ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOICEBOTS
Voicebots continue to gain in popularity in the business world – but why? What are the reasons behind brands investing heavily in the technology? What can voicebots be used for?
As the provider of one of the most advanced voicebot solutions on the market, we decided to shed some light on the matter. Read our beginner’s guide and learn all you need to know about voicebots and what they can do for your brand.
Table of contents
- How do voicebots and chatbots differ?
- How do voicebots automate business operations? A few top applications
- Implementing your voice chat bot – best practices & top features to look for
- Mistakes to avoid while setting up your voicebot
- How do voicebots help banks optimize their customer service?
- How can intranet voicebots can support your employees
- Are AI voice bots the future of customer service? Here’s what our experts have to say
- Experts reveal how voice bots help improve their business
Chapter 1 Introduction
Can you believe that by 2023, AI bots are likely to take over as many as 40% of all customer service communication? Given how good they have become at emulating human-to-human interactions, it’s hardly surprising! While chatbots are currently the most popular AI customer communication technology, voice bots are also quickly gaining momentum.
In this guide, we’re going to take a deep dive into the world of AI voicebots – a relatively new, yet game-changing technology. We’re going to discuss:
- The benefits, best practices, and use cases for voice bots
- How they support both customer service and internal processes
- Why they’re the future of customer service, according to the experts we’ve spoken to
- How they work
- How to choose the best solution
- And much more!
First things first – let’s make sure we’re clear on the definition. For this purpose, we’re going to answer one of the most common questions on AI bots:
Chapter 2 How do voicebots and chatbots differ?
A common misconception is that voicebots are a ‘poorer’ version of a chatbot. However, when it comes to AI-powered voicebots, this couldn’t be further from the truth! To explain how these two technologies operate, we’ll start off with the common chatbot definition.
A chatbot is a software solution that lets people receive answers to their questions through a conversation-like interface. There are two types of chatbots on the market – rule-based bots, which have been around the longest, and AI chatbots.
How are they different?
Rule-based chatbots operate using ‘decision-making trees’. This means they have a strictly designed conversation flow. If a person follows the planned path, the bot will be able to help. However, if communication goes off script or the customer uses a word the bot doesn’t know, they’ll likely return an “I don’t understand” or “Could you state your question differently” response. This can lead to customer frustration! Here’s where AI-powered bots enter the field.
AI chatbots improve themselves over time, without direct human intervention. This means that the more conversations they engage in (or the more data they have access to), the better they become at understanding natural human speech. In a nutshell, they’ll understand that a customer asking “Can I stay at your hotel on the 25th?” and “Do you have free rooms on the 25th?” is essentially asking about the same thing. With a chatbot like SentiOne, your AI chatbot can learn 20-30 new words if you give it just four or five starter ones. Pretty impressive, right?
AI voice bots are, in the most simple terms, a voice version of your AI chatbot. They should have access to the same database as your chatbot, making them equally powerful. The only difference here is the communication medium.
If you implement an AI voice bot on your hotline, the bot will answer the phone immediately. They will first ask what the caller is calling about. Depending on their answer, the bot will either help with the request themselves, or direct the customer to the right client service representative.
That being said, answering incoming calls isn’t the only process voicebots can help you out with. Let’s look at a few others.
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Chapter 3 How do voicebots automate business operations? A few top applications
There are many ways in which you can use voice bots to automate your business operations. Let’s take a look at the most common cases, starting with call steering.
Optimizing your call steering process
According to research by Insider, 59% of customers are keener on self-service than on calling customer support. It’s hardly surprising – we have all been put on hold at least once while calling a bank or a store. It’s pretty frustrating, isn’t it?
Luckily, this kind of situation can be easily avoided by implementing a voicebot. It always answers immediately, instead of putting the caller on hold. This eliminates frustration. Second of all, if it’s unable to effectively address a customer’s query, they will transfer the call to the right agent, who will be able to help.
