Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue

Is this on?

by Peter Leppik

Regular readers of this newsletter may have noticed that we've been a little, well, quiet lately.

Quiet doesn't mean inactive. On the contrary, we've been very busy with client projects, a complete overhaul of our website, and a variety of research projects which we hope will advance the state of understanding of quality customer experiences (see below).

In order to help manage all this, we recently brought on board Emily de Rotstein as our new VP of Sales and Marketing (also see below). Some of you have already met Emily, and if you haven't I hope you get the chance soon. Emily is an incredible addition to the Vocalabs team, and I expect you'll be as impressed as I am.

So please take this opportunity to explore our updated website at www.vocalabs.com, and stay tuned for more.

Announcing Service Quality Tracker

by Emily de Rotstein

We're pleased to announce the launch of Service Quality Tracker, our independent research tracking industry trends in phone-based customer service. Service Quality Tracker replaces our earlier syndicated study, SectorPulse, which ran from 2003 to 2008.

Our inaugural results show that Apple beat Dell and HP in customer satisfaction with phone-based technical support. In telephone interviews conducted with 1,147 consumers immediately following a tech support call, 58% of Apple customers reported they were "very satisfied" with the call, compared to only 46% of Dell customers and 43% of HP customers.

Our research showed that customers from each company are generally satisfied with hold times, ease of reaching an agent and agent professionalism. In contrast, there was a significant difference in the percentage of customers who reported their problem was solved: 53% of Apple customers reported their problem had been resolved on the call, while 45% of Dell customers and only 39% of HP customers reported they were able to resolve their problem on the call.

Apple also did a better job in the area of repetitive and irrelevant steps on the call, another factor we found was strongly tied to customer satisfaction with tech support calls. Just 20% percent of Apple customers said they were made to go through irrelevant steps, compared to 34% of Dell and HP customers.

Download the Executive Summary for more detailed results.

Towards A More Scientific Approach to VUI Design

by Peter Leppik

Much of VUI design folklore is just that: folklore. Tips and tricks for optimal design are handed down among professionals but there is a lack of carefully controlled and publicly available experimental data about how to improve performance and customer satisfaction. Many in the design community agree that the industry could benefit greatly from a more rigorous, open, and transparent knowledge base of VUI design practices.

Vocalabs hopes to help move the industry toward a more scientific approach to VUI design. Last year, we offered to contribute usability surveys to any company interested in researching the best ways to design a voice interface and making those results public for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Several companies signed on to participate in the sponsored research, including Travelocity, Nuance and Tuvox. Survey data collection for each partner is complete and analysis is underway. The results of these projects will be presented at SpeechTEK 2009 in August. The raw data will be made available to all interested parties in the VUI design community, with a call for peer review and alternate analysis.

Vocalabs is committed to sponsoring VUI design research on an ongoing basis as long as there are companies with an interest in participating and sharing their results for the benefit of the community as a whole. Contact us if you're interested in learning how you can participate in the 2009-2010 study which will begin shortly after SpeechTEK.

Vocalabs Expands Executive Team

by Peter Leppik

I'm pleased to welcome an addition to our executive management team. Emily Selene de Rotstein recently joined Vocalabs as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Managing Director. She's an experienced entrepreneur and strategic marketer, and will be instrumental in helping us manage our growing customer satisfaction measurement business.

Emily brings to Vocalabs diverse industry experience and a background in launching and marketing advanced technologies. Most recently, she was an original founder and vice president of marketing for Aveso, a venture-backed spin-out from The Dow Chemical Company that produces flexible electronic displays for next generation credit cards, medical diagnostics, military and industrial applications. Earlier in her career, Emily was a sales executive for Claritas, a subsidiary of Nielsen, where she was responsible for large account management and new business development. Emily has also been Director of Marketing for The Chicago Sun-Times and Director of North American Sales for its sister publication, The Jerusalem Post.

Emily looks forward to meeting many of you at SpeechTEK in New York (August 24-26). Please feel free to contact her at ederotstein@vocalabs.com or 952-941-6580, Extension 206.

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