The Meaning of "Customer Service" Is Changing

A well-designed company virtual assistant changes the meaning of customer service, according to the industry organization, the Applied Voice Input Output Society. AVIOS's annual Mobile Voice Conference held in San Francisco, March 3-5, 2014, is devoted to explaining this trend and offering alternatives to supporting the future of customer service, among other applications of natural-language technology driven by the wide adoption of mobile devices.

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Applied Voice Input Output Society

San Jose, CA (PRWEB) December 04, 2013

The Applied Voice Input Output Society (AVIOS), a non-profit industry organization that has been helping to move advanced natural-language technologies such as speech recognition into commercial reality for 25 years, warned of a major transition affecting customer service operations that will impact most companies. "Historically, automating customer service in call centers has been driven by customers wanting to speak to an agent," noted K. W. 'Bill' Scholz, AVIOS president and president, NewSpeech. "Much of the infrastructure supporting the call center is about training and monitoring agents and providing them with the information they need to deal with customer calls. This basic function will, of course, continue, but become increasingly less important as customers come to find the natural-language and spoken interaction with mobile phones acceptable and find it more efficient than navigating the barriers to reaching an agent by a voice call." Scholz said that AVIOS's annual Mobile Voice Conference (MVC, http://www.mobilevoiceconference.com), held in San Francisco, March 3-5, 2014, is devoted to explaining this trend and offering alternatives to supporting the future of customer service, among other applications of natural-language technology driven by the wide adoption of mobile devices.

Calling a customer service phone number is often a frustrating experience, as an attempt to deal with an overly structured automated system is often followed by a wait for an available agent, and sometimes with the agent, once on the line, saying in effect "I don't do that," and transferring the call to another specialized line. Companies understand that this isn't an optimal solution, but can't cost-effectively staff a call center with enough agents trained to do everything with a quick response with a peak load of calls. "In the past, there weren't good alternatives," said William Meisel, Executive Director, AVIOS, and author of a recent book discussing such trends, The Software Society. "Today, speech recognition and 'natural language' technology has advanced to the point that a company can deliver a company-specific 'personal assistant' that can deliver much of the functionality of a call center, with immediate response and consistent answers. That virtual assistant can be expanded beyond just answering questions to marketing and sales, an increasing need for companies faced with competition from web-based sales."

Such mobile assistants can be backed up by agents. "A customer dealing with a mobile personal assistant will persist longer and the transfer to an agent can be only when necessary, and with information the agent can use to deal quickly with the customer's inquiry," Meisel emphasized. "Another aspect of this trend is that a call to a customer service line from any phone can use natural-language techniques to make the automation feel more like a personal-assistant application."

As the program of the Mobile Voice Conference (http://www.mobilevoiceconference.com/program) demonstrates, this isn't a future that a company can comfortably wait to become evident. There are solutions today being deployed. There are tools and services that make developing such a mobile company assistant possible without internal expertise in language technology.

About the Applied Voice Input Output Society

AVIOS is non-profit organization promoting the speech technology industry for over a quarter-century. For more info, see http://www.avios.org.