Continuous customer support
Are you aware that 90% of customers expect an immediate response while contacting a brand? It’s a tough demand to meet, especially if your clients are in different time zones. If you’re unable to make your customer support available 24/7, then implementing a voice bot is a good alternative. If it can’t provide answers, then at least it will inform your clients that someone from your CS team will get in touch with them shortly.
Automating outbound sales calls
Another process that you can automate using voice bots is outbound sales calls. Your sales team spends a lot of time on admin tasks, which gives them less time to actually do any selling. What’s more, unless your lead qualification process is flawless, they also end up calling prospects who are not necessarily interested in your offer.
If you’re thinking – “is there any way this process can be improved?” – then I am happy to tell you that there is! You can use a voicebot to call prospects and verify if they are a good match for your product or service. If they are, the voice bot can transfer them to a salesperson or schedule a sales call for later.
If you want to learn more about this subject, then take a look at our article where we discuss additional cases including user authentication, database updates, and product demo optimization.
Now, let’s look at the top characteristics of the best voicebots on the market.
Chapter 4 Implementing your voice chat bot – best practices & top features to look for
When choosing a solution, make sure that it has the following features:
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) & Machine Learning (ML). It’s the combination of NLP and ML that makes it possible for your voicebot to use a rich vocabulary. You provide a “starter kit” with words and their synonyms. Next, the bot takes these phrases and scours the web or your internal resources to pick up more related terms. The more it learns, the less likely it is for the bot to be surprised by an unfamiliar term!
- Language detection. Your bot should recognize whether the person is using slang or a more official tone of voice. This way, they’ll be able to adjust their communication style so that it is relatable to the caller.
- Sentiment & intent analysis. Your voicebot must also understand sentiment and the caller’s intent. It should be able to pick up emotionally charged words to detect potential crises and top-priority issues. Think of a client reporting to their bank that their card was just stolen, or one threatening to leave your company. These are just two cases that a powerful voicebot will be able to notice and immediately escalate to the right team.
- Personalization. According to Adobe, 42% of people get annoyed if a brand’s communication isn’t personalized. Therefore, make sure to choose a solution that has access to your CRM and past conversations. This way, the client won’t spend time filling the voicebot in and their queries will be answered faster.
- Engaging in complex conversations. Sometimes, your caller will discuss multiple things during the same call or interrupt the flow with a random question. Your voicebot should be capable of answering all questions without forgetting the main topic. After they’ve answered all random questions, the bot should make sure to ask whether the caller still wants to return to the main request.
- Smart call steering. Last but not least, choose a platform that relieves your support team of manual call transfers. The voicebot should be able to prequalify calls and, better yet, solve at least part of the requests without transferring to a live agent!
The best part is that SentiOne’s voicebot ticks all these boxes! Refer to our conversational AI page for a more detailed view of our solution!
Now that we’ve covered the recommended features and shared some of their benefits, it’s time for a few words of caution. In the next section, we’d like to shed light on some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them while implementing your bot.
Chapter 5 Mistakes to avoid while setting up your voicebot
If you’re planning to invest in a voice bot, then it’s worth being aware of the mistakes that companies make during implementation. We will discuss them now.
Failing to test your voicebot before launch
Voice bot technology can be a real lifesaver for your business, provided that you test it before launch. Just like you spend time training your new employees to ensure they’re ready to face customers, you have to put your bot through its paces.
Verify if it understands the questions you’re asking. Try asking them in multiple ways. The most advanced voice bots, like SentiOne, are able to quickly pick up new vocabulary, which makes communication flawless.
Using voice bots to replace people
Voice bots are meant to relieve the pressure off your customer support team. They aren’t supposed to prevent customers from accessing human personnel! Your voice bot should be trained to recognize when it’s necessary to transfer the call to a live agent. Otherwise, instead of improving the customer experience, it will deteriorate it. Imagine a scenario where a customer is calling to report that their bank account was suspended, or that they noticed unusual activity. They will probably be worried and stressed – not exactly the best mood for talking to a voice bot.
