Ford tests live Operator Assistance for cloud-based SYNC
July 13, 2011 by John Day
Noting that about 70% of calls to Ford’s cloud-based SYNC services are for business searches and/or directions, the automaker is beta testing a live Operator Assist feature that will give all registered SYNC Services users complimentary access to a live operator for help with business searches and address entry for turn-by-turn directions. No additional software or hardware is needed.
David Gersabeck, product manager, SYNC Services, said Operator Assist will supplement Voice-activated SYNC Services, which provides access to information about traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes, and movie listings along with business searches and turn-by-turn directions. SYNC Services has more than 14 million business listings.
The new feature lets customers connect safely with a live person who can quickly access information databases to help drivers get where they are going. “By leveraging what’s available in the cloud, we continue to innovate and improve our customers’ experience without having to touch the vehicle or inconvenience the owner,” said Doug VanDagens, director, Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization.
With Operator Assist, at any time during a business search or directions interaction between the user and the SYNC Services automated system, the user can say, “Operator,” confirm his or her request to speak with an operator, and connect to a live operator. This system gives Ford customers the choice of interfacing with a live operator or utilizing the interactive voice recognition system.
“Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood,” said Gersabeck. “If you want the most reliable user experience, enabling alternative methods for customers to access information will increase success, which is where Operator Assist factors into the equation.”
In the event a user says an address or business that the automated system can’t identify, the user will be prompted with the option to connect to a live operator. If the user confirms he or she would like to speak with an operator for further assistance, the system automatically connects the user to the live operator.
The live operator services are provided by MyAssist, a live assistance and telematics service companybased in Stevens Point, WI.