Voice AI and Why it’s Critical for your Omnichannel Strategy

Published on August 4, 2020

Yes, It’s True

Voice is, and always will be, the most natural way to communicate. It is the nearest experience to face-to-face engagement. Why is it, that in such a digital age where customers demand greater customer service, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, most call centers are still relying on outdated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems? 

We all know that the nature of call center work requires timely responses to repetitive queries, so it is necessary to automate this part of the customer service process. That is why many businesses have started investing in the latest Voice AI technologies such as Natural Voice Response (NVR) to support and streamline customer engagement without compromising customer satisfaction.

We’ve broken down why Voice AI is critical in this day and age and why having a deep understanding of the Voice AI movement helps you realign your strategy to deliver the customer experience your callers expect. In the call center automation revolution, combining advanced Voice AI technologies with customer service means that all calls can be measured, analyzed and dissected in greater detail. Thanks to advanced speech recognition tools built on deep-learning neural networks, machines continue to improve their recognition of the human voice and automatically classify and score each call.

Why Voice AI?

Efficiency is the paramount quality in this industry, so it is not surprising that call centers are trying to move away from their outdated IVR systems and towards AI. Defined as Natural Voice Response (NVR), call centers today are letting AI run most of the show. Typically, the IVR system provides a long list of items on their menu with scripted responses and predetermined outcomes. 

By incorporating Voice AI into the customer experience, call centers save time and money invested in the infrastructure. The built-in real-time speech analytics assess the emotional quality of customer calls, whether they are satisfied or not. It also monitors the stress levels, speech clarity and tone, all while the call is in progress. Additionally, Voice AI reduces average call handling times and cost of operation while increasing satisfaction and engagement rates.

According to Gartner, an average of 30 minutes dedicated to customer support calls between the customer and agent is wasted due to ineffective IVR and long wait times. Collectively, 50% of all calls go unresolved. With that common hindrance to effective customer service, incorporating AI technology is crucial in increasing first contact resolution.

Most industry executives agree that labor shortage and turnover are the most common problems facing call centers as more agents are time-stretched, and only a few are multi-skilled. This especially holds true due to Covid-19 and working from home. Voice AI can be the most logical option to fill that gap. Moreover, it is a cost-efficient investment in the long run as Machine Learning and AI have the capability to handle customer service around the clock and will be a lifesaver in shortening average handling times.

Speech Analytics

Call centers that integrate Voice AI can capture important customer data in every interaction and run it through data analytics to optimize call center processes. Increasing the automation in every step of the process means that call centers can immediately spot satisfaction and dissatisfaction trends through sentiment analysis. On the other hand, AI can also utilize predictive analysis to efficiently use of customer data from product preference to previous transaction history to build dynamic strategies to anticipate expectations and predict tendencies.

Not only that, it effectively eliminates redundant data capture, analysis, cross-referencing and information sharing across different channels and platforms thereby minimizing time wasting and cost. Achieving self-service means that the AI’s language processing makes customers feel like they are talking to a real person and therefore increases levels of overall satisfaction while needs are quickly being met. Businesses that employ AI Virtual Agents have a head start over their competitors because they can easily break down their data into actionable insights. Imagine an AI-powered Virtual Agent that can answer up to 80% of routinely-asked questions and, in turn, free up human agents to answer more complex queries.

Achieving AI self-service means increased levels of satisfaction while needs are quickly met.

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Benefits of AI in Call Centers

Voice AI brings many benefits to call centers and customer service departments. Arguably, the most notable is call centers’ ability to scale in almost every aspect by streamlining processes and reducing costs. AI provides multiple, behind-the-scene benefits to contact centers. For example, it saves contact center managers the long hours of coding elaborate call routing algorithms. Designing experiences that include AI Virtual Agents as first-tier and human agents as second-tier improves contact center productivity, customer experience and agent retention. The infusion of AI into conversations revolutionizes agents’ efficiency.

AI application assimilates information over time and creates patterns that can be addressed with ease. For example, when a customer calls and launches a complaint, the Virtual Agent takes over and solves these complaints with ease, freeing up human agents for more complex questions. Most importantly, AI brings the consistency customers crave, with hardly any wait times and quick solutions for first tier inquiries.

AI assists contact centers to increase call volumes by reaching the right person quickly and responding efficiently to customer inquiries. Virtual Agents can help customers answer common questions and all first-line inquiries with NVR that fully understand customers intent. Moreover, the demand for Voice AI is growing due to 24/7 availability in multiple languages, accents or tones. The ability to monitor and document calls is fully automatic with our in-depth dashboards. As a result, human agents are free to handle complex conversations and spend less time on redundant calls and inefficient processes. 

The race to leverage AI solutions while streamlining contact center operations, this year, has become so important as efficiency has never been more pertinent. With AI-based applications, businesses can now route conversations to the “most qualified” agent without keeping the caller waiting. Virtual Agents understand when to seamlessly hand over a call including warm transfers and seamless introductions.

Now What?

Voice AI is about working smarter, not harder. AI should be viewed as a means of enhancing and augmenting the highly skilled role of a call center agent. It is about helping agents do more with less, and it is about providing value to your customers. The future success of your company partly depends on how you prioritize your customer interactions and your willingness to invest in technology that delivers satisfaction at scale. In short, AI requires companies to rethink how they interact with their most valuable asset – their customers.

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