Conventional banking services that use DTMF telephone dialling require users to enter multiple numbers and navigate complicated layers of menus. Deutsche Bank's lean menu structure and voice recognition capabilities make it easier and quicker than ever before for customers to access its large portfolio of services. These benefits are due to the deployment of Philips' SpeechMania platform which enables callers to speak naturally in their own words and accents, regardless of pauses, grammatical errors or speed of speech.
After simply dialling the access number the system welcomes the caller by asking "How can I help you?" The caller then requests a particular service and is immediately connected. The new portal offers access to such services as checking account balances, money transfers, status of standing order payments, currency exchange values, payments abroad, requesting or changing personal identification number (PIN) and information on financial products. Standardized services like these are increasingly speech-enabled, although Deutsche Bank's bank portal gives callers the choice of using the automated system or agent assistance.
Ruud van Vessem, chief operating officer at Philips Speech Processing and Telephony Solutions, commented: "Deutsche Bank is a forward looking and customer oriented organisation which has reinforced its position in the market by deploying the latest speech technology. Like many organisations today, Deutsche Bank was keen to implement a cost-effective way of improving customer service. The feedback from users has so far been overwhelmingly positive as they can access the information they require in a way that fits into their busy modern lifestyles - a factor that is likely to help the bank retain its customers in today's highly competitive market."
By improving the level of services through the speech-enabled portal, Deutsche Bank now benefits from increased efficiency and greater customer satisfaction due to increased convenience and security. In addition, the burden placed on call centre agents by misrouted calls and re-connections is avoided. Call centre agents are therefore better able to focus on advisory, value-adding services. The new service has improved customers' perception of Deutsche Bank, users consider it to be a progressive bank with a totally modern image that has moved with the times and is truly future-oriented.
The Philips speech technology platform was deployed for the Deutsche Bank portal in close co-operation with Teradata, a division of NCR Corporation. Philips has a long commercial partnership with Teradata who specialises in data warehousing and solution implementation for banks and other financial institutions. Teradata was primarily responsible for the general system integration and the development and conversion of the dialogue for the existing DTMF and keyword-based services.
The project commenced in 1999 by first upgrading the bank's DTMF system to support additional services. Deutsche Bank decided that it could further improve its service by installing a speech-enabled portal and chose Philips' speech-technology platform for its base. The system was tested in a pilot project in mid-2002 with approximately 20 per cent of the bank's customers who were randomly selected and informed by phone requesting their participation.
The pilot was highly successful, obtaining a recognition rate of more than 90 per cent.
Philips has pioneered speech recognition technology and has developed a number of natural dialogue software packages that benefit from the largest available vocabulary - more than one million words - and the most extensive language portfolio in the industry. The company has successfully deployed its state-of-the-art speech technology in banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions all over the world, tailored to their human factor and dialogue design requirements. Customers include; Dutch Postbank, SEB Bank, OHRA Verzekeringen, Fimatex (France), Cortal (France), Cathy Life Insurance (Taiwan), AETNA (US), Guardian Life (US), Merrill Lynch (US).
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