May 10, 2020


They say a business is only as good as the service it provides to its customers. Hence, in an increasingly digital world where consumers are more accepting of customer self-service and non-human agents online and by phone, it makes sense for enterprises to automate more of their customer service interactions—particularly with the aid of speech technology. To do otherwise risks frustration and abandonment from clientele seeking speedy help, the experts agree.

Consider that the interactive voice response systems that companies have been using for years now are becoming more conversational with the help of artificial intelligence and speech technology advancements like voice-enabled chatbots. Intelligent virtual assistants can understand human speech in many languages and respond using text-to-speech, allowing customer service to authenticate callers via voice, look up orders, make appointments, accept payments, answer a variety of queries, and more. Speech-to-text voice transcription technology, long used to garner insights into call data, is now being increasingly employed for analytics to better understand customer needs and trends. And more businesses are relying on Natural Language Understanding to review and auto-respond to customer tickets.

These are some of the speech tech innovations that have companies large and small abuzz with excitement in recent years over the prospect of streamlining customer service departments and call centers. But adopting these capabilities may not be easy or inexpensive. Understanding the capabilities, limitations, challenges, and adoption steps required can help organizations choose the right solutions.

I explore this fascinating tech topic in my newest story for Speech Technology magazine, available here.