City Cabs Beat Telephone Queue Blues

EDINBURGH, Scotland -Local black cab company City Cabs (Edinburgh) Limited has found a high-tech way to ensure that customers can book taxis quickly however busy the phone lines. City Cabs managers had noticed that it was next to impossible to predict when the phone lines were going to be at their busiest and arrange extra staff cover for those peaks, resulting in frustration for callers eager to book a taxi but unable to get through, resulting in a loss of business for the company.


City Cab managers called in Gold Europe, who set up an automated system to handle overflow calls at busy periods using technology from VoiceGenie and Edinburgh text-to-speech specialists Rhetorical.


At times where all agents are busy answering calls, incoming calls are diverted into the overflow system and greeted by an automated message. The system identifies the number and address from which the caller is dialing, and offers the caller the opportunity to book a cab to that address. If they accept this option, the booking is taken and the cab dispatched immediately. If they require another service, they are returned to the telephone queue.


Two Scottish voices were selected from Rhetorical's range, and the male and female voices answer alternate calls. Callers are welcomed by a simple, "good morning/afternoon/evening . . .welcome to City Cabs fully automated booking service, please wait while I check your address records." The voices sound local, clear and natural, and lead the caller through the few steps to book a cab or wait for help from a human agent.


Peter Campbell, City Cabs (Edinburgh) Limited, company secretary said, "Callers to a taxi office are looking for a quick response in both the answer of the telephone and a taxi to the door, the introduction of text to speech will enhance our ability to do this."


W. O. Smith, Chairman of City Cabs (Edinburgh) Limited picked up a copy of the business pages of a morning newspaper last summer which included an article on Rhetorical Systems text to voice technology, made contact with Rhetorical, who are customers of City Cabs, and the rest, as they say, is history.


Smith said, "City Cabs employ just under 50 staff to take calls. Often through no fault of the agents it is impossible to get the type of response the customer expects. Text to voice technology is just what we at City Cabs have been looking for. Stage one has now been implemented and we look forward with interest to discover what text to speech technology can do to improve our customer service."

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