receive information in local currency denominations. GECR also supports invoicing and reporting in multiple languages and currencies, based on business preferences.

The move makes sense for MCI, given current trends in the call center market, according to Sheila McGee-Smith, president and principal analyst of McGee-Smith Analytics. With the increasing number of call center outsourcing locations and providers, GECR enables MCI's existing customers "who are presumably opening sites overseas to extend their services to these sites," she says. "By adding speech recognition to a networked-based platform, it's another sign of speech recognition replacing DTMF. It's a nicer application for the customer. You can do things with speech recognition solutions that enable you to avoid all those menu trees that come with DTMF."

In addition, McGee-Smith contends the increasing popularity of multilingual speech recognition solutions combined with call routing will alter the IT manager's make-or-buy decision when it comes to selecting a speech recognition solution, such as MCI's, or building and customizing one in-house. "What IT manager wants to get up one morning and say, 'Let's build and install a speech recognition application through nine countries in six languages.' The chances of that happening are going to go down. That's a very expensive and time-consuming process, even given the solid ROI numbers that usually come with speech recognition."

Related articles:
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Consolidated Help Desks Must Offer Support in Multiple Languages

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