The Future of Call centres – Voice Automation and the Voice-Bot

Thursday, December 23, 2021
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Voice automation bots are becoming increasingly common in most industry sectors. In banking, insurance, and financial services, they are used to provide customer support and advice.

Voice automation bots are becoming increasingly common in most industry sectors. In banking, insurance, and financial services, they are used to provide customer support and advice. In retail, telecoms, IT, and travel, they are used create and track orders or tickets and to book and manage appointments and reservations.

The benefits of voice automation bots include improved customer service, increased efficiency, reduced costs, and the ability to scale rapidly and now as a more fully automated self service journey.

Voice automation bots use the largest technology partners in the world such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM and standing on the shoulders of these giants this technology goes from strength to strength with growing data for NLP across many languages. They can of course integrate with any third-party software services to authenticate users and provide access to specific transaction data.

Voice automation bots can be simply programmed to respond to a set of specific questions or commands. However, they are also be configured to recognise natural language so that users can interact with them in their own words and phrasing and this is where the power comes to play. The technology now sounds very natural and understands language with the power of the big tech companies behind them.

Users can benefit from voice automation bots by having their questions answered accurately and quickly, without the need to wait on hold or navigate traditional call centres menus. Companies that embrace this technology simply improve their customer experience whilst reducing call volumes. What more can you say?

Use Case: Inbound Calls in Retail

As with most sectors, retails has a number of predefined processes, whether that be how and when a refund is authorised, locating parcels and providing tracking, or collecting information to facilitate a complaint being escalated for a manager callback.

All of these processes will be documented, and where a linear process exists, automation is a possibility.

An incoming call can be intercepted by the organisation's voice bot to question the caller - Who are they, why are they calling? Customer databases can be linked to allow the bot to identify the caller, providing access to customer information, such as purchase history, net spend, complaint logs, and so forth. This is ideal for the repetitive queries that a retailer receives, such as 'Where is my order?' or the reporting of damaged items.

Really powerful examples of using voice automation, include taking the process logic and providing a full self service journey up to and including a refund on low cost transactions when they are faulty or damaged.

The cost saving here can be significant and of course the customer experience has been turned from something that could have been negative to a positive simple process.

Use Case: Outbound Calls in Insurance

Consider an outbound customer service call in the insurance sector. A voice-automation could be programmed to reach out to clients in order to confirm identities, help with renewing a policy, or make changes to an existing contract.

Any repetitive conversation that exists purely for the purpose of information gathering and subsequent recording can be automated. The bot can enter collected information into specific fields or paste a full transcript into the organisations CRM software or even a recording of the call.

Outbound assisted renewal process

As insurance brokers and companies are FCA regulated, their teams will include FCA authorised individuals. These are valuable people, but can be the people that are needed to look at negotiated renewals on home insurance or similar. But getting these to make calls to hundreds of customers and only connect with 5% of them is a waste of time and money.

Retention of these people can be very low if that is part of their role, in conversation with insurance companies, we understand that some have small teams of people making calls that are then put through when a customer is available.

Well this is truly amazing and remember if that can be automated, the customer can choose the time of day to be called, refuse a call and reappoint it and do all that negotiation automatically, saving costs and providing a simply un pressured service.

Outbound/Inbound product recall management

Voice-bots can be put into action on tasks that require speed and agility. Returning to the retail sector for a moment, consider the challenge of a product recall. Traditionally, this may have required an announcement to be made while staff were recruited and trained to wait for incoming calls from concerned customers.

Now, voice-bots can be spun up in hours. They can make outgoing calls to customers to check that the product has not been consumed, and advise them to dispose of faulty food, or collect serial numbers of at-risk electrical items. Follow up calls could be programmed to take place at a set interval to check that the customer has followed the advice and sent the item back or disposed of it appropriately.

Social care voice application

And it's not just commercial organisations that can benefit from these technologies.

Biometric sensing can be overlaid into calls, allowing the software to flag when customers are under stress, which can aid the insurer in detecting potential fraud issues.

But in a social care setting, outgoing calls and the biometrics mentioned above can be used by charities and care organisations to contact clients and patients, to touch base and check that they are well. Additional needs can be flagged for human follow up, or advice can be provided by the bot.

The same biometric stress detection can be used to flag patients who might be too proud to admit they are struggling. That data can be used to help carers to allocate resources to ensure that the best care can be given.

Finally, it is important to note that this is also a very accessible option, as most people have a phone of some sort, whether it be a traditional land-line based phone, a basic mobile phone, or a smartphone. Voice automation allows an organisation to contact a wide, inclusive range of people, many of whom cannot or will not engage with apps.

So as you can see the opportunities for Voice Automation are wide and varied and it is a shame if they are not realised. Remember this technology has moved on from the old smart IVR, we are talking about natural speech and natural responses with super high levels of understanding.

Posted by:
Steve Tomkinson
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