The Financial Services segment consists of consumer and commercial banks, finance companies, credit unions, brokerage houses, and investment institutions. Information access and transaction processes have been the driving factors in supplying enhanced customer self-service opportunities. This market has been an early adopter of customer interaction technologies, recognizing the benefits to customers of real time self-management of financial accounts and portfolios.
The brokerage segment was one of the first to realize the significant benefits of speech recognition for obtaining quotes and performing financial transactions over the telephone. The key was providing tools for customers that they were willing to use and that gave the caller options for conducting business. In addition, the investment return in terms of reduced transaction costs and customer loyalty was significant. The original applications were oriented toward a touchtone method of data entry, but in the past few years there has been a migration to voice interaction through the use of speech recognition technologies. In addition, voice authentication is being adopted to increase the security of access to sensitive account information and to provide an audit trail for transactions.