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Convenience and security of open systems software, advanced voice recognition and ability to link to other CRM platforms create renewed interest in self-service technology for businesses
STOCKLEY PARK, LONDON 7 NOVEMBER 2001—Aspect Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: ASPT), the leading provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue, today announced the release of Aspect® Customer Self-Service version 6.0. This software enables widespread deployment of voice recognition technology in a customer contact centre environment as well as a new level of data integration, so users will be able to complete complex transactions without the need for live assistance.


Aspect CSS v.6.0 launches a new era of interest in self-service customer relationship management (CRM). Enterprises such as banks, credit card providers, airlines and insurance companies can now allow their customers to access account information simply by verifying the customer’s individual voiceprint. The voiceprint technology marks a dramatic improvement in the customer service environment, augmenting previous security mechanisms such as punch-key passwords, and provides a whole new level of convenience for customers.



“Self service has come a long way, and today customers are demanding richer self-service functionality around the clock. Businesses that implement self-service applications will see increased customer satisfaction, increased revenue and reduced operational costs. In economic downturns, self service is a good investment that provides excellent returns in better times as well,” said Bern Elliot, research director, Gartner Inc. “For instance, in the early years, ‘self service’ often meant long DTMF (touch tone) menus to reach a specific function. Today, with recent improvements in speech recognition, customer self-service applications can much more effectively allow users to access the information they need. Because of this, these systems will be achieving new levels of popularity with businesses and consumers.”



Aspect CSS v.6.0 is leading the way for five reasons. First, since Aspect CSS links to other CRM databases and platforms, customers are now assured of getting the complete information necessary for finishing a transaction. Aspect CSS v.6.0 also connects with Aspect eWorkforce Management, which allows companies to plan their contact centre staffing in the most efficient way possible and CSRs to have more flexibility in accessing and changing their work schedules via speech recognition. Second, this integration with CRM systems ensures that if customers ask to speak with a customer sales or service representative (CSR), they are efficiently routed to the appropriate one. The system also ensures that the CSR receives the relevant customer information. Third, by using the most advanced voice recognition technology available, Aspect CSS is not only convenient and easy for customers to use, but provides a level of security previously unattainable with passwords. Fourth, many compa!
nies are finding that customers actually prefer self-service applications, so they can get what they need quickly and without hassle. Finally, Aspect has decoupled its CSS software from hardware. Aspect CSS v.6.0 comes as a pure software option and runs on standard systems, making it easier to implement, upgrade and support than proprietary IVRs. By providing this new self-service solution to businesses, Aspect is helping companies boost revenues and lower costs.




“Aspect Customer Self-Service 6.0 unites our 16 years of expertise in managing customer relationships with the most advanced voice recognition technology available today,” said Gary Barnett, Aspect’s executive vice president, products, and chief technical officer. “CSS 6.0 is integrated tightly with the Aspect Contact Server, forming an important piece of an overall customer service strategy. Aspect enables companies to provide more self-service applications than ever before. For businesses, increased automation means an immediate return on investment while providing customers with the ease and convenience of around-the-clock self service.”



Aspect Customer Self-Service v.6.0 is a software-only solution that operates on off-the-shelf servers such as those of IBM, Dell or Compaq, giving Aspect CSS high degrees of reliability and scalability. “The standard servers possess far more processing power than our competitors’ proprietary systems,” said Charlie Rabie, Aspect’s vice president for customer self service. “As a result, CSS 6.0 gives companies much more flexibility when it comes to designing automated self-service systems to fit their business needs. IVR has traditionally run on proprietary systems, which make upgrading systems difficult. With CSS 6.0 organisations can leverage future improvements in computing power by companies like IBM and Compaq instead of being tied to proprietary platforms.”



Aspect is one of the first companies to deploy Nuance Verifier 2.0 as part of its self-service solution. The Nuance technology identifies callers by their unique voiceprints. Since no two voiceprints are alike, Nuance technology provides an added level of security in completing transactions.
Aspect Customer Self-Service and the Aspect Contact Server enable businesses to design and deploy self-service applications that blend voice recognition, text-to-speech, fax and touch-tone communications as well as e-mail and Web collaboration.



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About Aspect Communications


Aspect Communications Corporation is the leading provider of business communications solutions that help companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, gather market intelligence and increase revenue. Aspect is the trusted mission-critical partner of 76 percent of the Fortune 50, daily managing more than 3 million customer sales and service professionals worldwide. Aspect is the only company that provides the mission-critical software platform, development environment and applications that seamlessly integrate voice-over-IP, traditional telephony, e-mail, voicemail, Web, fax and wireless business communications, while guaranteeing investment protection in a company’s front-office, back-office, Internet and telephony infrastructures. Aspect’s leadership in business communications solutions is based on more than 16 years of experience and over 7,600 implementations deployed worldwide. The company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with offices around the world, as well as an extensive global network of systems integrators, independent software vendors and distribution partners. Aspect’s UK offices are based in Stockley Park, Uxbridge, Middlesex and can be reached on 0800 ASPECT (ie, 0800 277328).

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: All statements in this release that involve Aspect’s forecasts, beliefs, projections, expectations, strategies and intentions are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements, which are based on information available to Aspect at the time of this release, are not guarantees of future results; rather, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in this release. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the uncertainty of demand for Aspect products; the anticipated customer benefits from Aspect products; increased competition and technological changes in the markets in which Aspect competes; Aspect’s abilities to manage growth; intense competition for qualified employees; and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Aspect’s annual report on Form 10-K and Aspect’s quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. Aspect assumes no obligation to update information concerning its expectations.


Aspect, the Aspect logo and the phrases and marks relating to other Aspect products and services discussed in this press release constitute one or both of the following: (1) registered trademarks and/or service marks of Aspect Communications Corporation in the United States and/or other countries or (2) intellectual property subject to protection under common law principles. All other names and marks mentioned in this document are properties of their respective owners.


For information:


Michael Gray/Adrienne Routledge
Gray Associates
Tel: 020 8 744 9168
Email: Michael@grayassociates.co.uk;
Adrienne@grayassociates.co.uk


Stephanie Hazan
Aspect Communications
Tel: 020 8 589 1127
Email: Stephanie.hazan@aspect.com



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