Think back to 2005. If you were up with the tech-times, you may have had one of the very first camera phones in the U.S. and a 4th or 5th generation iPod. It’s possible that you were among the early undergrad Facebook adopters – or, then again, maybe MySpace was more your speed. Meanwhile, YouTube was born.
Any one of us knows first-hand that technology changes fast and we no sooner forget how much our user-expectations have risen.
Fast-forward 10 years: Facebook, now a publicly traded company, has 1.44 billion users (now ages 13+) and over 10,000 employees worldwide. Ninety percent of Americans own a mobile phone, 64 percent of which are smartphones. American Idol, one of the most successful TV shows in history, is gearing up for its farewell season, having captured more than 6 billion viewer votes cast by phone, via SMS/text or online since its debut. And likely many of those same viewers have watched Psy’s “Gangnam Style” on YouTube 2.4 billion times and counting.
Bruce Pollock, vice president of strategic growth and planning at West, and his fellow panelists touched on some of these eye-openers during “A Decade at SpeechTEK” session at SpeechTEK 2015: The Smart Customer Interactions Event.
Earlier this week, the 20th annual SpeechTEK conference drew speech scientists, information technologists, customer experience designers, contact center professionals and C-level executives to the Marriott Marquis in NYC, for three days of all things speech. Keynote presentations, panel discussions and workshops yielded insights into the latest (and forthcoming) ways speech can solve business challenges, improve self-service and elevate the customer experience.
West was among the first to introduce IVR and ASR to companies and their customers. Twenty years later, consumers can speak to phones, watches, computers, cars, TVs and more, and we were fortunate to listen in and contribute to a number of conversations about the future of speech technology. Some of the conference sessions included “Virtual Agents for All?” moderated by Pollock; “The How and Why of Speech Application Tuning” and “Secure Audio Data Analytics,” both moderated by Amy Goodwin, senior speech technologist; and “Conversing with the Internet of Things,” moderated by Jim Milroy, human factors solutions consultant.
Milroy also discussed how he is able to identify caller archetypes to design an efficient IVR user-interface during a panel about “Designing for Your Customers.” One size doesn’t fit all callers; some have a high technical skill-level or brand knowledge, and others need more hand-holding to self-serve. With thorough customer journey assessments on the front-end, we can design effective speech solutions and call-flows to efficiently accommodate customers’ (and contact centers’) distinct needs.
Natural language recognition is moving beyond voice into SMS/text. Speech science and automation are helping brands interact with customers more frequently, more easily and on devices already at their fingertips. From security measures to IoT, West experts continue to partner on the forefront of this movement to continually optimize the customer experience.
Imagine where user expectations might soar by 2025… Is your brand getting ready? #ExperienceConnected