In 2005, Lillian Vernon call center staff logged a total of 24 million minutes on phone calls with customers placing, changing and double-checking their orders. This year, Cernjul had the task of improving customer service at a price that would keep his CEO in good cheer.
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Cernjul found an answer in speech recognition technology from Spoken Communications. "I don't know of another speech recognition or speech technology that offers a guided service," Cernjul says. Lillian Vernon's new system allows for a service representative -- or "guide" -- to monitor the progress of calls on a screen and even eavesdrop when necessary. Guides receive an alert when callers aren't making progress and can steer them to the right person without customers' knowledge. "We did a quick proof of concept at a call center, and immediately we saw the benefits," says Cernjul.
He sold the $200,000 deployment to Lillian Vernon's CEO on the promise of an estimated $100,000 cost savings in the first year and an average 12-second improvement in call resolution time.
In less than a week, the company saw an average improvement of 31 seconds per call. Problem solved.
Ellen O'Brien, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a senior editor at Storage magazine. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.