Recently the LumenVox team attended CCW to empower businesses to deliver seamless yet secure customer communication through advanced speech and authentication solutions. While there, we had the opportunity to have been interviewed by CrmXchange for their CCW Nashville 2020 column: Solution Providers and End Users Harmonize in Music City
Read our interview below, or download the eBook version here.
What are the key areas of focus for LumenVox?
Good question. We have zeroed in on the following:
Speech Recognition: This includes conversational IVR with text-to-speech capabilities that create a very functional, conversational IVR self-service.
Voice Biometrics: We get really excited about this, as it addresses a huge threat to businesses right now—fraud. Voice biometrics is used to keep customers safe, to secure authentication and keep the customer experience painless and easy. Businesses can implement voice biometrics using IVR, mobile applications or in the contact center.
In 2019 we hit over a million voiceprints. For 2020, our development team combined customer feedback with their biometric expertise and created a robust passive engine, which allows for machine learning to enhance features and customer benefits. With the inclusion of Deep Neural Network technology, LumenVox has positioned itself to provide higher accuracy, more fraud prevention tools and increased customer satisfaction/ service.
There are numerous companies in your space…how do your solutions stand out from your competitors?
We’re easier to work with in every way. Our company is very focused on our channel partners. And our customers rave about how flexible the architecture and capabilities are. Our consistently high NPS scores (currently 89) reflect how much they appreciate our responsiveness. All speech recognizers and text-to-speech engines perform the same tasks, but they really don’t offer the higher value that comes from our simple install-configure-use approach. Things like our built-in diagnostics make it quick and easy to set up or troubleshoot things, and the LumenVox Speech Tuner is the easiest product on the market to implement and improve the performance of your speech applications, based on real customer usage.
On the voice biometrics side, while we do the installation and training, we’re also very open and flexible: We have APIs that are easily integrated into a contact center agent’s desktop or CRM applications. We see this as an important differentiator because managers really want applications consolidated. So the capability to take our biometrics results and integrate that information smoothly makes it easier for everyone.
From an implementation services standpoint, we don’t lock our customers into having to use our professional services. We enable both our partners and IVR developers to work from various platforms, using their own services while deploying our speech recognition technology. Our holistic approach results in us being more competitive, or and cost-effective. We don’t think cutting-edge technology needs to come at a premium price. We want this technology to be available to everyone.
Can you define how biometrics work in the contact center?
All biometrics measure something you’re made of. We’re used to smartphones using fingerprints and facial recognition/ faceprints to authenticate us now. Makes you feel more secure, right? The call center is evolving, too, and with our technology can create the same level of protection using the human voice. An enterprise contact center obtains a sample of your voice and converts it into a secure file called a voiceprint. Once there’s a voiceprint on file, the next time you call into the center, you don’t have to answer those painful security questions (which, by the way, are often vulnerable to theft). Using a voiceprint means that as a consumer you have a better calling experience. And as a business, you get more security.
Is it possible to fraudulently manipulate a voice biometric? Can someone pick up a customer’s voice pattern or convincingly imitate them?
Well, even mothers can be fooled by twins. We don’t want to be so hubristic as to claim that we somehow have something over Mother Nature. But voice biometrics takes major precautions: We use multiple factors when creating the voiceprint. The human ear might not be able to detect an impersonator, but our solution will notice hundreds of subtle differences. A company can also use multiple phrases as an identifier or ask varying questions to prevent a breach.
The truth is customers understand that the threat is real and want an added layer of unique security. A recent study noted that 74% of Americans believe that biometrics is a more secure method of verifying accounts than traditional PINs and passwords. Hacks and data breaches are commonplace occurrences now. And there are long, long gaps in notification—customers may not know they were exposed for nine months sometimes. Since many people tend to use the same PINs and passwords for multiple accounts, they are vulnerable. Voice biometrics protects and defends privacy. It’s that simple.
In what industries are recognition technologies becoming prevalent?
Any and all, as the desire for a seamless customer-agent interaction increases. People want to reach a customer representative to solve the bigger, more complex problems and spend their valuable time self-servicing/ solving the easier ones on their own. We’re working more and more with financial institutions and healthcare providers, as we have the capabilities to not only enhance their IVR experience, but also provide stronger security. As businesses grow, we see these two factors go hand-in-hand. People want security, but they don’t want to compromise speed and efficiency to get it. Our —speech solutions provide the best of both worlds.
