Speech Plus Inc also has an agreement with Michigan Bell Telephone Co for development of a new customer inquiry service based on the CallText voice output products. The new service, called Business Office Voice Response System, is an automated telephone system calculated to infuriate Michigan Bell customers who have inquiries about their telephone bills by trying to hold a conversation with them. When it is complete, the phone company hopes that the service will speed up response to customer inquiries, and eventually enable customers to make inquiries outside regular office hours, explains Speech Plus. The Speech Plus product will expedite service for our customers with routine inquiries, and thereby extend the ability of our service representatives to handle the more complex situations, says the phone company. When customers call for information, their calls will be handled by the Speech Plus system. The system will greet the caller and ask for an identification number to be entered using the telephone push-buttons. The conversation continues, with voice prompts from the system guiding the caller. The system will be able to retrieve such frequently-requested information as current amount due, past due amount and payments made. All transactions will be logged to provide an audit trail and management reporting – but the partners haven’t explained what the system will do when you’ve called to complain about your bill, and strongly object to being fobbed off with programmed responses from a dumb computer.
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