Nuance Announces Winners of Annual Achievement Awards for Speech Best Practice

The Australian Taxation Office, AUSTAR, Certegy, Standard Bank, Telia Sonera and Vodafone Deliver Automated Care Solutions that are Preferred by the Consumer, Increase Customer Satisfaction and Support Overall Brand Development
(PresseBox) (München, ) Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN), a leading provider of speech and imaging solutions, announced the winners of its 2007 Achievement Awards. The awards recognize and honor best practices in speech technology deployment, as well as serving to illustrate how speech technology can transform or greatly improve business efficiencies or levels of customer service and customer care.

Historically, customer care solutions were designed to contain and deflect the consumer. The front door was a gatekeeper. Today, organizations can use that front door as a concierge, providing 24/7 access and support communication via multiple channels.

“More than ever, companies are required to satisfy the expectations of the increasingly savvy, mobile consumer who feels entitled to great service,” said Steve Chambers, president, speech solutions, Nuance. “Meeting this expectation is also an opportunity for differentiation. These award-winners have set themselves apart by creating a care experience that the consumer prefers. Consumers are expecting greater access to -- and response from -- organizations they interact with. If expectations aren’t met, the customer’s voice is greatly amplified through social networks and consumer-generated media. This new environment elevates the role care plays in not only in servicing customers, but in creating brand impressions.”

The categories and the winners of the 2007 Nuance Achievement Awards were announced as:

* The Best Customer Experience Award was won by Vodafone Spain for delivering vastly improved customer satisfaction. Vodafone IVR takes 250 000+ calls a day on average, with 62 percent of the calls fully automated. Customer satisfaction increased with speech versus DTMF by 14 percent, while satisfaction with speech versus agent increased by eight percent.

* The Best Repeat Performance and Commitment to Customer Experience Award was won by Vodafone Australia who have implemented 5 speech applications, including an Auto Attendant Application and Pre-Paid Customer Registration named “Lara” and continue to work towards a truly “branded experience” for its customers. Currently 96 percent to 98 percent of Vodafone’s customers recognize Lara as a Vodafone brand.

* The Achievement Award Americas was won by Certegy, one of the global leaders in payment services for its implementation for three new speech applications: Check Pay By Phone, Authorizations and Check Customer Care. The Check Customer Care application alone resulted in estimated savings of $245k in 5 months.

* The Achievement Award Asia Pacific was won by The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) collected for the implementation of a self-help system using speech recognition. ATO telephone clients are now using normal conversational language to order from a range of more than 400 paper-based publications, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enjoying an enhanced client experience and a reduced level of client dissatisfaction at times of high call demand.

* The Achievement Award Africa and the Middle East was won by Standard Bank for demonstrating improvements in both customer care and agent efficiency. The Bank’s unique personalisation feature has improved customer care by providing a personal profile for each caller. Speaker verification allows callers to identify and verify themselves, saving significant agent time. Over 15% of the customers adopted the speech application within the first month of deployment, with speech subscription overtaking mobile subscription within the first three weeks of deployment. The Nuance application provided Standard Bank with a transaction completion rate of over 90%.

* The Achievement Award Europe was won by Telia Sonera (Sweden) for demonstrating a 15% increase in customer identification using speech versus dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF), which has led to more efficient customer service. In the testing phase, the vast majority (over 80%) of customers expressed a preference for speech over DTMF.

* The Best Use of Technology Award was awarded to AUSTAR, Australia’s regional subscription television provider. AUSTAR’s innovative use of speech technology that incorporates all of Nuance’s core technologies – speech recognition, text to speech, voice verification and call steering – has enabled the organization to offer a range of speech services, including taking movie orders without requiring agent or internet backup. The introduction of the “Box Office” application, combined with the subsequent deployment of Nuance Call Steering, resulted in a 50% reduction of incorrect call traffic to sales staff within the first month of deployment, with initial ROI being achieved in less than 12 months.

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