While the Holiday Season will be full of fond memories and happy gift giving, this year may also introduce many to the darker side of technology; Technical telephone support. As many of you will be getting new gadgets this year, getting those gadgets to work properly may require longs waits for tech-support with your phone wedged between your ear and shoulder while Muzak rewires your brain with bland renditions of iRudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeeri.
Thanks to 2 ex-Apple engineers, those waits from Hell may change, if you donit mind dealing with machines instead. According to a Wired News article, a company called TuVox has a system that allows folks to get some of the more common answers to questions with less waiting and with fewer "For blah, blah, blah, press 5," menus.
The TuVox system uses voice recognition to allow callers to get answers to common problems by stating their questions as if they were talking to a human. From the article, The New Voice of Tech Support:
Retailers annually dread the post-Christmas rush of people returning presents that donit fit, donit match, donit work or simply arenit wanted. But the return counter isnit the only place gift-getters turn after Christmas.
They also flood customer service phone lines, waiting on hold for hours for help using their new laptops to conquer the Roman Empire or for advice on how to record a dozen bowl games with their new digital video recorders.
But some might get lucky this year: Instead of enduring hours of Muzak, they will find a technological solution to their technical problems.
A number of companies, including game maker Activision and digital video recorder company TiVo, have deployed voice-recognition software from TuVox that reduces wait time and walks customers through solutions to the most common product snafus.
Most phone-based systems require a customer to navigate down through a series of menus before getting close to learning their balance or even finding the right customer service branch. The brilliance of TuVox is that a customer can quickly move deep into the system from the first prompt by stating a problem, such as "How do I set up my TiVo?"
The system then says that the closest match is "How do I set up my DVR?" Once the customer accepts this response, another voice talks the customer through identifying the DVR model, and then takes the customer to a list of possible tutorials including how to hook up the DVR cables or program the universal remote to control a stereo system.