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Death Of Call Centres Coming

Fluency Voice Technology has unveiled the early findings of its 2006 Consumer Perception Survey into Speech Recognition.

The survey, which was conducted on behalf of Fluency Voice during July and August 2006, captures consumers’ views, experiences, likes and dislikes through a series of face to face interviews by asking consumers to pilot sample transactions using speech, ranging from paying a gas and council tax bill to transferring bank funds.

The survey highlights include the following facts:-

• Almost three quarters (74%) of the sample surveyed have used speech technology.

• 58% of interviewees had used a speech system recently and 88% of those found it easy to use (consistent across age groups, region and gender).

• 69% state that speech recognition has improved with 22% undecided. This number is significantly higher amongst the younger participants with 92% stating that speech recognition has improved.

• 58% of participants positively endorse using speech as an alternative to the Internet for purchasing items. This increases to 66% if the participants could get a better purchasing deal.

• Of the participants who had used speech technology recently (58%), the most common transaction was finding a balance (59%) followed by booking a ticket (43%) and checking train or flight schedules (41%). Over a third has used it to pay a bill or fine (36%).

• When asked their preference for using a virtual speech based system versus waiting in queue to speak to a real agent, more than half (54%) still prefer waiting in a queue to speak to a real agent. However just over a third (37%) of all respondents would prefer speaking to a virtual agent. This is even higher amongst the younger ages - 54%: under 25 years; 50%: 26 to 35 years.

• The main attractions of the speech system are that it will speed things up (65%) and avoid having to wait in a queue (49%).

• Most consumers (80%) would prefer to continue to wait in a queue after 2 minutes than use a speech system. However after 5 minutes this drops to 46% with 54% now happy to use the speech system and after 10 minutes the portion preferring to wait has dropped to 28% with 72% happy to use the speech system.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.