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Advantages of Speech

Speech vs. Touch Tone

When a caller feels confident in the response the application is looking for, they are more likely to enjoy their experience. Speech offers the following features over touch tone:

Speech vs. DTMF by Syntellect

Callers Prefer Speech-Enabled Systems

For many applications, the size and depth of touchtone menus were confusing, inflexible and made completing certain transactions long and laborious. Other applications, even with very short, flat menus, were difficult to maneuver because users were required to input alphanumeric representations such as stock symbols, airport codes or long part numbers. This lack of user friendliness defeated the purpose of automation and capped self-service adoption rates. Callers became frustrated and dissatisfied. Many simply "zeroed out" and waited for an agent or worse, abandoned the call. The touchtone interface created a longer, more costly call, agents' workloads were not reduced, and they were still forced to take routine callse. Speech recognition eliminates this problem. Early deployments in the business, finance, and insurance vertical markets clearly suggest that Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR) is not simply replacing agents. It is replacing entire DTMF self-service platforms..."

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According to SpeechWorks, in 2001 Amtrak transitioned their touch-tone train status application to speech, and saw remarkable results in increased automation.


  • Annual call volume: 2.8 million calls
  • Touch Tone VRU handled 42% of all train status calls (1.2 million calls)


  • Speech-activated train status app deployed September 2001
  • Speech handling 72% of calls

As a result of the deployment:

Amtrak automated 850,000 additional calls saving $1.36 million in the first year alone.

For more information or additional articles on the differences between speech recognition and touch-tone, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to provide you with more materials.
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