First Union National Bank has introduced a new speech recognition system -claimed to be the first of its kind in the US - from SpeechWorks throughout its call centre operation.
Customers can use the new system to facilitate a number of transactions including checking balances and transferring funds. The technology understands the caller's spoken words and then provides answers on command.
Bob Ryan, channel marketing leader for First Union Direct, says: "Automated service has always provided convenience, but with voice technology, the customer experience is much better. Customers do not have to figure out what buttons to press. They can just say what they want to do. Speech technology is the way to go, and we are beating other banks to it."
First Union Direct - the bank's call centre operation - handles approximately 145 million calls annually. More than 70 per cent of these calls had previously been handled via touch-tone technology, and customer service representatives handled the remainder.