Focusing on Value Keeps the Industry Viable
During challenging economic times, people don’t stop spending altogether; they simply spend less. Why buy a $50 bottle of wine when a $15 bottle will do? Naturally, the merits of this argument in a business setting vary depending on the business case, but a slumping economy certainly lends credence to the argument. While 2010 is showing signs of improvement compared with the financial fallout of 2009, it appears companies are only slightly loosening their purse strings. So doing more with less is still a top priority for organizations.
The recipients of our 2010 Speech Industry Awards understand this and have been devising lower-priced options for their clients. One innovative option is the hosted-delivery model, for which we crown one category winner. In the “Speech Engine” category, an industry pundit cites how this category winner is passing value on to its customers using a hosted-delivery model: “Because they’re hosted, they’ve got this database of millions and millions of utterances, and on a project-by-project basis they really make use of it.”
While some people still have data security and up-time reliability concerns, the economic downturn could force organizations to get past their fears to benefit from the lower-cost delivery model.
The economy could also force organizations to focus on keeping current customers happy. Published reports have stated that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. That’s why I’m pleased to see a continued interest in speech analytics. These solutions help organizations obtain and leverage meaningful voice-of-the-customer feedback, which improves customer satisfaction and retention scores. If you need proof, then find out which companies won this year’s Implementation Award. As one example, you’ll see how implementing a speech analytics solution helped Elavon, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, save a whopping 90 percent to 96 percent of its customers from leaving. This represents more than 2,000 accounts, or $5.4 million in revenue—pretty impressive.
In addition, every year we receive an increasing number of nominations for our Speech Luminaries Award. This year was no exception. The Speech Luminaries Award, unlike a lifetime achievement award, focuses on individuals who have influenced the industry in a significant way during the past 12 months. Read through this section to meet five deserving visionaries who have paved the way for others to follow.
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2010 Speech Industry Awards. Your focus on using speech technology to add value to your organizations and customers has been recognized. May you continue to succeed with speech technology.
David Myron is editorial director of Speech Technology magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.