What are some of the tangible benefits of Natural Language Processing IVR applications?
NLU gives self-service that human touch that people really seek in the customer journey. It’s the best of all worlds: Customers can help themselves quickly, but can also feel as if they’re doing it effortlessly–with a fellow human mind at the helm. As for LumenVox, our new Conversational ASR combines 20 years of experience in Speech Recognition with the latest in Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, allowing any business to build new AI-based IVR applications that support natural language processing and intent determination from an existing voice application platform (IVR). The best part is that as a business you really don’t have to start from scratch to do this. Text-based AI tools can be given a voice with LumenVox ASR. You can leverage your existing infrastructure and preferred tools to provide rich, voice based self-service that exceeds expectations.
Questions about our solutions? Contact us today!
How the customer experience evolved from snail mail to Conversational IVR
LumenVox and its artificial intelligence speech technology has initiated an evolution within the world of customer service. In the good ol’ days, people went to the bank to deposit a check. They absolutely had to make the trip; there were no other options. Eventually, banks got savvy and integrated with another institution—the post office—to provide printed account information to your doorstep, send or receive checks, etc. Eventually, with the integration of the telephone and its proliferation of use in businesses, we got phone support. If we had any questions or concerns, we could call a teller or bank representative to get the needed information. Over time, the number of incoming calls vs. the number of representatives available were too incongruous. There could never be enough reps to answer the number of needed phone calls per day.
With speech recognition, self-service phone options were put into place. When customers called the bank, instead of a human voice, they got automated options: “Press 1 for your balance. Press 2 for hours and location,” etc. But those menus can get quite annoying—people quickly got tired of the amount of time it took to listen and navigate. Everyone pressed zero, hoping to skip straight to a human voice.
To solve this issue, speech interactions were introduced, but only via directed dialog, i.e., “Say yes or no.” It wasn’t that transformative, really; there was still a fair amount of patience required by the customer. Eventually phrases such as “Account Balance,” “Did my check clear?” were put into place. This was considered an improvement by customers, but there were issues with the inconsistencies in customers’ speech. As a result, there was a good amount of–“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that.”
But businesses did finally get it. They learned from all the trying and testing that the level of ease of the customer experience, now primarily implemented by mobile phone, is just as important to a customer as the quality/ price of items or service purchased. Essentially, time is money—to everyone. This realization is what spurred on the notion of a conversational IVR and how it became instrumental in the design of self-service solutions.
The goal of Conversational IVR is to have automation mimic a conversation with the consumer. Open-ended questions, such as “Thank you for calling. How can I help you?”, have become the desired greeting. This evolution into machine, yet human-like interaction relies on Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), their ability to seek out, classify and order information in more complex or “intuitive” ways, and their contribution to Natural Language Understanding (NLU)/ Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLU/NLP is a specific branch of artificial intelligence that enables human-computer interaction using the input of sentences in text or speech.
Integrating NLU/NLP into a customer service environment results in a customized user experience: Enterprises are now able to recognize and automatically speak to you by name when you dial in. Your phone number is matched to your account information so they can even predict what you may be calling about (i.e., “I see you have booked a flight…)”.
Conversational IVR promotes a better customer experience. Frustration is reduced, just as conversation is encouraged. It’s a win-win: Customers have instant, secure access to vital information while businesses can effortlessly exceed service expectations. LumenVox’ next generation of Advanced Speech Recognition incorporates this advanced technology into a seamless solution for businesses. And our presence at Avaya Engage (Booth 300) will allow you to familiarize yourself with its capabilities in person to see exactly how it can benefit your business.
Pivot Technology Services Becomes LumenVox Skills Certified
LumenVox and Pivot announced today that Pivot Technology Services (Pivot) has officially become a LumenVox Skills Certified Partner. LumenVox Partner Skills Certification demonstrates Pivot’s capability to deliver high-quality speech solutions based on the LumenVox speech automation suite. Pivot, a trusted provider and integrator of the world’s leading technology solutions and services, utilizes the complimentary LumenVox Automated Speech Recognizer and Text-to-Speech solutions to improve the customer experience and employee productivity within contact center agent portal environments.
“LumenVox is excited to see the facilitation of a large joint opportunity that the evolution of our partnership with Pivot has already brought,” stated Ed Miller, LumenVox CEO, “and we look forward to supporting their development of innovative and dynamic speech-enabled solutions.”
