• May 1, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

SpeechCycle Dedicates Division to Smartphone Customers

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SpeechCycle has launched a mobile division that will focus exclusively on meeting the growing demand for customer care solutions on the smartphone. Shortly thereafter, the company released its first application, SmartCare Mobile, a smartphone platform and application suite for customer care.

The need for the mobile division emerged when the company began looking at the smartphone market, according to Roberto Pieraccini, chief technology officer at SpeechCycle. “The paradigm of customer interaction is different, the type of customer is different, and the technology is different,” he says. “The type of interaction with a customer over a mobile device is so different that it justifies a new division.”

The company’s goal in forming the division was to leverage the smartphone, which offers significant opportunity for companies to deliver a highly differentiated customer experience that drives customer loyalty, optimizes contact center operations, and increases revenue.

The Mobile Division of SpeechCycle will dedicate significant resources to creating products and solutions that support the operating systems of leading smartphones and other mobile devices. The top three right now are Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android, and RIM’s BlackBerry, according to Pieraccini.

“The telephone as we know it is changing into a much more powerful device,” Pieraccini says. “It’s mostly multimodal technology that requires its own systems. You can use voice, text, or touch, and since it has a built-in display, you do not need to go through lengthy dialogues.”

That’s one of the strengths of the new SmartCare Mobile app, which includes the following key features:

• intuitive navigation with T3 (touch/type/talk) interface;
• predefined, customizable widgets;
• a dynamic deployment model; and
• seamless integration with enterprise contact centers and back-end systems.

Companies can plug SmartCare Mobile into their existing customer service applications to create custom widgets for customer surveys and feedback, notifications, billing, support, and scheduling. SmartCare Mobile also has integrated mapping so companies can send geographically targeted advertising messages to interested customers. 

SmartCare Mobile supports all of the leading global smartphone operating systems—including Android, iOS, Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry—on a single application platform.

“One great feature and value proposition to SmartCare Mobile is that it combines a number of customer care applications into one portal,” says Alan Pan, vice president of product management at SpeechCycle. “It allows customers to bypass traditional IVR menus and get right to the applications they want to use. It creates a highly differentiated customer experience.”

SmartCare Mobile is a white-label application that customers can access when they download a participating company’s customer care application. Several corporations are piloting the application.

SmartCare Mobile’s goal is “to take calls out of the contact center and optimize the customer experience,” Pan says.

“For the smartphone customer, empowerment is what this is all about,” he adds. “This allows the customer to take control.”

“Today’s consumers have become power users of devices like the Android and iPhone; they are accustomed to watching videos, playing games, and browsing Web sites and are expecting the same rich experience when they communicate with their service providers,” Zor Gorelov, CEO of SpeechCycle, said in a statement. “Smartphones are game-changers for providing world-class customer care, and SpeechCycle has developed a solution to help service providers meet the challenge.”

Pieraccini is quick to point out, though, that creating the mobile division in no way suggests that SpeechCycle is abandoning the traditional IVR market. “The IVR will still exist, and we see a real need for it, too,” he says.

The division is being housed at SpeechCycle’s New York headquarters and is being led by Albert Kim, a veteran software industry executive.

“With 300 million smartphones sold worldwide in 2010, consumer behavior has undergone a seismic shift. Smartphones have changed how consumers interact with enterprises and service providers. In fact, nearly two-thirds of them use their mobile phone to contact customer care,” Kim said in a statement. “Consumers are carrying around powerful computing devices, and they expect faster and better customer service. Our vision is to enable companies to tap into this powerful medium to build lasting and profitable relationships with their customers.” 

“The launch of the Mobile Division of SpeechCycle is the next step in our evolution,” Gorelov explains. “We have had great success in providing intelligent, phone-based self-service applications that improve the customer experience while reducing costs. Extending these capabilities to the mobile platform is a natural progression for the company.”

News Editor Leonard Klie can be reached at lklie@infotoday.com.

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