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IVR phone keypadCan you spot what is wrong with these messages?

“Using your touch tone keys, enter the name of the person you wish to contact starting with the last name. Press # when finished.” Or,

“To speak with someone with product knowledge, you must dial a different phone number. Please call 1-800-HLP-FAST” (Please DO NOT call this number as it is for illustrative purposes only!)

Or finally, this text message I received on my cell phone; “Call 972 – XXX-HELP if you would like additional assistance.”

Did you spot the problem?

Actually, there is nothing wrong with any of the messages if you can make the phone calls on a home or business telephone where the alphabet is clearly identified on the key pad. Anyone out there really ever take the time to memorize which 3 letters of the alphabet are on the number 5 of your phone? I certainly don’t, and the alphabet is not identified on my Blackberry cell phone numbers.

If only they had a speech recognition front end!

We all know the old saying, “First impressions are everything”. Sometimes companies overlook the most basic entry points into their companies, and miss the opportunity to maximize a positive user experience, no matter how trivial or small it may seem.

In many situations a simple application of technology brings more immediate ROI, whether measured in financial or goodwill terms. Front ending your PBX call routing systems with a speech reco application is a good example of a high use feature, valuable to almost every caller or customer, and not very expensive to implement. Plus it seems pretty obvious with more and more individuals using cell phones, and with more than 50% of all cell phones sold being smart phones, you cannot use letters to identify which number to press on your keypad.

There are a number of vendors who provide speech recognition applications for call routing applications if you happen to have an older PBX system installed and wish to upgrade. You can also look into a cloud based PBX system with integrated voice recognition capabilities that also leverage other IVR capabilities. Acclaim Telecom can help you if you wish to explore cloud based options.

But the message I want to convey is speech recognition applications do not have to be expensive or sophisticated in order to provide benefit. Take a look at all aspects of contact with your company; your main phone number, voice mail system, call center, live agent support, and mobile applications. Identify where high volume customer contact occurs, and be sure to make the user experience as easy and as productive as possible, regardless of the types of technologies employed. After all, first impressions really are everything.