Voicebots and Voice AI have been around for a few years now. More now than ever, enterprise contact centres have realized the manifold benefits they provide to their business. Whether it’s boosting productivity, cutting costs, enhancing customer experience by providing 24/7 support, resolving customer queries quickly or increasing stickiness and engagement, the new-gen voicebots have made it possible. Since the COVID-19 lockdowns were thrust on us, customer contact centres have been under undue pressure. Like all businesses, they are now expected to do a lot more with a lot less.
Emergence of New Customers
The pandemic has also accelerated the pace of digital transformation and has caused an unprecedented wave of new users from smaller towns and Tier II and III cities coming online. These new users form a large population of the country, who are non-English speakers and depend on voice rather than text to communicate.
This has presented a formidable challenge for enterprises given that these users prefer to communicate in their regional language and dialects. While many enterprises decided to use chatbots to handle customer queries, chatbots come with a handicap, in that they cannot deliver humanlike experiences that customers have begun to expect, and sometimes demand. To handle the increasing call volumes, it made sense for enterprises to employ multilingual voicebot and provide the best customer support. Not only does voicebots answer queries but can also carry out complex tasks like make recommendations, take customers through a process, set up new accounts, etc. all while communicating with customers in their own regional languages, while seamlessly handing over to the human agents when things remain unresolved or too complicated. Besides the usual, voicebots can also, help enterprises analyze customers based on their speech pattern and derive useful business insights like the customer’s age, gender, region, dialect, tonality, for better targeting.
Although different enterprises have different business objectives, they would require voicebot to be custom-built to cater to their individual customer needs. This will allow them to derive important information about their customers, in order to serve them better. Therefore, it is important to recognize that deploying voicebots is not a one size fits all solution but a continuous customization and optimization process that will be key to a successful deployment, with maximum impact that can be long term, yet immediate in terms of ROI.
Deploying Voicebot: A combination of customizing and fine-tuning for enterprise needs
For a successful partnership in deploying voicebot, enterprises should focus on these most commonly faced challenges:
1. Cultural change: Naturally, any enterprise would require time to adapt to a new process and this takes anywhere from three to six months to acclimatize. This is even more so for the end-customer. An enterprise’s customer would not be familiar with the new way of interaction and might be surprised by the sudden switch to a voicebot, and like any new experience may take some time to get comfortable. This happens especially when the voicebot suddenly engages with the customer, without being tried and tested on a smaller group. Although it is important to look at how quickly you can develop the contact centre voicebot, speed of development should not be the only objective. Ideally, the voicebot should be implemented in a phased manner, starting with a smaller audience. This will provide an opportunity to monitor and assess each stage against predetermined success criteria and enable enhancements to be made quickly before expanding the application. Furthermore, enterprises should map out the specific use cases, products and scenarios where they can see voicebots providing value quickly and immediately. Finally, enterprises should observe how the customer is responding to it. Most of the time the prompts given by the voicebot would not receive the desired response from the customer. The best way to get the correct information from the customer is to monitor, tune and adjust the prompts, see the results and measure the success before deciding on the next phase.
2. Turnaround Times: No new process that is introduced into a legacy system will be flawless. It can only be perfected over time. While technology has a way of adapting quickly, the only way that a process can be optimized is by working on customer feedback and fine-tuning the flow. In fact, according to a recent study, 82% of customers said they would switch products or service providers after a bad experience with the company's customer service department. Therefore, quick turnaround times will make the customer happy and at the same time help the voicebot in customizing its solutions to fit the needs of the customer. One of the ways to do this is by introducing an assistive Plug-and-Play or DIY system into the voicebot system that does not just allow customers to change or flag any of the issues themselves but also teaches them the craft with relevant suggestions, improving the shift to a more mature self-service model.
3. Comprehension Errors: As enterprises adopt voicebots for handling customer queries, reducing error rates for speech recognition will be critical to build user confidence. There are two types of errors: domain error, which is the knowledge gap in the voicebot understanding the domain-specific terms and user-understanding error, which is the error when the voicebot is not able to understand the input given by the user. This could be caused by inordinate background noise or when too many inputs are given at the same time. A domain error can be due to the voicebot not being updated with the understanding of the business domain. In the first three to six months, the system might encounter many or all of these errors. Choosing to correct too many issues at one go can be difficult and overwhelming for teams on both sides. Therefore, the best way to course correct is by analyzing the problems, allowing business to prioritize the solutions and finally tweaking and tuning the systems to fit the customers' needs.
The first three to six months is the most critical phase for an enterprise, while introducing voicebot to its customers. Taking time to ensure that your voicebot is capable of delivering a consistent, relevant, intelligent response will be the key to its success. While selecting the right partner and technology, you can quickly deliver voicebot solutions that meet both your immediate need to handle more call capacity and at the same time meet the expectations of your customers. It is important to choose partners who have built their product from scratch and therefore understand it better. It also helps that your voicebot partner is willing to go the extra mile to customize the product to your business requirement, and lastly brings along the experience required to do so.