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Method and Apparatus for Operator-Controlled Dynamic Persona Selection

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000124920D
Original Publication Date: 2005-May-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-May-13
Document File: 2 page(s) / 55K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Speech technology is often used to provide customer service and replaces human call center operators. However, in all call centers, complete replacement of operators is ill-advised, due to the complexity of services provided, caller needs, service quality expectations, and several other reasons specific to each call center. As an alternative approach, speech technology may be implemented to complement the human operator, creating a human-technology system in which the operator and technology each have a unique and symbiotic role in providing services to callers. Even when a speech technology solution does not fully replace operators, operators often feel threatened due to potential loss of employment. This issue becomes a critical success factor during implementation, because operator perception of the solution may influence how callers view the technology and, in turn, negatively impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. To alleviate this problem, some speech technology vendors advocate operator training about speech technology, but this approach may not completely address operator anxiety and does little to explicitly demonstrate that the system works with operators to provide customer service. The current invention goes a step further by providing a method and apparatus that operators use to control user interface characteristics of a speech application, thereby giving them a role in how the speech interface sounds to users.

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Method and Apparatus for Operator -Controlled Dynamic Persona Selection

The invention is a method and apparatus for operator control of a speech user interface. The method is the unique interaction between the caller, operator, speech application user interface, and an operator toolkit (apparatus). The operator toolkit allows operators to select one or more auditory elements of a speech user interface for playback to users. Using the toolkit, the operator will select a voice and/or auditory environment (music, auditory icons, etc.) of the user interface. The decision about what to be played may depend on the operator's own interaction with the user, operator preference, or other business rules.

There are advantages of this apparatus and method for both call center operators and callers (speech application users). For operators, the advantage is that they will have actual control over tangible aspects of a user interface as a component of a total customer service experience. Operator control is important to alleviate potential anxiety about the implications of speech technology for continued employment. By providing operator control over customer-facing aspects of a speech application, operators will be more likely to view a speech solution favorably and help increase customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and overall return on investment (cost savings) for a call center. In addition, the toolkit itself provides for ease of use, because operators will select desired voices (or other aspects of the speech application) from a simple graphical user interface.

For users, the advantage is that they receive a customized, personalized user experience based on their preferences (or other business rules). To the user, selection of operator-controlled SUI design components is an invisible but rapid process, which may be commented on or otherwise acknowledged by the human operator. In additio...