“Becoming LumenVox Skills Certified broadens the benefits for our customers by combining Contact Center solutions design and implementation expertise with the best technologies available. The earned partnership strengthens our strategic position in an underserved niche of the market between traditional VARs on one end and large IT service providers on the other,” stated Jeff Brinckman, Pivot Director of Customer Experience Solutions.
Contact center technologies are ever-evolving. LumenVox Automated Speech Recognizer and Text-to-Speech solutions add functionality and improve capabilities. With Pivot’s expertise and LumenVox’ world-class technology, businesses and their customers can now experience efficient and customized communication.
Pivot Technology Solutions has created a portfolio of operating companies and partners, differentiated in their respective markets by superior competencies and an unmatched commitment to total customer satisfaction. Through its portfolio companies, Pivot has built an organization with deep knowledge of the industry, an extensive partner network, and the implementation capacity required to take on large and complex projects. Additionally, through Pivot Technology Services, the Company offers a comprehensive portfolio of services on a global scale.
The Customer Experience Solutions Practice provides insight and technology leadership that enables organizations to adapt to changing market conditions in the client care space. Recognizing that 85% of customer interactions flow through the contact center architectures, Pivot helps organizations transform their contact center platforms into a strategic corporate asset that creates competitive advantages.
Interested in learning more about how your organization can leverage LumenVox’ suite of speech and authentication solutions by becoming a LumenVox Skills Certified Partner? Contact us today!
Artificial Intelligence is a buzz word in tech because it has unlimited potential to transform the human experience. It’s especially relevant in 2020, as the keyword dominates Google searches and news outlets, including Forbes’ list of technology trends.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
AI is a segment of computer science that focuses on emulating human attributes. It’s the things we take for granted as human beings: listening and comprehension, sight, movement/ grabbing/ manipulation and reasoning with the world.
How Do Artificial Intelligence & LumenVox Intersect?
LumenVox offers artificial intelligence business solutions in two main ways:
The original LumenVox speech recognition software utilized Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) to decipher speech from the sound waves recorded. Hidden Markov models are simplified probability models that work very well in guessing what words are when heard. For example, if the first sound heard is likely to be “Duh” then, in English, it is very unlikely that the next sound will be an “Ess.” But it is very possible that the next sound will be, perhaps, “Oh” as in the word “Doughnut.” Overlaying the sounds, with the probability model of English that speech scientists developed, has produced a very good quality speech recognizer. But in recent years Hidden Markov Models have been replaced by Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). Deep Neural Networks are still probability models; however, they do not contain explicit knowledge of the likelihood of sounds or words in close proximity. Instead, Deep Neural Networks are brute-force models that emerge from “deep” analysis of very large data sets. They record connections for which we may have no explanation. From millions of examples of speech, they extract more complex, irregular, and idiosyncratic statistical rules about sounds, as actually spoken by people, than would be practical to represent in a Hidden Markov Model. LumenVox now utilizes Deep Neural Networks in our passive engine to provide state of the art results in speaker verification and recognition.
Voice Biometrics, aka Voiceprints, make a judgement on whether someone really is who he/she claims to be. With voice biometrics an initial voiceprint is created, in a secure manner, that validates the person’s identity. In future verification attempts, the person’s voice is compared to the original voiceprint. Voice Biometrics are a useful form of AI because they can replace human judgment, prevent human error and be hyperalert to threats with a highly accurate algorithm.
How Can Artificial Intelligence Protect You?
If a fraudster calls a business and claims to be Joe Smith, the agent might ask him a few questions to verify his identity. If the putative Joe is an experienced scammer, he may have researched these questions and prepared answers. Using a voiceprint, however, removes this risk since it is nearly impossible to fake a human voice effectively. Instead of allowing the fraud actor access, the intelligence of the machine exceeds the intelligence of a human agent and fraud is detected.
LumenVox’ aim is to safeguard both businesses and customers using artificial intelligence and the human voice, to take two complexities and make an interaction that is simple yet secure.
Contact us today to learn more.
LumenVox is excited to announce the release of LumenVox Version 17.0.200. In this release, we have:
- Added support for a new short-utterance transcription (Natural Language) functionality to process audio with a maximum length of approximately 30 seconds.
- Added a new Out of Service configuration option for the ASR (Automated Speech Recognizer) service, allowing system administrators to enter maintenance mode from the Dashboard, which permits currently pending requests to be completed, but any new requests will be rejected (to be potentially handled by other ASR servers in the cluster).
