Speech Recognition Software for Credit and Debit Card Payments

The Council has recently introduced Speech Recognition software as a replacement for its existing 'Touchtone' software for card payments via an automated phone line. The major difference is that customers will be required to say information in response to a prompt rather than keying in information using a telephone keypad. The initial response from customers has been mainly positive but in order to assist you as much as possible we have prepared some 'Frequently Asked Questions'

If you have any comments or would like an answer to a query about the Speech Recognition software which has not been answered above, please contact Customer Services.

What services or funds can I pay for?

Council Tax, Business Rates, parking fines, Housing Benefit overpayments and sales ledger invoices (called 'Council Invoice' on the fund menu)

Can I use this to pay for bulky waste?

Bulky waste and services where payments are made on application use a different fund and cannot be paid for using speech recognition.

This requires the purchase of an additional module which is not an option at present.

My account number isn't recognised by the system

The system has to validate a reference as being of the correct length and content so if for example your Council Tax account reference is 200012345 the software is looking to validate a nine digit reference number against a database of account references.

In order to correct validate a reference you should say each number or letter individually. Taking the above reference as an example - You should say 'Two' 'Zero' 'Zero' 'Zero' 'one' 'two' 'three' 'four' 'five'. The software will not recognise the reference if in the above example you say 'Two Treble Zero' or 'Two Zero Double Zero' etc' Each digit must be said individually.

Trying to make a payment but shows wrong amount

If the software is not confirming the correct amount you have the option to say 'No' and say the correct amount again.

Experience has shown that the software interprets the payment correctly if you say 'One hundred and thirty five pounds' rather than 'one thirty five' for example.

If the amount you are paying contains pounds and pence such as £50.20 for example please say 'Fifty pounds and twenty pence' rather than 'fifty twenty' or 'fifty pounds twenty'.

Do I have to say my card number out loud?

At this point in the process you are given the option to either say your card number or enter the card number using the telephone keypad if you prefer. If saying your card number and it contains 'zeros' it's better to say 'zero' rather than 'O'.

I've got as far as the expiry date but it doesn't confirm the correct date.

Again the system is trying to interpret the correct date from what you are saying. We would suggest that if for example the expiry date on your card is 12/14 (December 2014) you say 'Twelve fourteen' or 'Twelve Two Zero One Four'

I liked the old touchtone software. Why have you changed it?

The Touchtone software was introduced in December 2004 and whilst it was reliable it is no longer 'state of the art' and in many cases has been replaced by Speech recognition software.

Its introduction enables the Council's Customer Services Team to transfer most card payment calls to the Automated Speech Recognition telephone line so that it can deal more efficiently with other calls. It also enables the Council to introduce an 'out of hours' call handling service where customers wishing to make a card payment outside of the Council's normal opening hours will be transferred to the automated payment line which uses the speech recognition software to take your payment.