Ken Jackowitz, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, NetByTel; and William Sokol, Director of Strategy & Marketing, SYKES

Q Can you give us a brief description of both NetByTel and SYKES?

NetByTel NetByTel is the worldwide leader in the rapidly expanding market for voice-enabled self-service. Answering millions of calls with more deployed solutions than anyone in the voice recognition industry, NetByTel knows the business of customer self-service. NetByTel is the premier solution to manage customer telephone interactions with ready-to-deploy automated speech recognition. As an application service provider (ASP) of voice self-service solutions, NetByTel's solutions require no capital expenditures and a nominal implementation fee, providing a low-risk entry to voice self-service solutions for its clients. With flexible per minute or per transaction model, there are no hidden hardware, software, maintenance, licensing, or enhancement costs.

SYKES SYKES is a global leader in providing customer management solutions and services to external and internal customers of companies primarily in the technology/consumer, communications and financial services markets. SYKES specializes in providing flexible, high quality customer-care outsourcing with an emphasis on technical support and customer service. These services are delivered through multiple communication channels encompassing phone, e-mail, web and chat. SYKES complements its customer-care services with technical staffing and fulfillment services - delivering solutions that are tailored to meet each company's unique requirements. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, SYKES operates 40 customer support centers and four in Asia and Africa.

Q Why did SYKES select NetByTel?

NetByTel SYKES has always provided its customer base with exceptional value and leading-edge technology. As the marketplace has begun to ask for lower-cost, high quality customer service solutions, SYKES recognized that speech recognition was the best answer. Adding speech recognition allows SYKES to address a segment of the market that simply could never justify the time and expense of live agents. Once SYKES decided to offer speech recognition, NetByTel was a logical partner because they offer existing configurable solutions, which means easier, faster deployments; its unique model of providing ongoing tuning and maintenance as part of the service; and its expertise in integration into client back-end systems.

SYKES SYKES selected NetByTel for three main reasons (1) the completeness of their service offerings in terms of existing applications, integration and ongoing maintenance and tuning (2) The flexibility and economy of their ASP model and (3) the experience and strength of the management team and their financial backing.

Q Can you please explain what this partnership entails?

NetByTel SYKES resells NetByTel's full line of solutions as co-branded products. We work together to build and deploy speech recognition solutions that complement SYKES' human touch programs. In addition, NetByTel and SYKES will work together in the marketing and selling of the solutions and have jointly created an information resource at www.netbytel.com/sykes.

SYKES While essentially a reseller agreement, SYKES and NetbyTel will work together to build and deploy ASR applications that complement human touch programs in an array of vertical industries.

Q What does this offering bring to Sykes current customers? Why do it now?

NetByTel Many of SYKES' customers are looking for ways to reduce costs, including off-loading some of their calls away from live agents. For many solutions, touchtone automation can't work or simply is not a customer-friendly alternative. For these customers, NetByTel's speech recognition solutions are a perfect alternative. There is also a set of customers that simply cannot afford live agents (because of cost and/or time constraints). NetByTel's solutions open up a new market for SYKES to cater to these customers.

In addition, NetByTel has already developed configurable solutions that are specific to many of SYKES' key vertical industry targets. For example, Sykes has a strong presence in the utility and telecommunications verticals. NetByTel provides solutions for account services, name/address change, service status, problem reporting, and more. SYKES also has a foothold in the financial services industry, and NetByTel is able to offer these customers branch/ATM locators, balance/payment history, mortgage servicing and other solutions.

We decided to do this now, because the live agent outsourced call center market needs speech recognition as a lower-cost alternative to live agents and as a more customer-friendly alternative to touchtone. Additionally, there has been a growing threat of off-shore outsourcing of live agent services, and NetByTel is a viable solution for companies wanting to keep their services on-shore to maintain quality control, yet still helping to reduce overall costs.

SYKES Every one of SYKES customers is looking for ways to cut costs. By leveraging ASR as a call-deflecting strategy, SYKES can continue to provide high quality voice services for those transactions that require them while handling the rest efficiently and effectively via automation.

We decided to do this now because speech technology has become a growing trend, and more and more customers feel comfortable using it on a regular basis. The human factors element NetByTel has added makes callers act and feel as if they were talking to a live agent, so we are able to maintain our high standards of customer satisfaction.

Q Has any customer deployed the joint offering? If so, please describe the offering.

NetByTel This is a new relationship for us, and we are currently working with SYKES to target their existing customer base with solutions that will fit their needs. We have not announced any joint customers yet, but several have been identified and we are in the process of finalizing those opportunities now.

SYKES The partnership is very new, so we have not yet announced any joint customers.

Q What types of deployments will this partnership improve upon from the current capabilities of Sykes' Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) deals?

NetByTel For SYKES' current deployments, it offers them the ability to convert some of their clients' non-revenue generating and repetitive calls that are being taken by live agents to NetByTel's solutions in an effort to reduce overall costs. In addition, it opens the door to allowing hybrid phone calls where NetByTel's solutions take the first part of the call, collect some information and then transfer the call and the information to the live agent - we call this triaging the call. This allows the live agents to spend more quality time with callers and reduce callers' wait time on hold.

SYKES It has applicability across the board.

Q How can speech recognition functionality add value to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) deals for the outsourcer, enterprise and/or customer?

NetByTel Speech recognition allows the outsourcer to offer a lower-cost alternative to live agents, yet still maintain quality control over the calls. It also opens up the market for the outsourcer to go after customers that cannot afford the cost of live agents or who have call spike times that may make it difficult to hire and train call center agents for temporary use (such as holiday shopping, advertising campaigns, etc.) The enterprise benefits because it can obtain the same high-quality customer service at a lower cost. The customer sees value, because they don't sit on hold and they get faster, higher-quality and more extensive service.

SYKES Speech recognition provides, economy, consistency, and scalability. All of these attributes are more than attractive to outsourcer and client alike.

Q Is this partnership focused on North American clients or a global partnership?

We are starting this as a North American agreement with the ability to expand.

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