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Customers in Romania? Have Them Speak to 'Carmen'
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Customers in Romania? Have Them Speak to 'Carmen'

May 21, 2008
By Brendan B. Read
Senior Contributing Editor

Romania is an increasing prosperous country, whose economy is expected to expand between five and seven percent in 2008. The nation, which has nearly 22 million residents, joined the European Union in 2007.

That growth means widening markets for goods and services and with this an increased need for contact centers to provide customer care, support, and sales.

While labor costs are low in Romania compared with that in Western European countries and the U.S., contact centers serving that country faces the same challenges as their counterparts elsewhere in managing call volumes, staffing requirements, and expenses.

There is now help available for Romanian-serving contact centers. ‘Her’ name is Carmen. ‘She’ is the first high quality synthetic Romanian-language voice and ‘works’ in IVONA Telecom TTS speech recognition application, developed and marketed by IVO Software, which is based in Poland.

With the release, banking, insurance, telco, and other contact centers can now integrate Carmen into their Romania-serving customer care programs. Carmen’s system avoids time-consuming pre-recordings and multiple message preparation. ‘She’ can speak to large audiences: more than 100 calls simultaneously by using a single core processor.
Carmen joins her ‘friends’, Jacek and Ewa who can talk to Polish-speaking callers, and who were the first members of the IVONA Telecom TTS ‘family’, along with Jennifer, who can converse with Americans.
Carmen may have more company soon. IVO plans to introduce German and British-accented English-speaking applications. Together they can also enable a central/eastern European, or US or UK offshore Polish or Romanian contact center to provide speech recognition in addition to live agent services.
Carmen can also help those with special needs. IVO Software released IVONA Reha – a solution for the visually impaired people. It lets Carmen read out texts loud in a natural voice. Following the show IVO will be distributing the IVONA Reha application demo disk with Expressivo text to speech readers to these individuals through Romania’s visually impaired organizations and magazines.
Carmen and her acquaintances are able to reach out to others in part because the software now supports the Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) standard, which makes the integration and support process easier than ever. MRCP allows VoiceXML (News - Alert) browsers to work with third party ASR, TTS, and SI/SV servers using a standard protocol, according to the VoiceXML Forum.  Many of IVO Software’s potential clients delayed acquiring the product until it supported MRCP.
“We bring the highest, state-of-the-art technology to the Romanian users,” says IVO Software president Lukasz Osowski. ”The synthetic voice and MRCP support makes the IVONA Telecom TTS an ideal solution allowing to reduce costs and enhance quality of customers service in IVR and call center systems”.
Brendan B (News - Alert). Read is TMCnet’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
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