Intervoice System Reduces Calls for Michigan Department of Treasury

DALLAS, TX - The Michigan Department of Treasury handled more than 1.4 million phone calls during the 2003 tax season from January to June with its speech-enabled system from Intervoice Inc. (Nasdaq: INTV), a two-fold increase over last year in the number of taxpayers served. The Intervoice system reduced the number of calls handled by live agents for the state tax agency by 30 percent. The project was completed and fully deployed in the company's fiscal year ending February 28, 2002. Supplying financial, tax and administrative services to Michigan citizens, the Michigan Department of Treasury received 4.5 million tax returns in 2003. The Treasury Department's Computerized Return Information System (CRIS) from Intervoice off-loaded redundant inquiries and provided customer service seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The state's automated system provided callers with the ability to speak their requests without having to listen to traditional touch-tone menus or interact with customer service representatives. Four speech-enabled applications are currently deployed: Current-year return-status; estimated payments; prior-year returns; pre-recorded tax tips. According to Intervoice, calls handled by the speech-enabled system cost the department about 7 cents a call as compared to 15 cents per call in 2002. Over 99 percent of calls are handled by the speech-enabled system. "The Michigan strategy has been to provide three identical sources of data: the IVR, the Web and the call center and gradually push traffic toward the two self service options, allowing the call center to handle the most complex calls," said Stephen Hilker, director of the Michigan Department of Treasury's Customer Service Center. "As the backbone of that strategy, the Intervoice solution has doubled the number of customer contacts without significant cost increases." "By implementing automation technology that reduces costs and empowers its customer service agents to provide better service, the department is truly illustrating a change in the way government agencies can work for their constituents," said Bob Ritchey, President of Intervoice. "Furthermore, the design of a friendly, competent speech recognition system makes Michigan taxpayers willing and able to continuously use the automated system. We look forward to tracking the department's success in next year's tax season and beyond."
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