Virtual operator takes enquiries at Moscow Government Call Centre

Virtual operator takes enquiries at Moscow Government Call Centre
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Denis Grishkin
It can process and answer questions.

A virtual operator is now working at the Moscow Government’s integrated call centre (tel. 8 495 777 7777). It can process human speech and support a conversation. So far, it only answers questions about scheduled hot water maintenance shut-offs and the My Documents government services centres. Other questions will be forwarded to a staff operator.
In future, this digital response system will be expanded. The virtual operator will provide information about documents submitted to the government services centres and answer other enquiries.

“This will save time as the caller will not have to wait to speak to a real operator,” said Andrei Savitsky, the head of the Moscow Integrated Call Centre IT dept.

The department’s press service said the digital operator was only a pilot project and is servicing about 5 percent of the total calls, or 25,000 calls a month, so far.

When speaking to the system, the caller has to clearly express the question, for example: “Where is the government services centre of Yuzhnoye Butovo?” or “What is the schedule for turning off hot water at the following address…” If the virtual operator needs more information, it will ask the caller for it.

The virtual operator not only addresses queries about My Documents centres and their opening hours but can also provide contact details. The caller has to mention a landmark: the nearest metro station or their home address.The virtual operator can give advice on how to get to the nearest My Documents centre or how long it would take to get there by foot.

If a question is beyond its programming, the digital system redirects it to a hotline operator. Even this operation initiates the processing of the enquiry. The virtual operator will soon be able to display the text of the enquiry on its screen along with information it found in its database to answer the query. The system will be well prepared for its conversation with the caller.

The virtual operator is equipped with voice detectors and can process separate words and long sentences. In other words, it can analyse open questions with a complex structure.

It is also “working” to improve its pronunciation in real time mode. For example, it can analyse stress and intonation in the caller’s voice. If it understands that it pronounced some words differently from the caller, the robot will report this to the system administrator. The administratorcan then decide to upgrade the speech model. Similarly, the virtual operator also analyses how the caller reacts to its speech and how successful the exchange was.

“Our virtual operator has synthesised speech and a female voice,” said the IT Department. “According to domestic research, people feel more comfortable with and can better understand a female synthesised voice, which is why it is used in the military and in civil aviation.”

The virtual operator works the same hours as the real operators in the Moscow Integrated Call Centre: 24/7.