One in three prefer speech recognition to a real person

Advancements in open dialogue capabilities fuelling growth.

Chidiac said that in his decade of experience in the communications industry, the return on investment for speech recognition systems had been on average around 9 months.

"In the traditional IVR world people will press 0 or push a button straight away and not even try to use self service which is detrimental to the company and the consumer hasn't got what they wanted because they then have to wait in a queue.

"The turnaround now is they are willing to use the SRS rather than wait which is a significant thing for an organisaiton. Of course they are saving money by doing that, but the customer is getting what they want which is more important.," he said.

Dr Wallace said that the Callcentres.net study found that customers who were particularly satisfied with the SRS rated it highly chiefly because it was easy to use and understand, fast and problem free.

"Other than the customer speaking to a real life customer service rep, in every other case 59 percent said they would rather use speech than touch tone, 66 percent said they would rather use speech than the Internet, 78 percent would use it over email, 80 percent prefer speech to SMS, and 83 percent would rather use speech than web chat.

"And in fact 32 percent said they would rather use speech than actually speak to a person, so even a third are saying 'give me speech if it works I'll use it every time'," she said.

The survey also gauged how long people were willing to wait on hold before preferring to use an SRS: In 2005 that number stood at an average of 2 minutes. In the latest survey, 57 percent said they would prefer to use an SRS over waiting less than 30 seconds on hold.

On the flipside, 42 out of 262 respondents said they were dissatisfied with their speech recognition experience, predominantly because the system didn't understand their voice and they had to repeat themselves, it was too time consuming, or because the system picked up background noise.

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