Eckoh celebrates four years of PCI DSS compliant speech payments with Premier Inn

Two thirds of contact with UK contact centres is via the telephone, so adding speech-enabled interfaces remains a critical part of being able to offer all channels of engagement.

According to research, despite the many different methods of customer engagement, in 2017 the telephone still represents around two thirds (66.8%) of all contact handled by UK contact centres [1]. With customers still showing a clear preference for using telephone services, including making payments, it remains a key engagement channel.

Eckoh, the global provider of secure payment products and customer contact solutions, first recognised the benefits of adding speech-enabled interfaces to telephone-based customer service over 15 years ago, as many users liked the simplicity and speed of saying what their requirement was rather than having to navigate many layers of push button menus to achieve their goal.

Similarly, Eckoh added a speech recognition interface to its first automated PCI DSS compliant payment solution EckohPay in 2010, as an alternative to keying in the information. Then in 2012 Eckoh’s agent assisted secure payments solution CallGuard was launched, which also incorporated a speech interface allowing the caller to say their details rather than using the keypad.

One of the earliest adopters of CallGuard was Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel brand with more than 68,000 rooms across 760 hotels. Premier Inn deployed CallGuard in 2013, and chose to include the speech recognition option, and they have recently celebrated four years of taking PCI DSS compliant payments using the speech method. Whilst it is typically only a small minority of callers that choose to use this option, for an organisation like Premier Inn where many of the customers contact them whilst on the move, having a speech option was considered a key requirement.

Many of the UK’s largest and most recognised companies have utilised Eckoh’s speech capability including: Transport for London, O2, National Rail Enquiries, Ideal Shopping, Capita and Vue Cinemas. Eckoh’s speech-enabled call platform is still one of the largest in Europe with over 10,000 callers being able to use advanced speech recognition simultaneously, meaning that Eckoh can help customers cope with peaks and troughs in demand, regardless of whether they are planned.

Nik Philpot, Chief Executive Officer, Eckoh commented: “Eckoh has a long and proud heritage of designing and hosting many of the UK’s most widely used speech applications, including those that involve payments, on arguably the UK’s largest multi-tenanted speech platform. It is clear from the recent growth in speech-driven virtual assistants that in many instances we are moving to a world that is adopting voice as the primary mode of interaction and Eckoh is extremely well-placed to benefit from this.”