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Fluency Virtual Agents: The New Voice of Standard Life Banking

London, UK – February 6th , 2006 – Fluency Voice Technology, the speech recognition company, today announced that Standard Life Bank, one of the UK's leading providers of financial services with approximately 400,000 mortgage and savings customers, has launched a virtual agent banking service based on Fluency’s speech recognition technology.

With an array of incoming customer call enquiries the virtual banking agents enable Standard Life Bank to automate much of its incoming call centre call traffic, and in addition, allow customers to speak normally in their own words to achieve their purpose in calling. This eliminates caller frustration with listening to a continuous loop of menu choices when using traditional touch-tone solutions.

Standard Life selected the Fluency Retail Banking Hub™, a custom suite of speech enabled applications that allows customers to customise solutions utilising industry specific applications to match their specific business processes. The Retail Banking Hub enables Standard Life to quickly identify and verify their callers before allowing them access to information such bank balance, transfer funds and make a deposit or withdrawal.

Around 20% of financial services call centres have already deployed speech recognition and the number is set to soar in 2006 with the arrival of ‘off-the-shelf’ packaged solutions such as the VSA Suite, which has proven success within the banking sector.

Paul Barnes, Sales & Marketing Director at Fluency says; “The availability of packaged speech applications has presented retail-banking institutions with a complimentary new channel for managing customer contacts. Fluency has experienced a lot of traction in the retail banking market and welcome Standard Life into its expanding base of banking clients”

The virtual agents are proving to be very successful for banks as customers welcome the new interactive voices over touchtone systems. This is due to the fact that customers can now self-serve their requests; average hold times and call length time are reduced. This in turn reduces telecommunication charges and also improves the customer experience.

Laura Thornton, Standard Life Press Officer, says: “Customers warm to the virtual bank agents and see the huge benefits these systems offer over traditional touchtone menu choices. To date, 56% of all calls are serviced without any agent intervention and 90% of the identification and verification is done by the system. We are currently using the virtual bank agents on our savings products and are planning a roll out to our mortgage customers in 2006.” Laura continues, “The Fluency speech system was the obvious choice for Standard Life due to their proven experience in the banking sector. The ‘off-the-shelf- nature of the application meant that we didn’t have the cost and risk of a bespoke development.”