British Airlines Automates Holiday Requests


British Airlines has created a new customer service platform using a speech solution provided by Rhetorical and Claritas. The system uses a mix of text-to-speech, and voice recognition to help customers order the latest British Airways holiday brochures. The system operates 24 hours a day, can handle 1000 calls per hour and has processed around 10,000 requests since the launch of the service in June 2003.


Fulfilling brochure requests has always been a necessary but expensive process. The costs of manning a contact centre with trained staff are significant so it is vital to a business that those staff are employed to resolve customer problems and queries, brochure requests are often a case of form filling which takes time, is repetitive and unrewarding for staff.


"Technology is at the heart of the airline's fight back. Customer Enabled BA is our plan to transform how customers deal with us while taking costs out of the business. It [speech technology] has already taken an enormous volume of calls out of our contact centre," said Paul Coby, chief information officer for British Airlines.


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