Using Dragon NaturallySpeaking® for Contact Management

by Bill Good Marketing on July 21, 2011

04:58 AM

I am dictating this article using Dragon NaturallySpeaking. At the very top of this article, I inserted the time I started. (Okay, you can see I’m a morning person.) When you get to the end, you’ll see how long it took.

This article might be comparable in length to a letter or email you might draft after a client review.

If you are already a Dragon user, you should still see the demo of version 11.5. Go here. Then click on the video window. (I just downloaded the new iPhone® “Remote Mic.” I have not used it yet. I will report back shortly.)

If you are not a Dragon user, go there at once. See what you are missing.

Three Essential Contact Management Uses for Dragon

I have been a raving fan of Dragon since version 2.0. Its accuracy rate was then deplorable. But I could see the future. The future is clearly here.

In my own contact management, I use Dragon for three recurring tasks.

1)    Extensive notes.

2)    Letter or email to client or prospect.

3)    Team instructions.

Gathering Data: My Tools

When I am meeting with, or talking to a client or prospect by phone, I am taking extensive notes in a school composition book. I buy packages of five of these for five dollars whenever I go to Costco®. I also use several Record Update Forms. Most frequently, I use a Profile form so I have an orderly way of recording answers to my questions. The questions on the Profile exactly match a worksheet we created in our program. I rarely update Profile information myself. I just turn in the form to my Computer Operator.

Sometimes the information comes so quickly, I just have to take notes, often so cryptic they don’t make any sense more than an hour or two after the end of the call. In the course of a conversation, I certainly would not type my notes into a computer. When I am talking to someone on the phone, and I hear the little keys clicking, I consider that rude. It also means I am not concentrating on what the other person is saying.

When I am done with the call or meeting, I make some marks on my notes according to where the information goes.

N=Note. This is what did happen.

P=Profile. This is our worksheet where we put the most important data about clients and prospects.

Sp=ScratchPad. This is a freeform page in our database. I use it for those notes that will enable me to quickly come up to speed on who this client is. Where possible, I will include a photograph of a client. I also include links to their LinkedIn®, Facebook®, and web page. I don’t personally put all this information in. That is done by our Computer Operator.

D=Demographics. If there is a change in demographics—nickname, email, phone, relationship with other clients, etc., I transfer my notes to a “New or Revised” Record Update Form.

A=Action. An “Action” says what will happen. It is either scheduled at a particular time or on a particular day.

S=Send. I will frequently promise to send the client information on a particular topic. This might be buried on page 3 of my notes. By simply marking it with an “S”, I can easily extract it and make certain I deliver what I promise.

Once I have classified what is in my notes—oftentimes several pages—I get to work with Dragon, and as necessary, with my Record Update Forms.

Where to Put Dictated Text

A note may be short. It may only say something like “She brought me up to date on successes in small-town marketing.” Or it may be extensive. Even though I am an 80 word a minute typist, the awesome speed and accuracy of Dragon blows away 80 words a minute. By the way, my 80 word a minute typing skill is not error-free. My error free rate is certainly far less, maybe 20-30 wpm. It’s higher if I just type. But lower when I am thinking, and then writing.

Often the most extensive dictation goes in the section of our program called “ScratchPad.” Here I put my notes on what a client or prospect wants to accomplish, what he or she struggles with, and what successes have been enjoyed. I may also include a copy of any email I sent. The problem with Notes is there can be hundreds of them. Vital information can get lost. It is essential that they be kept in date order. That’s what the program is supposed to do. This is a compliance or legal matter. But I need a place—and so do you—where you can come up to speed on a client in less than a minute. That’s what I use my ScratchPad for. The decision of whether or not to put some dictation in a Note or in ScratchPad depends upon whether I need that information to quickly come up to speed for my next conversation. If it is information about the client, as opposed to what happened on the call or meeting, it goes in ScratchPad with the most recent on top.

Thorough documentation of every client contact and prospect is vital for two obvious reasons. You need to be able to pick up where you left off, even if you have not spoken to a client or prospect for some months. And second, for years we have preached “The Law.” That Law states: Every contact with the client or prospect produces an updated note. Our clients who follow “The Law” have an excellent insurance policy in case some client of theirs says “Oh, he never called me about that.” If you do not have correct and current documentation, your goose can be cooked for sure.

A Few Things to Know about Dragon

If you are dictating an email to a client, you can dictate it directly into an Outlook email form. That’s what I do.

When I am dictating Notes or text for my ScratchPad, I tend to use a tool in Dragon called Dragon Pad. It’s just a text editor that seems to be optimized for dictation. When I’m done, I just give a couple of commands. “Select All” selects all of the text. “Copy that” copies the selected text. Sometimes I just pop over to my database and open a Note form and say, “Paste All.” I may also paste portions of it into an email form. I may paste portions into ScratchPad. Or I may send the whole file to my Computer Operator and tell her to do it.

You can dictate into almost any Note form in any CRM. I just find it is quicker and I can make better and quicker corrections if I use Dragon Pad. When I am preparing an article, as in the current case, I dictate directly into Microsoft® Word.

No additional training of any kind is required to use the output of Dragon in almost any program that accepts text. Just learn how to use Dragon.

It’s quite a remarkable program.

When you buy Dragon, I strongly recommend you buy the Professional edition. The cheaper version does not come with the “Read” feature, and a number of other features as well. I also recommend that you buy a separate microphone. I have personally found that the little one that comes with Dragon is only average in its recognition accuracy. So I actually spent about as much on my mic as I did on Dragon. To find the list of compatible microphones, you have to poke a little bit at the Nuance website.

Go here. From the drop-down box, choose “Dragon NaturallySpeaking.” Click “Continue.” In the next drop-down box choose, “Headset Microphones (current).” That will give you the list of microphones which have been tested and found to be compatible with Dragon.

Learning Dragon

When you start (or re-start) Dragon, by all means go through some of the tutorials. Learn the basic commands. And perhaps most importantly, learn how to correct voice recognition errors. As you correct dictation Dragon does not initially understand, it learns. How exactly it does that is far above my pay grade. But the good news is that it’s something I don’t have to know in order to achieve remarkable results from this remarkable program.

05:16 AM

To produce my first draft, my typing speed was 41 words per minute. As I dictated, I noticed four voice recognition errors. I corrected those. When I’m using Dragon in the middle of contact management, I would normally send an email I had dictated over to my assistant for proofing. In the case of this article, I will use another wonderful tool of Dragon, which is its capability to play back what I dictated. The best of all proofing procedure is to have two people proofread something for publication. One person reads it aloud. The other follows along in the written text. It’s the only way to catch certain very subtle errors. Well, Dragon has made that enormously easy. Using the “Read” command, a synthetic voice reads aloud the text I had dictated. I follow along. When I find an error, I correct it.

{ 3 comments }

Dave July 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Excellent article, bill Accomplished your purpose. Now I want to investigate Dragon.

April July 26, 2011 at 6:52 am

This sounds like an excellent tool. I have unknowingly been using it on my Android phone for some time. I have Nuance’s Flex T9 keyboard installed and it uses Dragon Dictation! Now that I know what the program can actually do I need to look into it further! Thanks for the information.

Bob July 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Great article, Bill. I have Dragon but now I know how to best put it to work.

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