Contact centers, response centers, and call centers typically rely on humans to pick up the phone and get to the issue. Many of us reactively call to investigate past billings, determine tax refund processing, or handle car insurance modifications. More frequently now, I find myself on provider’s websites chatting with bots to be routed to the right resource or to be provided with the information I need. This avoids the phone call, gives me the ability to serve myself, and gives me valuable time back. This is the definitive chatbot – omnichannel availability with answers at their “fingertips.”
Businesses are seeing an increase in chat interactions as more customers look for self-service options. Chatbots and voice bots are effective ways to meet these customer service needs. According to Gartner, by 2023 customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service customer interactions, rising from 40% in 2019. Chatbots and voice bots give companies a way to communicate with their clients 24 hours a day. So what’s the difference between a chatbot and a voice bot, and what benefits do they provide?
Eliza was introduced by MIT in 1966 as the first operational chatbot showcasing natural language processing (NLP), and we’ve come a long way in the past 56 years. The evolution of the chatbot has pushed this technology to software applications used for online or mobile chat through text. However, AI is used in chatbots to ensure the conversation progresses as expected, following along with our human conversational constructs, leading to conversational AI. Chatbots can be integrated into messaging applications and can provide constant and personalized communication.
Modern chatbots must be able to do the following:
1. Understand the language and phrasing the user is sharing – what they’re saying
2. Understand the intent of the user – why they’re saying it
3. Match the intent with an answer, result, or action – provide the correct response
Some go well beyond the basics and handle complex situations and customer needs. The Boost.AI platform has been used by DNB Bank to automate over 10,000 customer interactions per day, automate 20% of all their customer’s service inquiries in just 6 months, and achieve a 70% CSAT score through a virtual agency. The Boost Conversational AI platform scales effortlessly to support thousands of intents, all while maintaining a 90% prediction accuracy rate and under 10% false positives.
Chatbots give call centers the benefit of always providing the expert answer as long as the intent of the inquiry is understood. The responses are also much faster and more reliable than a human. Chatbots can be used in a wide range of applications such as advertising, orders, employee assistance, customer service, and fulfillment. Chatbots are omnichannel, meaning they work seamlessly across an application, website, or mobile app. Chatbots allow call centers to more easily manage peak call times and can easily transfer the inquiry to the next available agent. Chatbots allow you to stay in touch with your clients 24 hours a day.
“We’re calling to advise you about your car’s extended warranty,” or “you’ve been selected to participate in an exclusive vacation at a Marriott resort,” - you’ve gotten these calls numerous times by now. Those are voice bots doing their job! Voice bots are artificial intelligence-powered software that uses interactive voice response.
The caller can speak to the voice bot and communicate using natural language. Artificial Intelligence identifies key aspects in speech and responds in near human form, based on the logic the voice bot follows. The main difference between a voice bot and a chatbot is the voice bot’s voice assistant only communicates via voice. They ingest words from the speaker, analyze and classify those words for interpretation, then respond through a meaningful verbal exchange. There’s a lot of technology going on behind the scenes with neural nets, classification, utterance analysis, machine learning, and process modeling. When it comes down to it, voice bots are proactive in reaching out to users, compared to chatbots, which are reactive and wait for the user to reach out. Both are more than effective.
An excellent case of voice bot technology is the work Aktify does in processing dead sales leads by effectively simulating human sales reps through AI. Aktify AI agents have had 4.7M conversations and driven $60M in net new revenue for its clients through voice bot technology. With persistence being the key to sales, we all have that leads the list of those that never worked out, never responded back, or never made it past “sales lead.” Why not let a voice bot take over the dead leads list and convert a few to opportunities?
Voice Bot Benefits
The majority of humans are born with a voice. We do not have built-in keyboards and mice. Voice is the most natural way of communicating. Voice bots remove the irritation of navigating through button-push menus. They are integrated into the backend systems that users want to connect to for information or action. The experience with voice bots is smoother and can reach a larger customer base. As a result, customers who are not tech-savvy can easily interface with voice bots.
The two biggest reasons most chatbot or voice bot implementations fail come down to two factors - natural language understanding (NLU) and scope. NLU is the ability for the system to understand human speech and the idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms that come with it. A chatbot or voice bot cannot act on what it does not understand. Scope is the ability to expand a system by adding information as it learns and as customers ask and expect more from the chatbot or voice bot. It is best to scale up from a limited number of "intents", which are questions and topics the system can respond to, to thousands of intents over time like a digital employee.
Artificial intelligence has already begun revolutionizing the customer service industry. Chatbots started this movement and voice bots add an exclamation point to the paragraph! There are some challenges when deploying chatbots and voice bots, but that’s nothing a qualified service provider like DataPrime can’t help you work through. Reach out to me if you’d like to find out more about how DataPrime can help you best utilize the Boost.AI chatbot platform or the Aktify voice bot sales lead processing capability.