Speech recognition for Neiman Marcus customers
Continuing nearly a century's tradition of customer service, US retailer Neiman Marcus hopes to add to customer satisfaction with four speech-enabled customer service applications that allow 24 hour access to payment histories and credit card, loyalty programme and gift card balances by telephone.
The firm aims to make the customer's shopping experience as good as possible, and speech recognition was at the top of the list for ensuring customers can get the information they want - when they need it, from any telephone, anywhere. "As a retailer of luxury goods, our mission is to give customers the best of the best throughout the entire shopping experience," said Earl McKoon, a telecommunications analyst at Neiman Marcus.
Key benefits Over 65,000 customers have used the new speech systems since they were deployed earlier this year. The applications can understand a wide variety of accents, and provide a number of services:
- Customer service: Using speech recognition, customers can speak naturally into any telephone to hear their credit card balance, payment and billing history.
- InCircle balance: Members of the firm's InCircle rewards programme can obtain their points balance.
- Gift cards: Customers can get balance information for Neiman Marcus gift cards by simply speaking their gift card number (rather than entering the numbers through a touch-tone telephone).
- Accounts payable: All vendors and suppliers can obtain their payment and account histories whenever they need to.
Cost savings The technology behind the applications comes from InterVoice-Brite, including some elements of SpeechWorks International software. The system provides callers with the ability to simply speak their requests without having to use touch-tone menus, or wait for a customer service representative to become available. This means that call durations and the associated costs are reduced.
McKoon added, "We are very pleased with the applications, and are considering additional customer service speech applications."