Not aligning the bot’s communication style with the rest of your brand
We bet you spend a lot of time making sure that your communication style appeals to your customers. After all, it’s reflected in your marketing and sales materials. You also train all your employees to follow the communication guidelines. The same approach should apply to your voice bot. Make sure it uses words that your clients can understand. If most of them prefer a formal tone of voice, then keep this in mind while setting up your voicebot.
Selecting a voicebot with limited vocabulary
It’s vital to select a solution that can quickly and easily learn new terms. Otherwise, customers won’t be able to effectively communicate with it, which will lead to frustration – the voicebot won’t resolve their problems. Our AI bot platform is designed in a way to quickly pick up new words from conversations. Because of this, it can understand customer intent with a 96% accuracy.
With the basics covered, it’s time to look at some practical examples. Here’s an overview of how voice bots are revolutionizing customer communication in the financial sector.
Chapter 6 How do voicebots help banks optimize their customer service?
McKinsey reports that the pandemic has triggered a 20 to 50 percent increase in mobile banking adoption across the globe. Unsurprisingly, the rapid shift from brick-and-mortar locations to digital channels has also led many banks to implement voice bot technology.
So, how are AI bots helping banks manage customer service? Let’s look at a few use cases below:
- Customer authentication. Before a customer service agent can assist with any query regarding a client’s bank account, they need to verify their identity. This can be challenging to do at scale, and often leads to long queues. With a voicebot, you can run the entire client authentication procedure without the need to engage a real-life agent. The bot can ask the caller about their data, quickly run it by the system, and verify their identity – and it can do this for hundreds of clients at the same time.
- Bank account management. Once the client is authenticated, the bot doesn’t necessarily have to transfer their call to an agent right away. There are a number of tasks it can do independently, such as checking the account balance, performing money transfers, checking credit scores etc.
- Blocking stolen cards. From a customer experience perspective, this is arguably one of the strongest powers you can vest in your voice bot. Customers will no longer have to wait on hold to be connected with a live agent, all the while wondering whether the thief is spending funds from their account or credit line.
- Outbound calls. Need to run an outbound promotion campaign? You can have your bot call hundreds or even thousands of clients. If the client is interested in hearing the details, the bot can redirect the call to a sales agent. Or maybe you want to run customer service evaluation surveys? Your voicebot can certainly do that, entirely by themselves.
You can read more about the top implementations in the financial sector in our dedicated article on voicebots in banking! Now, let’s discuss another interesting (and, perhaps, surprising) voice bot application – intranet.
Chapter 7 How can intranet voicebots can support your employees
You don’t have to limit voice bots to just customer support – they can also help your employees. Here’s how:
Employees will get more focus time
Some departments and team members (particularly, your HR and team leader) might be getting tens of questions each day. If you can set up a voicebot which acts as your knowledge base, then you’ll minimize interruptions and give those employees more time for deep work. It’s something they will definitely appreciate, since it takes around 25 minutes to go back to full productivity after being disturbed. After all, attending to tasks that can be easily automated isn’t time well spent, right?
You will reduce internal emails
Email is still the preferred communication channel both externally and internally. This frequently leads to so-called “email overload”, and a significant amount of time is wasted on replying to emails. This issue can be tackled with a voice bot that could answer employee queries on the spot. As a result, you will reduce the number of emails and eliminate unnecessary disruptions.
You will get an onboarding buddy
In an ideal world, every new hire would get a buddy to help them find their way around the workplace. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. However, you can implement a voicebot that will answer all of your new employee’s questions. They won’t have to wait for a response and will be able to ask as many questions as needed without worrying about disrupting their colleagues’ work.
Supporting HR with repetitive tasks
Employees often treat HR departments as a knowledge source. They ask questions regarding the office, their salaries, holiday entitlement, etc. While answers to these questions are usually straightforward, the back-and-forth communication takes a lot of time. And since most questions come up more than once, it’s worth implementing a voice bot to tackle these queries. It will save your HR department’s time and let them focus on more strategic activities.
As voicebots are a relatively new field, we thought it would also be prudent to include opinions from tech and CX experts in this guide. In the next two sections, we’re going to shed light on what they think about the future of AI voicebots, as well as how they themselves use the technology.
