Rhetorical banks on Sparda deal

World famous bank deploys text-to-speech technology

SCOTLAND, 20th October 2003, Rhetorical, the leading developer of text-to-speech (TTS) technology has announced a deal with Sparda Bank Hamburg, the largest cooperative bank in Northern Germany. The deal, part of an all inclusive package to eliminate touch tone calls, uses Rhetorical’s German rVoice™ to provide customers with details of accounts, the ability to pay bills and an ATM location service.

The deal is the latest collaboration for Rhetorical and speech technology integrator SemanticEdge, bringing together the best in speech technology to create a system, which handles over 50,000 customer service calls a month and has dramatically reduced the amount of time Sparda’s 140,000 customers spend on the phone. The clear, natural tones of rVoice™ allow customers to instantly carry out basic banking functions without endless menus, hold music, button pushing or waiting in queues.

Rhetorical CEO Marc Moens explained:

"This project clearly demonstrates the power of our technology across Europe. Germany is a huge market and a country with a very innovative approach to business and industry."

"The financial world is always a difficult market to crack. There is no room for mistakes or poor quality when you are dealing with such important information. SemanticEdge have done a great job in putting together a system that eradicates call queuing and pointless button pushing. This has finally been made possible by advances in the TTS technology which instantly reads the requested data from the server and relays it to the user in a natural, easy to understand voice."

The service has now gone live after a successful testing period, and uses speech recognition software to listen to the users inquiry before responding through the rVoice interface. Setting up the system has required a huge coordinated effort.

SemanticEdge CEO Lupo Pape explained:
"When a customer wants to make a payment, the system will recognize the name of the recipient and the purpose of the payment. When a customer asks about the cash machine nearest to his current location, or he wants to let the bank know of a change of address, the system will recognise all place names and street names. The system has an extremely high customer acceptance across this wide range of automated services. We are very proud of the fact that we put in place such a successful system for the Sparda-Bank in collaboration with Rhetorical."

In total 50 different services have been automated. Despite the complexity of such an operation the installation went very smoothly with minimal disruption to either the business or the customers.

Juergen Mehring, responsible for this project at Sparda-Bank, is enthusiastic about Rhetorical's text-to-speech solution:

"We had a lot of very positive reactions from our customers when we launched the new voice portal. Our customers confirmed our view of the clarity and intelligibility of Rhetorical's text-to-speech as used in the telephone banking applications. The result is an enhanced service for our customers which also confirms our image as a modern and innovative service provider."

"Both the implementation of the system and ensuring it conforms to our specific requirements were done very quickly and without any complications by Rhetorical and SemanticEdge."

Press Contact:
Martin Allen
IndigoPR
Tel: 0131 554 1230

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