Consumers give the ‘Thumbs-Up’ to Speech Recognition as Adoption and Satisfaction Rates Continue to Increase

London, UK - 11 September 2006

Fluency’s 2006 consumer perception survey into speech recognition highlights the emerging and future trends for speech and identifies the transactions most suited to speech technology according to its 100 participants-

Fluency Voice Technology, the speech recognition application company, has today unveiled the early findings of its 2006 Consumer Perception Survey into Speech Recognition. The survey, which was conducted on behalf of Fluency Voice during July and August 2006, captures consumers’ views, experiences, likes and dislikes through a series of face to face interviews and by asking consumers to pilot sample transactions using speech, ranging from paying a gas and council tax bill to transferring bank funds.

The Fluency 2006 survey follows on from the tremendously successful 2005 survey which was the first of its kind to provide insight and perspective into how consumers view speech recognition systems, and today’s results highlight a year on year increase in acceptance, usage and positive perception of speech recognition amongst the consumers who participated in the survey.
Consumers across the UK, ranging in age groups from under 25 to over 60 participated in these face to face interviews during July and August 2006.

Interviews lasted between 30-40 minutes. The survey concentrated on key areas including how consumers view and use speech technology; comparisons with using live agents and touch tone systems, frequency and ease of use and queue waiting and tolerance with live and automated systems. Interviewees then underwent live speech trials for everyday transactions to assess which transactions best lend themselves to speech technology. Insight is also given into additional everyday transactions that consumers either felt confident or unconfident to conduct using speech technology.

Survey highlights include:
Technology usage
• Almost three quarters (74%) of the sample surveyed have used speech technology.
• 58% of interviewees had used a speech system recently and 88% of those found it easy to use (consistent across age groups, region and gender).
• 69% state that speech recognition has improved with 22% undecided. This number is significantly higher amongst the younger participants with 92% stating that speech recognition has improved.
• 58% of participants positively endorse using speech as an alternative to the Internet for purchasing items. This increases to 66% if the participants could get a better purchasing deal.

Experiences with speech
• Of the participants who had used speech technology recently (58%), the most common transaction was finding a balance (59%) followed by booking a ticket (43%) and checking train or flight schedules (41%). Over a third has used it to pay a bill or fine (36%).
• When asked their preference for using a virtual speech based system versus waiting in queue to speak to a real agent, more than half (54%) still prefer waiting in a queue to speak to a real agent. However just over a third (37%) of all respondents would prefer speaking to a virtual agent and this is even higher amongst the younger ages - 54%: under 25 years; 50%: 26 to 35 years.
• The main attractions of the speech system are that it will speed things up (65%) and avoid having to wait in a queue (49%).
• Most consumers (80%) would prefer to continue to wait in a queue after 2 minutes than use a speech system. However after 5 minutes this drops to 46% with 54% now happy to use the speech system and after 10 minutes the portion preferring to wait has dropped to 28% with 72% happy to use the speech system.

Speech System Trials
• Participants were asked to trial the speech system across different sectors by dialing a number and trying a transaction. Transactions were conducted across Travel/Transport, Public Sector, Utilities, Banking and Retail and the vast majority successfully completed all transactions.
• The top 3 preferred transactions for using speech across verticals were:

Travel/Transport- Catalogue/brochure requests (88%), check ticket status (83%) & check arrival/departure time (80%)
Public Sector- Location of services (90%), status of local services, reception & directory services (85%).
Utilities- Give meter reading (91%), check balance (84%) & getting service updates (76%)
Retail Banking- Find nearest branch or ATM (84%), request a statement (77%) & obtain account information (77%)
Retail- Catalogue/brochure requests (86%), finding nearest store (84%) and check order status (82%) & order product (77%).
Insurance- Get a quick quote, checking insurance renewal date (77%) and checking no claims bonus (76%).

Jessica Davies is Marketing Manager at Fluency Voice and spearheads this and previous speech recognition surveys. “This year’s survey has yielded a tremendous response with consumers taking the time to give us a unique snapshot of their views and insights into speech technology usage trends. The survey confirms that speech recognition technology is growing in use and is recognised amongst consumers as a predominant channel for communicating with both private and public sector organisations.” Jessica added, “This increased adoption and satisfaction amongst consumers is invaluable to us as suppliers, and our customers and prospects as service providers, in giving insight into the current and future demands of our customers leaving us uniquely positioned to respond with appropriate services and technology.”

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