PriceInteractive Launches Enhanced TPV Solution
By Liz Montalbano
Despite attempts to curb the unauthorized switching of a customer’s long distance or
local carrier–otherwise known as slamming–there still were 20,000 slamming complaints in
1998. To help alleviate this problem, PriceInteractive, a Reston, Va.-based company
specializing in interactive voice response (IVR) services, has come up with a third-party
verification (TPV) tool integrating technology with live agents to double-check
authorization of a carrier change.
TPV is the main way consumers are protected against slamming and is a vital source of
protection for carriers accused of the violation. PriceInteractive’s Third Party
Verification solution is unique because it is the first to use a combination of a voice
recognition-enhanced IVR and the verification of a live agent to ensure a carrier switch
"What we’ve done is created a system that uses technology–speech recognition,
enhanced interactive voice response–that goes to an automated process that asks those
verifying questions," says Dan Price, president and CEO of PriceInteractive.
"Then what we do is come back behind that system with live agents and listen to those
recordings to confirm that the speech recognition was accurate in the determination it
made with respect to the answers it heard."
At the press conference, PriceInteractive’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ken
Rokoff demonstrated the new product by dialing into the PriceInteractive system, as an
agent would to conference-in a customer after getting that customer to switch carriers. An
automated system then asks the customer questions to verify identity, confirm that he or
she is authorized to make a carrier switch and to state that, yes, he or she wishes to do
so. If the caller confirms the change by saying "yes," the system recognizes and
records the response, and it is kept on file. If the caller does not confirm the change,
the system recognizes a negative response and reconfirms through a "reprompt."
After this confirmation is complete and the caller hangs up, a live agent then listens to
the recorded conversation to double-check that what the IVR system heard and what the
caller actually said are the same thing. If there is a discrepancy, the call is filed and
is available for a carrier or customer to hear if a problem arises.
According to Price, this combination of voice recognition-enhanced IVR and live-agent
verification provides the most reliable and cost-effective TPV service to date. He says
there are fundamental problems with the TPV solutions currently on the market, which are
based on either verifications by live agents or an automated IVR system. With live agents,
there’s room for human error and the chance that a live agent might "get into a chit
chat with the customer," he says, which strains service efficiency.