Does Speech Technology Work?

During the birth of any technology that replaces people with automation there is a high level of frustration until the technology gets to a level where it is ready to be accepted by the majority of consumers.

When the first ATM machines appeared many people complained that banks were losing their personal touch. But when you needed $500 cash at 8:00 p.m. in the evening there was no personal touch to be found. Yes, convenience trumped the teller and I will never ever go back to a bank teller – except possibly at gunpoint.

Similarly when the first voicemail systems were produced most corporations said they were too impersonal and they would never use them. From time to time I am forced to leave a message with an administrative assistant instead of voicemail. There is nothing worse than doing so. Voicemail is something we can’t live without today.

I just came across an article about speech recognition and how this writer hates it. Sure, it will take time to get used to this technology but every company will one day use speech and not considering it leaves you at a competitive disadvantage.

This sort of article however should stop our industry collectively and make us pause as there are some legitimate complaints here. Certainly, if you read carefully there are more problems with how the system is set up than the technology itself.

Therein lies the problem for companies deploying speech. Deploy in such a way that customers are better served. Not in a way that saves a short-term buck. In the long-run happy customers are why we are in business.

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