New technology ensures voicemail neglect doesn’t result in lost business or damage your company’s brand
By Richard Quattrocchi
According to David Pogue in the December 2010 issue of Scientific American, “Speech recognition programs are no longer exercises in futility.” I couldn’t agree more. Speech recognition has come a long way, programs that convert speech to text are finding their way into all sorts of applications, and one of the most useful for business is for voicemail.
According to a study done by AT&T, 75% of all business telephone calls terminate in voicemail. While voicemail seems to take a backseat to email these days, the voicemail messages we do get are more urgent.
This can be problem for many businesses with large numbers of young workers who are email, text message and IM centric and do not understand the urgent nature of voicemail. I recently asked my 20-year-old son why he never calls me back when I leave him a voice message. His response: “If you want to reach me, text me. No one listens to voicemail any more.” I can’t help but wonder if he would have that same attitude if he knew his college tuition payments were contingent upon his returning my phone calls.
While voicemail neglect by my son is a mild irritant for me, it can be a huge problem for business. I recently heard a horror story from a very large provider of virtual server software who lost a multi-million dollar deal to a competitor because the sales person on the account not only didn’t return two urgent voice messages but on the third attempt at leaving a message the prospective customer received a message the recipient’s voicemail box was full! While this is an extreme case, it does underscore the need to bridge the gap between generations and connect voicemail to email, SMS and IM if for no other reason than to ensure better customer service.
Fortunately, there are now solutions commercially available to convert voicemail to text and deliver it to email. Offerings are in the marketplace from Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Google and others. One offering called giSTT™ from Mutare Software can not only put voicemail in email and text messages but also works in real-time with Instant Messaging. giSTT can be added to existing voicemail platforms from Avaya, Cisco, AVST, ShoreTel etc. and works with any email system so it can be implemented without replacing anything.
When giSTT is offered along with Mutare’s EVM Plus solution it provides message control right in the email so you never get that annoying “mailbox full” message for a caller. Any company looking to use speech to text for unified messaging will want to insure message control is included.
For a humorous take on speech to text watch the voicemail stalker video by clicking here.