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Spoken Communications, a provider of speech recognition software for call centers and the like, announced today that it has picked up $4 million in its most recent round of funding to help promote its virtual call centers.

If you’ve ever called a customer help desk that asks you a question directly, you’ve experienced a voice-assisted call center. The software basically detects what the person on the phone is saying and moves through the menu. In theory, it’s a good idea — although in practice it’s usually unwieldy and frustrating.

Spoken Communications is working on refining its software to make that experience a bit less painful. It’s also planning on using the funding to promote virtual call centers so employees on a help desk can work from home. A customer needing help can call into the call center, navigate the menu, and then be connected to someone who can help through the a cloud-based software service.

Whether you love them or hate them, call centers probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Customer service still needs a human touch. But most companies that at one point had physical call centers have shifted those services to cloud providers. That means they can distribute the calls anywhere across the country to any Internet-connected phone line.

Spoken Communications was founded in 2005 and is based in Bellevue, Wash.

[Photo: blatch]

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