Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Voice Unrecognized

For days, I've been fighting with voice recognition systems. While I'm sure the goal is to make my life easier, here's a few thoughts I have on the systems:

a) I can always press 1 for english, 2 for spanish. But, I can't always say the words "gynecological problem" out loud. Or for that matter "Increase Balance" or "Change Prescription." There are places where "Say the name of your prescription" is not an appropriate next step. Spell? Sure. Say? No.

b) To that point, there are times when we aren't all hiding in a phone booth of silence. Basic office background noise, cars driving by my house, and any number of other things seem to trip up the system to think I am saying "47" when I'm actually saying "Thursday."  This means your system is not ready for prime time yet.

c) Most decent touchtone systems let you press 2 well before Doris the Reader Lady is done reading all 10 options. Most voice response systems do not. I am growing to hate Doris.

d) Everyone knows some combination of swearing, pressing 0, # or * will ultimately get you a human being. There is no obvious way of getting one in the voice world. Assistant? Human? Save me from this Hell?

Invariably, the voice response system makes me sad. There are a few places where they seem to be well implemented - like when they are used to accomplish a task more than sort through a decision tree.  I'd rather press 4 for Reservations - and THEN say "Washington DC" to "Tulsa" out loud. 

Say Banana if you're going insane...

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