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Tenn.-Based Bank Adds Speech Recognition

Enterprise National Bank offers customers the option of self-service phone banking with voice.

Enterprise National Bank is the latest community bank to offer customers the option of self-service phone banking with voice.

The Tennessee-based institution has added a speech-enabled Vista Interactive Media Response (IMR) solution from Syntellect, a provider of speech-enabled self-service software.

The bank purchased the Vista solution in conjunction with its purchase of Horizon, a browser-based, relational database banking system from Alltel Information Services.

Speech recognition is an extension of Enterprise National Bank's philosophy of personalized service, according to Debbie Gleason, senior vice president of operations at the $235 million bank.

"Speech recognition will allow our customers to access information and transactions in a pleasant, easy-to-use format, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing a higher level of customer service," Gleason said.

Speech-enabled applications help to create satisfied customers and decrease customer contact costs, Gleason noted. "Voice recognition is the future of banking customer service."

Over the past year, Syntellect and Alltel Information Services have collaborated on building speech-empowered, self-service applications for Alltel's Horizon core banking system.

"The resulting solution provides banks with powerful, customer-pleasing self-service that, up until now, has been deployed by only a few of the very largest banks," said Mike Allison, vice president of indirect channels at Phoenix-based Syntellect.

Speech interaction reduces the time of a banking call by 35 percent compared to a touchtone call, according to a benchmark study on bank call centers by the Center for Customer-Driven Quality at Purdue University.

Agent-assisted calls in banking cost almost $4 per call compared to automated speech recognition, which costs about 45 cents per call.

Agent-assisted calls can last almost five minutes, have an abandon rate of almost 6 percent and an average hold time of about 37 seconds.

With speech recognition, these costly aspects can be reduced, saving money and allowing live agents to spend time on more complex customer issues, or selling.

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