Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue

Looking for VUI Design Experiments

Over the past year, Vocalabs conducted experiments in voice user interface design in partnership with three different companies. We presented the results at the 2009 SpeechTEK conference and wrote about them in our last newsletter.

This was a hugely successful undertaking to improve the state of the art in VUI design. It's hard to get speech vendors to spend money to perform carefully controlled experiments and publish the results for the benefit of the community at large; it's even harder to get individual clients to take such a civic-minded approach for their own projects.

Nevertheless, most of us can agree that the speech industry benefits greatly from a more rigorous, open, and transparent knowledge base of VUI design practices.  This leads to better designs, more user acceptance, and greater project success.

Vocalabs is interested in seeing better design (and more emphasis on testing, of course), and with the success of these experiments last year we're going to step up to the plate again.  Vocalabs will perform usability surveys for free for any designer or company testing VUI design practices for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Here are the criteria:

  1. You have to have a well-designed experiment testing a design practice of general interest, not a question relevant to only a particular design.
  2. You have to commit to analyzing the data and publicizing it to the VUI design community as a whole.
  3. You have to find someone to host the test application(s) (we can't do that ourselves).
  4. The raw data will be made available to all interested parties in the VUI design community (peer review and alternate analysis are especially welcome).
  5. VocaLabs has to be identified as a sponsor of the research in all publication, presentations, etc.

If you're interested or have questions, contact Peter Leppik.

Customer Success Story: First Call Resolution

We recently came back from a site visit with one of our clients who has had great success in improving First Call Resolution using the data collected through its Vocalabs survey.

In our client's customer service call center, Vocalabs does an immediate call-back interview where we call the client's customers back within about five minutes of the end of a call. Our interviewers ask about twenty questions related to the customer's satisfaction, the reason for the call, and what happened during the call.  The interview typically takes three to five minutes, and we provide the client with a real-time report including recordings of the survey call and customer service call.

Using the combination of survey data and call recordings, our client discovered that many of the unresolved service calls happened because many customers have shared accounts (for example, a husband and wife) but only the primary account holder is allowed to authorize certain transactions. If the husband is the primary account holder, but the wife calls, the agent had to tell the wife to hang up and have her husband call instead.

It probably wasn't surprising to a lot of people inside the call center that this security policy was causing a lot of unresolved calls--but the magnitude of the problem and the clear frustration evident from the customer surveys convinced them to find a creative approach.

The solution was to give agents permission to put the customer on hold to contact the primary account holder and authorize the transaction. Rather than having to tell the customer to have her husband call back, the agent can now say that she got authorization and the transaction will be taken care of right away.

The net effect has been dramatic: first call resolution is up significantly, and more importantly, customers perceive that our client is going the extra mile to make sure they are taken care of.

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