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7 Ways to gain a competitive advantage with hosted speech.

Hosted speech applications for customer self-service and call routing offer companies flexibility, reliability, scalability and access to the latest technologies with unprecedented ease and cost efficiencies.

Following are seven ways to gain a competitive advantage with a hosted speech and multi-channel self-service solution.

1. Focus on the Customer Experience. Today's standards-based hosting solutions enable companies to provide user-friendly, speech-enabled customer self-service without large upfront investments. They also reduce pressure on IT staff and allow resources to be redirected toward enhancing the customer experience rather than managing the complexities of building, maintaining and regularly upgrading the underlying infrastructure. For companies stuck with old, end-of-life IVR systems, hosted speech provides an affordable way to take advantage of advanced functionality like personalization and actionable analytics that help identify opportunities to enhance customer service.

2. Improve operational efficiency for profitable growth. Hosted speech helps companies balance the need to deliver great service with the need to control costs. Hosting eliminates the expense and frustration of managing telecom resources and equipment, while simplifying access to capabilities that improve the success of automated systems. It also positions companies to efficiently address expanding customer communication preferences, including text, mobile web and social channels. The low CAPEX model enables companies to deliver new customer-focused services and initiatives faster, without the significant upfront investment and risk.

3. Scale fast and expand globally. A hosted solution provides the ability to get up and running with little front-end cost, low IT overhead, and the scalability needed to grow on demand to meet changing business requirements. If your company's level of growth is undetermined, it's critical to identify a provider with a standards-based solution architected to deliver performance advantages, coupled with the ability to increase core platform capacity by simply adding gateway and server components to the existing system. To accommodate global expansion, select a hosting provider that offers a common platform anywhere in the world and one virtualized view of your solution, making it easier to manage capacity and leverage available resources. Hosting also offers instant, lower-cost access to multiple speech recognition and text-to-speech (TTS) languages to support your expanding business.

4. Achieve higher reliability at a lower cost. Hosted speech provides a level of mission-critical reliability that is difficult and expensive to achieve in-house. Hosting providers invest heavily in the expertise, network and tools needed to ensure high performance and 24x7 availability. Choose a provider with a redundant, geographically distributed architecture, backed by a written service-level agreement (SLA) with commitments to incident responsiveness and monetary penalties when levels are not met. Companies also can deploy IVR on premises while taking advantage of failover to a hosted solution. The approach eliminates the expense of over-provisioning hardware and capacity to handle bursts in call volume and simplifies business continuity planning.

5. Get proactive. Hosted speech is ideal for proactive outbound customer service. The ability to quickly and cost-effectively send time-sensitive emergency notifications, status updates and reminders helps companies maximize port usage and keep agents focused on higher value tasks. In many industries, interactive speech-driven outbound introduces new process efficiencies in the form of streamlined collections, reduced service shut-offs and improved scheduling. And, when it comes to enhancing the customer experience, interactive outbound speech and text is a way for companies to increase customer interaction and loyalty without increasing costs.

6. Access the latest technologies and new capabilities instantly. Hosting offers low-cost access to advanced capabilities, including multi-channel self-service, multilingual speech recognition, encrypted call recording, voice biometrics, location based services and more. Improvements and new functionality are immediately available--without managing upgrades or installing additional hardware. Select a hosting provider with a commitment to continual innovation for low-cost access to business-differentiating technologies.

7. Improve security and protect customer data. A standards-based offering enables companies to retain sensitive data and applications on their premises while using a hosting outsourcer for the IVR infrastructure. The leading hosted speech providers have intensely focused on having the expertise, processes and systems in place to ensure security and data privacy. Some hosting providers also offer the option of shared or dedicated environments, including PCI-compliant environments suitable for deploying applications that handle cardholder information.

Hosted speech enables companies to better compete with innovative service offerings, faster time-to-market and cost advantages. Remember, hosting does not need to be an "all-or-nothing" decision. Understand your options, including the ability to deploy a hybrid solution that combines the benefits of hosting and premise-based solutions.


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Title Annotation:Best Practices Series
Publication:Speech Technology Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Previous Article:Speech technology presents: hosted speech for the enterprise market: flexible, scalable and reliable: special sponsored content section.
Next Article:Delighting customers and employees with innovative speech recognition.

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