Speech Is My Copilot

Self-service automation and speech technology enable a consistent customer service experience, says Sonja Lough, manager of self-service communications at Continental Airlines, today at SpeechTEK 2009.

At a breakout session titled “How Airlines Improve Service With IVR,” Lough told the audience how by partnering with Voxify, Continental—the world’s 5th largest airline and only airline with interactive voice check-in—can now check a passenger in within 25 seconds all via the power of an interactive voice response (IVR) system.

“Typically, IVRs get a bad rap,” she says, stressing that customers are delighted with Continental’s outbound and inbound IVR.  “We’re able to give customers information that is pertinent to their specific travel as well as information that’s going to help reduce their stress and make it a seamless product for them.”

Prior to working with Voxify, Continental’s structure wasn't unified, Lough says, noting that the company’s IVR systems were disjointed and often confusing. 

“[Voxify has] been able to help unify our approach,” she says.  “By creating a strategy for both our inbound and outbound speech, we’re able to string together independent modules to create an end-to-end experience for the customer.” 

“For the customer, it’s one voice, one call, regardless of how many applications they might be transiting through,” she adds.

Lough says the interactive check-in application, the first offering Voxify created for Continental was so successful and well received that the company moved the rest of its outbound messaging services to Voxify.  Additionally, Continental—which serves 65 million passengers annually—and Voxify also developed a number of inbound applications.

Looking ahead, Lough says Continental continues to work with Voxify to provide more self-service opportunities for customers and to examine ways that will make travel “more informative” for customers and “provide greater transparency” into the company’s business.

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