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Kia ora caller: Vodafone and Amazon Web Services launch Kiwi voice for use in contact centre

Vodafone NZ launches a Kiwi voice for Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use omnichannel cloud contact centre

Vodafone collaborated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to develop a uniquely sounding Kiwi text-to-speech (TTS) voice that incorporates te reo Māori phrases for use by local organisations. Kia ora, Mōrena, Ngā mihi, Rorohiko, Mā te wā are just some of the familiar phrases callers will now hear when they contact Vodafone for support.

Vodafone and AWS created the voice using Amazon Polly, a machine learning service that turns text into lifelike speech, enabling organisations to create applications that talk, and build entirely new categories of speech-enabled products. Amazon Polly's Text-to-Speech (TTS) service uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesise natural sounding human speech across a range of speaking styles. The Amazon Polly team has developed more than 60 voices in 29 languages to date.

The new voice is embedded within Amazon Connect. When Vodafone customers call, it will assist them to open a new account, check their balance, and provide updates on new products and services - all in a conversational manner that Kiwis know and understand.

Following the launch with Vodafone, AWS will make the new Amazon Polly voice generally available to any customer using Amazon Connect, enabling them to provide customer service using te reo Māori phrases.

Mark Fitzgerald, Head of Digital Tools, at Vodafone NZ, says, “Vodafone is proud to launch the new Kiwi voice using Amazon Polly within parts of our call centres today, which will soon answer millions of monthly customer calls. It is really important we integrate a unique New Zealand identity into our customer service channels, including te reo Māori phrases and correct pronunciation. It’s been great to collaborate with AWS on developing this sophisticated new Kiwi voice in the cloud, and enable other organisations in Aotearoa NZ to adopt it through Amazon Connect.

“Our Amazon Connect implementation offers a better customer experience across all service channels, which includes ensuring calls are directed to the right person as quickly as possible using sophisticated technology to help customers solve their issues as fast as possible,” adds Fitzgerald.

Stuart McLean, Head of Enterprise, Commercial Sector, for Amazon Web Services, New Zealand, comments, “We’re excited to have an Amazon Polly voice in Aotearoa that incorporates our uniquely Kiwi accent and selected te reo Māori phrases. It’s important that organisations with a strong presence in New Zealand like Vodafone, can offer their callers a familiar voice through their contact centre experience. Using advanced AWS capabilities like machine learning, we are able to assist to drive innovation and help to create personalised experiences that are increasingly more familiar and local.”

Vodafone NZ selected Amazon Connect to provide customers who call the company with a personalised and enhanced customer experience, and for Amazon Connect’s scalability, ease of use and cost effectiveness. Vodafone migrated its enterprise support desk to Amazon Connect earlier this year, with plans to move its retail support operations soon.

For more information about Amazon Polly, please visit https://aws.amazon.com/polly/. To get help from Vodafone, please visit https://www.vodafone.co.nz/contact/

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