Marketta Silvera, CEO, Apptera
Q. As the new CEO for Apptera, what changes do you foresee in the near future for the company's corporate vision and strategy?
A. Apptera is already known for its innovative voice application suites and we are now in a strong position to take our patent-pending technologies to the next level. Our enterprise customers are anxious to deploy more advanced services over the phone channel. They are ready for total solutions that incorporate new capabilities and emerging technologies. Apptera's strategy is focused on delivering the solutions to meet and exceed these expectations.
Q. Apptera has recently introduced the concept of v-Business. What does this mean?
A. v-Business is simply "e-business over the phone." Just 10 years ago, the Web became a new way of doing business. We are now in the early stages of another new business frontier: v-Business. v-Business empowers companies to drive revenues, increase customer loyalty and create competitive advantages through intelligent, conversational phone services. These services are quite different from the old, pre-recorded, one-way message strings that were frustrating to callers. The new services deliver intelligent, automated "persons" who inherently know the caller and the caller's preferences.
Q. What impact will v-Business have on Apptera's customers?
A. Our relationships with customers will expand as a result of their growing need for better and new ways to improve customer retention and increase revenues through the phone channel. We have several new initiatives in process with our customers and look forward to "partnering" with them in implementing v-Business solutions where voice is necessary, convenient, better than other alternatives and "natural."
Q. What affect will it have on the customer experience?
A. Our goal is to provide customers with the "ultimate caller experience" that cultivates customer bonding and leads to new up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and improved customer service.
Q. How does Apptera address the customer service market and how is this approach different from that of other companies?
A. Apptera's technologies enable us to deliver a superior caller experience because we can truly tune into the caller—the caller's emotions, behavior and preferences. Our technology foundation was designed with the purpose of solving customer service problems. The combination of our self-learning architecture, personalization capabilities and dynamic voice application generation places us in a unique position in the industry.
Q. Where do you see the customer service market going and how do you plan to address it moving forward?
A. The Web is an example of a channel that came along to serve customer service needs. We can now take customer service to the next level with voice and v-Business solutions. It is a fact that 90 percent of customer interactions occur over the phone, so the phone is really the most effective and convenient channel for delivering service. Although voice technology has had limitations in the past, it has matured to enable reliable, practical and effective solutions for the enterprise.
Q. What are some of the misconceptions customers have about speech technologies and how have your solutions eased their fears?
A. We have all experienced old, cumbersome DTMF systems that created a poor impression of automated phone services. Those experiences are at the root of negative misconceptions. The availability of new customer service capabilities and call dialogs that integrate multiple technologies are changing callers' and service providers' views. In the last five years, we have witnessed the proliferation of innovative voice technologies and mainstream adoption of speech worldwide.
Q. Do you have any additional thoughts that you would like to share?
A. We are on the ground floor of yet another new way of doing business: v-Business. We're at the beginning of a new era where the expectations can actually meet the reality. This is exciting for all of us in the industry.