Syntellect's Speech Recognition Solution Selected by Questar Gas

PHOENIX, AZ -- Syntellect Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNL), a provider of speech-enabled customer, employee and supply-chain self-service software solutions and hosted services, announced that it has received an order from Questar Gas to design and deploy a Vista Interactive Media Response (IMR) solution. Questar Gas, a natural gas distribution utility serving over 730,000 customers in Utah and portions of Wyoming and Idaho, joins a growing list of energy retailers who are replacing their existing touchtone IVR systems with speech-enabled, self-service software solutions. The Vista IMR solution will complement Questar's online and traditional agent-based call center service options and give customers using a telephone the ability to securely complete a variety of payment and account service transactions. Customers will be able to check their account balances, the payment due date, the payment history, arrange for flexible payment options, request a duplicate bill, update phone numbers or learn about payment locations. "For years, our self-service system and agent-based call center has served our customers well," said Craig Wagstaff, customer relations manager, Questar Gas. "However, better technology and value-priced systems are key when it comes to staying competitive. We believe Syntellect's product will help us meet our customers' needs by providing fast, convenient, caller-friendly, speech-driven options - 24 hours a day, every day and do it economically and efficiently." "Voice-enabled applications are a natural for utility call centers and are set for growth in the market as keypad-based interactive service has saturated large utilities," according to Jennifer Quay Allen, managing editor and information specialist at Atlanta-based Chartwell Inc. Chartwell's energy industry call center research found that almost half of all utilities (and virtually all utilities with 500,000 or more customers)have telephone self-service technologies in place. In addition, as utilities close walk-in offices, they are seeking ways to handle increased call volume without deterioration in service levels, Allen says, leading them to more advanced self-service technologies. "Questar Gas has maintained rates among the lowest in the nation, while preserving its reputation for reliability and helpful service," said Jim Scharpf, vice president of sales for Syntellect. "By adopting our flagship product, Vista Interactive Media Response (IMR), Questar continues to demonstrate their commitment to improved customer service." "We evaluated several suppliers and chose Syntellect's Vista IMR since it is open-standards based," said Barron Kelley, manager of telecommunications for Questar Gas. "Although we'll rely on Syntellect's professional services expertise to design the speech user interface, we want to be able to provide ongoing system administration ourselves on-site. We felt the Vista Gen administration tool was the most flexible and easiest to use. Vista Gen really made the purchase decision easy." Vista IMR gives callers self-service access to data, applications and transactions within an enterprise. Callers typically request information through natural language voice commands and can receive the information via their choice of voice, fax, email, wireless or the Web. The standards-based, client-server architecture of Syntellect's Vista IMR solution provides the foundation to deliver speech-enabled solutions in the contact center plus support sales force automation, field force automation, supply chain management and employee benefits applications, thereby creating an Enterprise Voice Portal.
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