Common call center platform features range from skill-based routing to smart, predictive dialers. In relation to voice, the features number two: interactive voice response (IVR) and voice recognition software.
The first allows callers to reach agents in specific departments and can even prepare agents for those interactions. The second relates to basic transcription services — the age-old “this call will be recorded for quality assurance purposes” — but it contains the potential for more. We’ll look at some of those possibilities here, as well as cover market growth and a few other interesting details about voice recognition software and systems.
What is Voice Recognition and How Does It Work?
Voice recognition is a specific type of artificial intelligence (AI). Voice recognition relies on algorithms and machine learning to translate people’s spoken words into commands. In call centers, the most obvious instance of voice recognition occurs when a customer calls in and is asked to state their birthdate or other personally identifying information.
The system then “responds” to the spoken words. To accomplish that, voice recognition software and interactive voice response systems typically operate hand-in-hand. The one translates and the other acts upon the translation.
In the past, the two technologies were rife with frustration—consumers complained that the systems never understood what they said. Those frustrations may very well disappear as AI improves in the coming years and powers more sophisticated voice recognition and response algorithms.
How Big Is the Voice Recognition Software Market?
BCC Researcher, a publisher of market research reports, says voice recognition is a burgeoning market. The publisher’s 2017 report notes several factors moving the technology forward.
1. Ongoing innovation with artificial intelligence (AI)
2. Growing consumer use of voice-enabled smart devices like Siri, Alexa, and Google Voice
3. Lowering implementation costs
4. Heightened opportunities for enhanced automation through analytics
5. Increasing ease of development and deployment in business applications
6. Larger productivity gains in workplaces, often through better automation and human-to-machine interactions
In terms of the overall global market, voice recognition could increase from $104 billion in 2016 to $185 billion in 2021, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 percent.
What Benefits Does Voice Recognition Offer?
For one, voice recognition offers efficiency. Venture capitalist Mary Meeker says voice recognition software, especially voice search, contains the “potential to be the most efficient form of computing.” She continues, “Humans can speak 150 words per minute on average but can only type 40. The technology is a logical fit with Internet of Things-connected devices, such as Amazon Echo or the Apple Watch.”
Some other benefits affect specific people groups. People with disabilities, for example, benefit greatly from voice recognition software. With it, they can accomplish day-to-day errands and fulfill job descriptions just as well as, if not better than, a person without a disability.
The healthcare profession, too, takes great interest in voice recognition and interactive voice response systems. Through such systems, medical professionals help patients achieve health outcomes, decrease time spent inputting data, and turn around results to patients faster. Numerous studies document the benefits, including three from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Top healthcare technology publications also track the results, such as Healthcare Finance and Healthcare IT News.
1. Interactive Voice Response Technology: A Tool for Improving Healthcare (2012)
2. Evaluation of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Postal Survey in Follow-up of Children and Adolescents Discharged from Psychiatric Outpatient Treatment (2014)
3. Interactive Voice/Web Response System in Clinical Research (2016)
4. 5 Financial Benefits of Voice Recognition Technology (2012)
5. Speech Recognition Proving Its Worth (2014)
Finally, voice recognition software benefits our clients and their customers and patients. The tool allows customers to solve problems independently. The tool can also facilitate skills-based routing, which provides customers the ability to speak with an agent about a complex question or concern. Both capabilities deliver better customer experiences and increase customer satisfaction ratings.
How Can I Take Advantage of Voice Recognition Today?
Many call centers and customer service departments may already take advantage of voice recognition technology. If they employ IVR or call routing in any fashion, the agencies likely use voice recognition in some aspect. Also, if the contact center features a virtual reality function, say, an online virtual chat, it could be using voice recognition to facilitate it. In such instances, the virtual interface translates spoken words into verbal commands and, in many instances, transcripts that can be attached to a customer’s record.
If you’re curious about voice recognition software and interactive voice response systems, request a demo. We’d be happy to walk you through the intuitive voice features TCN Platform 3.0 provides.