Voxify Introduces Automated Agents(TM) for Travel Industry Call Centers
Speech-Driven Automated Call Center Agents Have the Conversational Skills to Handle Advanced Customer Service Calls
Apr 8, 2004
Voxify, the first company to create Automated Agents for call centers, today announced that its Automated Agents are in use at CanJet Airlines, Canadian North Airlines, and World Choice Travel, a part of Travelocity. Powered by the company's patented Conversation Engine(TM) software platform, the Automated Agents for travel and hospitality call centers are helping Voxify clients deliver new services, close more sales, and handle unplanned call volumes without hiring additional staff.
Companies large and small face a serious problem: they don't have enough staff to handle the calls made to their call centers, but staffing up is cost prohibitive. "A call center is always balancing the cost of doing business versus providing the level of customer service our clients demand," said Michael Vidal, Vice President of Voice Services at World Choice Travel. "My live agents take a lot of sales calls. Naturally, we would prefer they generate income. But because our calls are complex, there didn't seem to be a way to automate them until we found Voxify."
Older speech automation required hard-coding and faced long deployment times. Voxify Automated Agents differ by modeling the conversational skills of human beings and adding deep training in the industries they serve. This innovative combination makes it possible for call centers to automate more complex calls that previously had to be managed by live agents. Automated Agents book reservations, take orders, and sell new services.
Agents are brought to life by the company's Conversation Engine, which ties together its patented behavioral modeling technology with proven standards, such as VoiceXML and J2EE, to determine a caller's intent across multiple topics -- enabling Automated Agents to closely approximate the effectiveness of human agents.
"Older approaches to speech recognition only handled the simplest interactions, leaving calls incomplete and callers dissatisfied. But Voxify has codified the elements of successful conversation enabling more complex calls to be handled by our Automated Agents. Our Conversation Engine is a unique platform offering the building blocks for human conversation and the capability to quickly create and train new Agents for the spectrum of customer service functions," said Adeeb Shanaa, Chief Executive Officer of Voxify.
Voxify Clients Deliver Superior Caller Experience for Complex Transactions
World Choice Travel wanted to use Voxify Automated Agents(TM) to handle 1-night reservations, confirm and cancel services, and hotel locator services. "Voxify enabled us to cost-effectively expand our level of service to customers and create a new revenue channel. Prior to Voxify, customers could make 1-night reservations only via the web. Now customers can get service through multiple channels. Voxify is achieving over 20% in conversion rates for 1 night reservations. Now, we are generating income from booking 1-night reservations -- where before this was actually an expense for us," said Vidal.
CanJet, Canada's Low-Fare Airline, which provides schedule service to eight destinations in eastern and central Canada as well as Chicago Midway, New York LaGuardia, St. Petersburg, Sarasota Bradenton and West Palm Beach, Florida, turned to Voxify to help them manage spikes in call center volume. "Our call center can run smoothly for months, but when calls increase, they do so in a big way," said Dale Rockwell, Director of Information Technology at CanJet. "February 19th, all flights out of Halifax were suspended as 38-inches of snow blanketed the area. We had just gone live with Voxify's Flight Status Agents, and on the day of the blizzard, they handled more than eight times the normal call volume. Our Automated Agents served our callers efficiently while delivering a significantly better customer experience than a touch-tone system could have," Rockwell concluded.
Low Costs, Quick Deployment, and Rapid Results
Automated Agents cost less per call than a live agent, whether in the U.S. or offshore, especially when considering high turnover rates and the time it takes to hire and train new agents. "Just like the weather forecasters, we can't predict when call volumes will spike," said CanJet's Rockwell. "Voxify Automated Agents give us the ability to handle increases without scrambling to bring in additional live agents and pay them overtime. Our callers are rewarded with much shorter hold-times, and have already told us they find the Agents friendly and efficient."
Voxify Automated Agents are fully hosted and therefore require no capital investment or client support. Because Voxify's Conversation Engine(TM) has codified the elements of successful conversation, Automated Agents can be ramped up in a matter of weeks, quickly delivering an agent who understands how to give callers what they need and releasing them from long-hold times. And Voxify clients experience the financial benefits of lower costs on calls while improving customer satisfaction.
"The Voxify Confirm and Cancel Agent handles up to 600 confirmations and cancellations per day, resolving them on average 29% faster than a live agent. We are now handling more calls in less time and paying less than we would by adding call center staff. It's not often that you can improve customer service without impacting the bottom line -- Voxify made it possible," said Vidal of World Choice Travel.
Strong Relationships with the Travel Industry Voxify is partnering with InnPoints Worldwide and VIP International.
InnPoints, a Voxify reseller, is a diversified reservation processing organization. From its state-of-the-art Albuquerque Headquarters, InnPoints provides voice, GDS and Internet reservation processing, as well as strategic marketing programs to over 900 hotels, chains, inns and B 2 B's.
VIP International provides technology, marketing and merchandising to drive revenue for independent hotels, car rental companies, hotel chains, airlines, and other travel related organizations -- more than 5,000 clients in over 70 countries. Voxify partnered with VIP International to bring Automated Agents(TM) to Canadian North Airlines
"Working with InnPoints and VIP allow us to deepen our understanding and reach into the travel industry, and we're already seeing new revenue streams through these relationships," said Voxify's Shanaa.
Voxify is the first company to create automated call center agents with the conversational skills to handle advanced customer service calls. Powered by the company's patented Conversation Engine(TM), Voxify Automated Agents(TM) model the intelligence and personality of a trained live agent, allowing them to engage callers in sophisticated dialogue to perform advanced customer service functions, like reservations, sales, and account requests. Voxify Automated Agents are helping call centers deliver new services, close more sales, and handle unplanned call volumes without hiring additional staff. Voxify was founded by MIT technologists and enterprise software veterans. Headquartered in Alameda, California, the company has a growing list of skilled partners around the globe.