Dallas311 Adds Natural Language IVR from Nuance

The City of Dallas has rolled out a significant update to its Dallas311 city information phone system, powered by Nuance Communications, that will give residents easier access to city resources. By implementing Nuance's Conversational IVR (interactive voice response) with natural language understanding, Dallas311 is enabling its customers to get to information through natural, conversational dialogue.

Historically, Dallas311 has faced challenges with its caller experience, due in large part to limited IVR functionality and extensive phone trees, which also led to lengthier calls, higher average handle time, and higher overall call center traffic. With the new Nuance NLU system, Easy Speak, Dallas311 now allows people to simply say what they want in their own words to get to the information they need. By engaging callers in a conversational dialogue and directing them to the right information from the start, Dallas311 intends to reduce the overall time that people spend on the phone, as well as avoid misrouted calls and unnecessary call transfers. The new system can also help agents limit the time they spend routing and transferring calls.

Getting information from Dallas311 will now be as simple as having a conversation. Callers to Dallas311 will now hear a prompt asking them: "How can I help you today?" and they can respond naturally, in their own terms.

"Our primary goal with the new IVR system from Nuance is to make it easy, fast, and convenient for people to get information," said Margaret Wright, assistant director of Dallas311, in a statement. "Adding natural language capabilities to our IVR allows us to quickly get callers to the right place to find what they need, minimizing their time on the phone. It also cuts the time that our city agents spend redirecting and transferring calls and allows them to focus on answering questions. It's a win for both citizens and for Dallas311 in terms of increased convenience and more effective and efficient city services."

"The City of Dallas is demonstrating real leadership when it comes to innovation in the call center," said Robert Weideman, executive vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Division at Nuance, in a statement. "They had a vision to reinvent their caller experience with conversational technology, and that vision has led to a natural language system that will not only provide a more convenient experience for the caller, but a more efficient process for Dallas311 through increased automation, reduced call duration, and fewer agent-to-agent transfers."

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