Speech recognition in the 21st century
In the modern era people have become accustomed to having their call answered by an automated IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Menu when they call any large organisation that uses a call centre to answer their inbound calls. The reason why such organisations implement and use this type technology, is to obtain significant improvements in their operational efficiency by having the caller provide information, such as the nature of their query, before their call is connected to a call centre agent. If a caller is able to navigate through a series of options in order to specify the reason for their call, it will save a considerable amount of time when compared to the amount of time it would take a call centre agent to do the same thing live on the call. More recently, this concept has been taken a step further through the introduction of speech recognition to further improve operational efficiency by increasing the amount of information that can be collected before a call is connected.
Speech recognition, also known as voice recognition, works through software that captures the voice of an individual on a telephone call. This data is then processed into an output format (typically text) that can be used by the organisation receiving a call. For example, when dialling into an automated IVR Menu, the caller may be promoted via an audio message to speak their account number, post code, or other information relevant to an account. The speech data that is collected will be processed into text so that the organisation receiving the call can have your details pop up on the screen of the agent that has answered your call. This will save the agent time in obtaining the information required to find your account once they answer your call, and improve the overall efficiency of the call centre.
Speech recognition is not only used to save the time of a call centre agent when a call is connected, but frequently the technology is used to replace call centre agents all together. For example, it is possible to collect and process card payments via an automated system that collects information using speech recognition. If you imagine the size of department that would be required to manually process the payments of a substantial customer base, then it would be easy to recognise the cost saving and efficiency benefits that speech recognition can deliver to a business.