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TalkTalk is using speech recognition software in a bid to improve the experience of customers calling its contact centre.

Sarah Bramwell, Head of Interactive Voice Response and Telephony at the broadband, TV and home phone provider, claimed that customers "really hate" having to navigate through telephone menu systems.

She described the process when calling contact centres as being typically "tedious and time consuming", as well as inefficient - challenges TalkTalk has sought to overcome.

"We handle tens of thousands of calls from customers and people interested in joining us every day," Ms Bramwell stated. "They call to ask about products or services, upgrade or seek technical advice."

She said the service provider has more customers than ever before, and they are looking for a quick and efficient way to contact the company.

"We had already made the telephone menu system as fast and straightforward as possible, gaining industry recognition, and decided to look for a better way of handling customer calls," Ms Bramwell added.

She noted that voice recognition software has come a long way over the years, and is now highly sophisticated, and capable of handling complex requests.

TalkTalk launched a new, interactive voice recognition system in August 2013, to replace most of the existing telephone menu options.

"Now people can call TalkTalk, enter their home phone number, and simply tell us in their own words what they are calling about," Ms Bramwell stated.

She explained that there are more than 300 unique automated call paths at present, and this is soon to increase to 500.

As such, customers are far more likely to get the information they need straight away, or to be routed through to somebody who can help them, Ms Bramwell added.

She said the upshot of this is happier customers and lower costs.

"The system has already increased overall customer satisfaction with TalkTalk, and reduced the number of calls being transferred to customer contact centres," Ms Bramwell added.

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