Thanksgiving Tip: Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line Adds Alexa


In November 1981, Butterball launched a toll-free hotline with a easy mission: to assist Thanksgiving cooks prove top-notch turkeys. And whereas the telephone name stays the beating coronary heart of the Turkey Talk-Line industrial complicated, it has lately branched out. In 2008, Butterball took its first tricks to social media. In 2016, it added texting to its toolkit. This 12 months, it’s including an Alexa ability. Truly, wattle they consider subsequent?

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But let’s begin with the calls themselves, which have additionally gotten an improve. It’s not fairly as flashy as a voice assistant bot however will most likely present extra consolation and pleasure. Butterball this 12 months has transitioned to a cloud-based system known as PureCloud, from an organization known as Genesys—sure, even turkey discuss lives within the cloud now. In the throes of your determined basting, you possible received’t discover a lot of a distinction, except for one essential new characteristic: For the primary time, slightly than depart you listening to carry music indefinitely, Butterball will supply a callback choice. You can get again to mashing your potatoes, and so they’ll ring you after they’re prepared.

That functionality isn’t distinctive to Genesys, and also you’ve possible encountered it in different telephone calls with different, nonculinary firms. But it does appear notably sensible to deploy it for callers who’re trying—and presumably struggling, in the event that they positioned the decision within the first place—to wrangle an enormous hunk of chook physique.

“Having 4 little kiddos at dwelling myself, my time is essential to me and considerably restricted, after I’m multitasking with my youngsters,” says Nicole Johnson, codirector of the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, who’s donning a helper headset for the 18th 12 months this month. “The reality you can depart your identify and quantity and have certainly one of our group members name you again is superb.”

Butterball has 50 seasonal turkey consultants, along with 35 year-round shopper affairs brokers, who need to area 1000’s of calls on Thanksgiving Day, reply to just about 10,000 textual content inquiries in a single vacation season, and get practically 100,000 incoming calls all through November and December. There’s solely a lot turkey experience to go round.

Butterball’s name system can even get an improve that buyers can’t see, within the type of enhanced analytics. (Further proof that sooner or later, which is now, nothing goes unquantified.)

“Now they’ve entry to higher granularity of not simply variety of calls however frequency, busy occasions for his or her brokers, with the ability to see one thing so simple as a ‘closure code,’ the place an agent categorised it as a recipe versus a ‘the place to purchase’ name,” says Brian Bischoff, international vice chairman for Genesys Cloud. “A supervisor or coach can primarily audibly pay attention in; they will observe and textual content solutions to the agent to make the interplay extra satisfying in actual time. And then any information that’s collected throughout a session is captured for historic functions.” The Turkey Talk-Line is technically free, however Butterball’s advertising group does gobble up its insights.

Talk Turkey

The larger Butterball breakthrough comes not from the telephone however out of your related speaker. Butterball has joined the voice assistant wave, letting you summon up turkey ideas out of your Amazon Echo or different Alexa-enabled gadget. The new ability, which has been within the works for a couple of 12 months, comes preloaded with solutions to Butterball’s most incessantly fielded questions.

“Our prime 10 questions from the 18 years I’ve been right here by no means range an excessive amount of. It’s normally ‘How do I’m going about thawing my turkey?’ Johnson says. “Numerous meals security questions, a variety of thermometer sort of questions, leftovers, that sort of factor.” Occasionally they see upticks in sure areas: Instapot-related inquiries, as an illustration, shot up the charts final 12 months.

The Butterball ability on Alexa can now reply all of these, in addition to counsel recipes. It may even provide you with a pep discuss. And since entire turkeys are like snowflakes—no two are precisely alike, they’re largely seasonal, they’re enjoyable to throw—the Alexa ability provides steerage primarily based on the poundage of your poultry. “It’s a little bit of a variety, as a result of there are such a lot of variables that we keep in mind,” Johnson says. A shopper who is brief on time, as an illustration, could want the cold-water-bath technique to a fridge thawing; Alexa can provide estimated occasions for every.

The Butterball ability additionally makes use of the voices of precise Turkey Talk-Line consultants. The replies are all automated, naturally, to allow them to’t discuss you down from a freak dry-brine catastrophe, however in addition they don’t really feel like a pc crowing in your kitchen.

The new telephone system already had a dry run, due to Canadian Thanksgiving, which was October 8. The Alexa ability simply launched every week in the past, however Butterball is optimistic about its future. “We’re actually excited concerning the scale and the brand new know-how,” says Rebecca Welch, Butterball senior model supervisor. “We actually need to have the ability to supply help to vacation prospects wherever and nonetheless they obtain that data.”

The actual take a look at, although, will start on November 15, the Thursday earlier than Thanksgiving, which Butterball has dubbed National Thaw Day—time to place your frozen turkey within the fridge. That’s when the calls and texts and messages begin in earnest. This 12 months, if all goes as deliberate, they’ll undergo just a bit extra easily, waste rather less of your time, and happen throughout extra modes of communication than ever. It’s just a few small issues that add as much as a much less aggravating vacation.


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