Let’s see what they shared with us!
Chapter 8 Are AI voice bots the future of customer service? Here’s what our experts have to say
Suffice to say, in the customer service automation niche, this is a million dollar question! Here’s what we’ve found in our expert outreach:
#1 Voice bots will become “humanized”
Miranda Yan, Founder at VinPit, believes that voicebots will move beyond ‘simply’ engaging in conversations with clients. The most advanced AI bot solutions are already surprisingly good at reading the caller’s sentiment and detecting emotions. This opens up a whole world of new customer service possibilities. For instance, by detecting a certain mood, they can anticipate a caller’s request and be proactive about proposed solutions. Until recently, this was only something attainable for human customer service agents.
#2 Introducing the power of algorithms and data into the customer service sphere
Mrudul Shah, Director / CTO at Technostacks Infotech, also shares this conviction. He predicts that voice bots will change the customer service landscape – particularly through one, key functionality: using data sets and algorithms. AI bots will become experts at learning from the thousands or millions of records companies have within systems like CRM tools. By accessing detailed information on customer behavior, psychographics, or shopping patterns, they’ll become incredibly effective at managing customer queries.
#3 Voice bots will boost CX and lower customer service contact rates
Israel Gaudette, Founder at Link Tracker Pro, believes that voice bots will help free up human employees for more engaging and urgent tasks. As bots will be responsible for screening and qualifying calls, human support agents will be able to dedicate more time to the people they speak to, offering a more personalized approach. This means that we shouldn’t worry about mass layoffs, and should rather expect a new division of responsibilities in the workplace.
Intrigued? You can read more expert opinions in our dedicated article on the future of AI speech bots.
Chapter 9 Experts reveal how voice bots help improve their business
We have also asked a few business experts to tell us how they use voicebots at their companies. Here’s what they said.
We use voicebots for personalization purposes
Andrew Smith, Founder at CozySeating, says they use a voice bot to personalize customer relationships. Since the technology is conversational in nature, it makes customer service and the overall customer experience more friendly. It also allows for more spontaneity, which can’t happen with premeditated text-based interactions. As a result, the relationship with customers has become more friendly and optimistic.
We use a voicebot to respond to customer queries, faster
Chris Nutbeen from Nuttifox admits that voicebots allow them to quickly respond to customer queries. Since customers expect almost an immediate response to their questions, voice bots can have a real positive impact on how customer service is perceived. Talking to a voice bot closely resembles a human-to-human interaction, making the whole experience more rewarding.
We use a voice bot to support customer agents internally
At Sawinery, voice bots are used to offer support to customer agents. They help them quickly find the information necessary for resolving customer queries. The company founder believes that soon voicebots won’t require any human support and will be able to handle customer service on their own.
We use a voicebot to redirect calls to the right agents
Daivat Dholaki, Director of Operations at Force by Mojio, says they mainly use a voice bot for call steering. By identifying the caller’s intent, for instance, a problem with the app or a GPS tracker, the voicebot can transfer the call to the right agent who will be able to deal with the issues. Voicebots have helped them to better manage and distribute talent, while at the same time keeping the customers happy.
You can read more from our experts in our dedicated article on how to use voice automation bots to improve customer service.
Chapter 10 Summary
The number of companies that use voice bots is growing, and it’s hardly surprising, given the various benefits they offer. Not only can you use them to relieve your customer support team from replying to endless customer queries, you can also engage them in internal processes to support your employees. In order to successfully implement a voice bot, it’s worth avoiding the following mistakes:
- Failing to test it before launch
- Treating it as human replacement
- Not using the right communication style
- Selecting a voice bot with limited vocabulary
If you’re looking for a platform that offers both a voice bot and chatbot technology, then take a look at SentiOne. By using our conversational bots, you will be able to automate up to 70% of your customer requests. Thanks to our advanced natural language processing engine, our voicebot recognizes the caller’s intent with a 96% accuracy and is able to communicate with great efficiency.
Sounds interesting? Get in touch, and we will happily schedule a demo!