Chatting with Siri the other day, I learned that my outfit for the day would not be conducive for the predicted extreme cold, there was an Indian restaurant nearby and that I needed to be very specific when telling her numbers. Of course our conversation was based on Siri’s ability to use speech recognition to determine what I say and produce the most likely response to fit the question or statement.
What happens, however, if my English isn’t as clear as Siri prefers? I already determined that she’s pretty particular about the way I say certain words, especially numbers. As a result, I rarely use her to create a text or email to send to a client as I’m never quite sure what she will produce. Yes, I have the opportunity to cancel the communication before it sends, but then what time am I really saving?
In the call center environment, call recording software is an important tool to capture critical information for data mining, business intelligence, dispute resolution, training purposes and even to demonstrate compliance. When a caller has a heavy accent, however, using the information captured in the call at a later date may be a challenge. Such a complication can hurt internal processes, but what if that heavy accent is on the part of the call center agent?
This reality is not uncommon in the call center industry as many an organization has outsourced its customer service initiatives to offshore service providers in countries where service provision is available at a very low cost. While these agents are thoroughly educated in the activities of the call center, product knowledge and compliance guidelines to work with, they still often have accents that are so thick, they are difficult to understand.
The challenges this presents for call recording software are readily clear, but what about the initial interaction? Does the company run the risk of losing the customer if he or she is frustrated at the lack of clear communications? One Canadian company believes this is such a barrier to success that it is developing software that will automatically regulate and normalize the call center agent’s accent.
To do so, the software picks up the spoken words, filters them and delivers them with more clarity with hardly any delay. It can also clean unnecessary pauses, eliminate background noise, add punctuations and drop repeated words. In an environment where call recording software is needed to verify operations, this advancement could mean significant value for the organization.
It could also mean increased efficiency when it comes to reviewing the calls and using them for training or compliance purposes. If supervisors don’t have to listen to calls multiple times to retrieve the information they need, they can review more calls in less time. Likewise, the value wanted from the recorded call is the focus, instead of trying to decipher the spoken words through a thick accent. As a result, the organization can derive more value from that recorded call.