- Added a new feature to the ASR load-balancing mechanism to actively route ASR requests based on the language specified.
Useful for situations where you do not want to be constrained by a specific grammar, or challenged by implementing a more complex and costly Statistical Language Model, the LumenVox Short-Utterance Transcription functionality utilizes a built-in, general Statistical Language Model that has been tuned for everyday use to provide a text representation of supplied audio.
Supporting LumenVox’ commitment to making speech applications more secure and easier to administer, additional enhancements were made to our diagnostic tools and dashboard, including more robust grammar handling within the LumenVox Speech Tuner.
For a comprehensive list of improvements and features released with LumenVox Version 17.0.200, please click here.
If you’d like to watch a previously recorded webinar about the release, including participant Q&A, please click here.
Whether through their PC, Smartphone or Digital Assistant devices customers today have embraced the use of speech recognition when seeking simple, quick and straightforward ways to accomplish a task or access information. They expect no less when reaching out to your contact center.
Speech Recognition technologies, including speech recognition, text-to-speech, multifactor authentication (voice biometrics + questions) when used in conjunction with your Genesys Customer Experience Platform assets like Genesys Voice Platform (GVP in PureEngage) enable you to speed your customers to successfully completing their desired transaction or getting them to the right agent quickly and easily. You can save agent handling time, improve CX (customer experience) and all for lower costs when compared to purely agent handled calls.
How can I use these technologies in my contact center?
Speech recognition can greatly improve CX and your callers’ ability to self-serve in a voice channel by enabling more complex and personalized interactions. It can be used to identify or authenticate the caller using voice biometrics and multifactor authentication – saving agent handling time and frustration (what agent enjoys asking authentication questions?) by conducting the authentication in self-service before transferring the caller to an agent or to an appropriate self-service application. By combining voice biometrics with existing questions, you gain significant improvements in fraud prevention and avoid social engineering.
Speech recognition can be used to help determine the reason for a call, along with other data you have on hand about the customer so that you can quickly transfer the caller to the right agent with the right skills and availability. Faster and more accurate transfers improve customer satisfaction (think NPS scores) and increase employee satisfaction while reducing costs by reducing agent handling time. Automated interactions typically cost 25% or less when compared to agent handled interactions on a per-minute basis. If agent handled interactions cost between $1 and $3 dollars per minute a five-minute call costs between $5 and $15. Typical automated call handling costs between .25 & .50 per minute or between $1.25 and $2.15 per call. By shifting even 15-20% of your call handling time from agents to automation, you can reduce headcount requirements and costs significantly.
After business hours or during peak busy periods when agent availability is an issue, your callers call completely self-serve for many common interactions using speech recognition and text-to-speech so that they can request and receive information specific to them. Generally, any transaction in your contact that agents handle today by asking for some specific information from the call, typing that into a computer screen and then reading the answer back to the call can easily be automated with speech recognition. Things like what’s my account balance, when was my order shipped, can I get the address of the closet store can be automated. This not only keeps your customers out of the hold queue, but it can also help reduce your overall agent headcount demand and provide your customers with access to information they need even if your contact center is closed.
Our speech recognition technology can also be used in outbound calling when customers to confirm orders, provide shipping information or provide other important timely information. LumenVox Call Progress analysis can improve the message delivery success of your outbound calling applications by helping you determine whether the call has been machine answered or live answered and then delivering the correct payload successfully for machine answers or engaging with live callers using speech recognition and text-to-speech.
Many of our customers find that the same technologies can be used to reduce costs and improve CX for their employees also. Applications like Automated Password Reset can empower your customers and employees to reset their passwords without the involvement of a help desk agent. Save them from having to remember security questions or PINs that are easily lost or shared. Reliably authenticate your users anywhere and anytime with a simple spoken passphrase, a selfie or security questions.
LumenVox’ brings 17 years of experience in speech recognition automation to your contact center. We provide the core ASR, TTS and Voice Biometric technologies to speech enable your customer interactions. As an AppFoundry Partner with Genesys we provide a variety of speech recognition technologies and applications such as Password Reset, all fully tested and certified to speech enable your Genesys environment.
We have a quick “5 Simple Questions” process to help you identify specific use cases in your contact center. If you’re curious about how speech recognition can be used in your contact center reach out to LumenVox and we’ll work with your Genesys representative to ask those questions and show you how you can take advantage of speech related technologies to improve your customer experience, make your agents happier and reduce costs.