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Conversational IVR—Omni-channel customer engagement success stories

Amtrak's Julie gets callers on board.

Intuitive self-service delivers results, increases customer satisfaction.

Company profile

Amtrak is a blending of the words “America” and “track” which embodies who the company is and the customers they serve. They strive to provide a great customer experience, welcoming aboard over 31 million passengers per year with travel service to 500 destinations in 46 states on 21,000 miles of rails across America. They have achieved six consecutive years of growth both in the number of passengers and revenue—a testament to their dedication to customer service. Many of their 84,000 daily passengers call with questions about schedules, fares, train status and to make a reservation.

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Amtrak uses Nuance Nina virtual assistant technology

Julie is widely regarded by people in the speech technology business as one of the first and best standard-bearers for how speech recognition computers should interact with customers. Amtrak Julie has become a guiding light of sorts for the thousands of automated voices that companies use as first responders to customers’ inquiries all over the world.

Emily Yellin
Author
"Your Call Is (not that) Important to Us"

Challenge

  • Many of the 84,000 daily passengers call with questions about schedules, fares, train status and to make a reservation
  • Extensive grammar requirements to support over 500 destinations in 46 states

Solution

Results

  • Julie answers an average of 50,000 calls during a day (up to 95,000 during peak travel times)
  • Increased customer satisfaction by 53% over the old touch-tone system
  • Julie completes more calls per day than one human agent handles per year

Background

In 2000, Amtrak needed to enable their customers to quickly and easily access information over the phone in a more user-friendly way. Although the company provided an automated, self-service system using touch tone, roughly 70 percent of customers would exit that system to speak with an operator. Their goal was to create a new system customers would want to use: one that would be easy and intuitive to use through the use of speech recognition. With speech, Amtrak could provide both a great self-service experience and reduce calls to agents, enabling them to spend more time assisting callers who have more complex questions.

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