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SIVOX RealCall

36 South Broad Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
Ph: 866-263-6319
Web site:


Price: Standard pricing for SIVOX Recall is $25 per user per month as a hosted ASP Internet solution or $300 per user for a traditional perpetual license (quantity discounts are available). SIVOX Recall can be purchased as a turnkey 90 day Quickstart Internet Pilot, which includes 200 user licenses, implementation and set-up, three pre-developed simulations, consultation and training for $25,000.

Call centers are always looking for new ways to optimize productivity, improve customer service, retain agents, provide excellent training and, of course, reduce costs. One innovative tool from SIVOX does all of this and more. SIVOX RealCall is an intriguing training software tool that utilizes training simulations, using real calls to teach agents how to handle various types of calls, such as how to handle an irate customer, how to upsell a customer, etc. These call simulations can be used not only to train existing agents; they can also be used to pre-screen interview candidates. The best time to screen applicants for specific contact center skills is before they are even hired. Utilizing RealCall, these potential agents can be tested on call-handling skills through simulation. You can test for speech quality, question-answering efficiency and the potential agent's overall customer interaction skills. Another important application for RealCall is in initial training. If a newly hired agent takes his or her first live call feeling less confident and under-prepared, that agent is more likely to perform poorly. As a side benefit, managers can take the best simulated calls from their best agents and leverage that across the entire contact center.

According to SIVOX:
"The product is a 'full-immersion simulation,' unlike other things out on the market which are static. Static simulations typically have a question posed to the user, and then the user chooses a response. SIVOX paired a highly robust speech-recognition engine with the system simulator, creating an environment that allows the agent to feel like he or she has simulated his or her specific environment that the agent would typically work in ' the only difference being the agent is in a 'safe environment where he or she can practice.'"

SIVOX RealCall is sold both as a hosted solution and a CPE solution. For our tests, we utilized the hosted version, which simply requires a browser and a quick software installation to install some components used within the browser.

Here's how it works. Simulations are built around your existing CRM application using screenshots of your CRM application and an application tool to add data fields and custom controls (e.g., drop-down boxes, buttons, etc.) to those screenshots. The Java-based designer (see Figure 1) is a drag-and-drop affair that allows you to set various properties and to align the various fields and controls. Essentially, SIVOX simulates the exact look and feel of your CRM application, whether it's Goldmine, Siebel, or an internally developed CRM application.

Next, you transpose a recorded call on top of the screenshots that you want to use as the basis for the simulation. A special editing tool breaks the recorded call into certain segments, such as the greeting, the customer's response and the agent's response, followed again by the customer's response. Essentially, the agent responds to each of the customer's questions or statements, while the client company predefines the script the agent must speak in response to each of the customer's statements.

The next stage has the agent actually taking the simulation. As the recorded call is played back in segments to the agent, text is displayed on the PC to show the appropriate script that should be used by the agent, and a control bar is used by the agent to control the call (see Figure 2). The software's control bar simulates what you can do with a call and features a hold button, a repeat button, volume-control buttons and a 'Done' button, the latter indicating the agent should move to the next segment. The agent then speaks the script and presses 'Done' on the control bar to indicate he or she is done speaking. The agent's audio responses are compressed then uploaded to the RealCall Portal.

Next, the SIVOX speech recognition (it uses the Scansoft engine) determines whether the agent spoke the appropriate script. The speech recognition performs 'key word' spotting so the agent does not have to speak the text exactly as shown on the screen. It isn't bothered by natural human pauses, a hesitant 'umm' or other words said but not listed in the script. The speech recognition merely looks for the predefined key words to be spoken. If the agent does not speak the appropriate key words, the simulator will invoke the 'Coach,' actually verbalizing suggestions and tips via text-to-speech. It then repeats that particular call segment.

If after a few tries the agent still fails to pass this particular segment, the system takes the agent to a predetermined page within the knowledge base for further assistance. If, on the other hand, the agent did speak the appropriate items, the speech recognition will then score it a success and move to the next interaction between the caller and the agent (i.e., the next call segment). Simultaneous with the aforementioned, the system is scoring both success and failures, then recording each segment for future playback and analysis by a supervisor. The agent can also replay a particular call segment by clicking one of the red bars used to separate each of the call segments. We should note that all of the content elements, such as audio files, graphic images and script segments, are downloaded to the workstation when the simulation starts. These assets are cached on the workstation, so subsequent sessions do not use additional bandwidth. SIVOX has done a lot of work to minimize the bandwidth requirement, and the company has determined that only about 9K per session per second is needed. Audio, which is the main consumer of bandwidth, is highly compressed using the OGG encoding format.

Once a simulation has been completed, the next phase of the product is to have supervisors score the simulations. Supervisors can run reports and view the auto-scored numbers, time-on-hold stats, time with customer, etc. Further, supervisors can play back the audio of any of the call segments; and they can attach comments to each, as well as score them as acceptable, not acceptable or not reviewed. Various reports can be executed and printed out to give to the agents.

Room For Improvement
We would like the ability as a supervisor to set a due date (i.e., scheduling) for when a simulation is due, the agent then reminded accordingly. SIVOX, however, did tell us they do integrate with third-party scheduling packages (including Blue Pumpkin and IEX). Also, when scoring an agent, we would like the screen to display the averages for all agents who took that particular simulation, such as average call greeting length in seconds, average voice simulation score, etc. This would aid supervisors when evaluating and scoring an agent; as well, it will pinpoint simulations that score low and that may require further tuning.

SIVOX pointed out some interesting statistics for companies using SIVOX's solution. The company claims 15 percent to 40 percent reduction in agent attrition, 12 percent to 24 percent reduction in average handling time (AHT), 5 percent to 15 percent increase in Customer Satisfaction Score, and more improvements. Statistics aside, we were certainly impressed with how closely this product simulates a real-world call, leveraging advanced technologies such as text-to-speech, speech recognition and call recording, as well as CRM application emulation.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that interactive simulations used as a training tool can train agents more effectively than merely listening to recorded calls, and are certainly less expensive than being trained by a coach one-on-one. From our tests of SIVOX RealCall, we at TMC Labs felt that, if we used this as our primary training tool to learn how to handle various calls, we could easily quit our day jobs and become skilled call center agents in no time. CIS

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