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Time Warner Cable Adds Speech Recognition To Customer Service Line

Time Warner Cable has activated a call-center application that lets subscribers who call the MSO's customer-service line simply speak commands into their phone -- such as "pay my bill" or "add HBO."

Voice equipment vendor Avaya developed the interactive voice response system, which uses the advanced Speech Attendant solution developed by Nuance.

The new speech-recognition system is designed to be simpler and faster to use than traditional IVRs. And while most customers would prefer to speak to an actual human operator, the automated systems save time and money, TWC spokesman Matthew Tremblay wrote in a blog post describing the new system.

"We have roughly 13 million customers, and a few seconds or minutes here or there for each customer can really add up to longer hold times and higher staffing costs -- which makes cable rates climb," Tremblay said.

Time Warner Cable's Enterprise Speech IVR lets customers speak their account number without needing to enter it on the phone keypad. Then they are able to add services; pay their bill; check their balance; get basic troubleshooting help for cable, Internet and home phone services; learn if there are any outages that might be affecting service; and find out the locations and hours of TWC retail stores.