Could voice-controlled mobile customer service be the future?
News is emerging that Nuance, which supplies speech recognition technology to the Apple iPhone’s Siri voice activated personal assistant, is introducing a voice-controlled mobile helpdesk assistant. Full details have not yet been released, but it’s thought this will be a natural speech recognition system for companies looking to automate their customer service departments.
While Nuance’s launch is initially targeted at businesses who want to automate help desk support calls, could this kind of voice control catch on and start to “change the face of mobile customer service forever” as is being suggested?
First, let’s say that an easy- to- use voice system that you can control by speaking to ‘naturally’ will obviously be very convenient for simple, straightforward informational needs and for making transactions. In the case of more complex calls, however – for the foreseeable future at least - you would think there will still very much be a need for live customer service agents. Additionally it is important that any system such as this integrates with other channels - sharing the same source of information to ensure consistency and efficiency.
So we are not talking about replacing what’s already there, but perhaps using voice control to enhance current customer service offerings. One nice touch, that has been mentioned by some experts, would be to combine voice control with biometric voice authentication - which would be a convenient way to authenticate callers who want to use telephone banking for example.
And while it would be possible to make customer service resource savings by increasing the role played by voice activated systems, it would obviously be wrong to force customers down a route they aren’t comfortable with. So it would be essential to have a smooth transfer to a real person, or an alternative customer service channel if and when a caller required it.
With mobiles and smartphones most likely being the way most people will choose to communicate for years to come, it’s right that customer service technology providers will throw more and more resources and innovation dollars at mobile customer service.
So we’re likely to see more developments such as enhanced voice automation in this space. But the key takeaway is that whatever channel the customer chooses to engage with customer service – the emphasis needs to be on creating a joined-up consistent experience. So it’s essential that all the channels are backed by a central knowledge base for customer service information.