Ford Trials Complimentary Live Operator Assistance for SYNC Services

Ford is introducing a new feature to its Sync Services called Operator Assist that allows users to instantly connect with a live person for help getting directions or finding a business. It is currently in a beta testing and being offered as a complimentary feature for registered users of SYNC Services. No additional software or hardware is needed.

Operator Assist is only a voice command away, making it part of the growing list of cloud-based driver aids offered by Ford Motor Co. The new feature allows customers to connect with a live person who can quickly access information databases to help drivers get where they're going.

Operator Assist is available for the directions and business search functions of SYNC Services. Seventy percent of all SYNC Services calls are for business search and directions, according to David Gersabeck, product manager of SYNC Services.

If a user says an address or business that the automated system can't identify, the user will be prompted with the option to connect to a live operator. If the user confirms he would like to speak with an operator for further assistance, the system automatically connects the user to the live operator.

When a live operator assists with a business search, the user can choose to receive turn-by-turn directions to the business, receive a text message with name, address, and phone number information about the business (applies to certain phone carrier networks), or be directly connected to the phone number of the business..

"Ford is committed to continuously improving the ownership experience and delivering the level of connectivity that customers want," said Doug VanDagens, director of the Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization. "By leveraging what's available in the cloud, we continue to innovate and improve our customers' experience without having to touch the vehicle or inconvenience the owner."

Cloud-based, on-demand, voice-activated SYNC Services provides access to information about traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes, and movie listings, along with business searches and turn-by-turn directions.

Using advanced vehicle sensors, integrated GPS technology, and comprehensive map and traffic data, the SYNC Services automated system delivers turn-by-turn directions to the user. Further, with access to more than 14 million business listings, SYNC Services' automated system directs users to the businesses they seek.

"Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood," Gersabeck said. "If you want the most reliable user experience, enabling alternative methods for customers to access information will increase success, which is where Operator Assist factors into the equation."

"We want Ford SYNC Services customers to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can get where they're going or want to go," Gersabeck said. "Being able to connect with a live person at any time contributes to that peace of mind."

The live operator services are provided by MyAssist, a leading live assistance and telematics service company for individuals and businesses based in Stevens Point, Wis.

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