How Siri-like Virtual Assistants Have Taken Hold of the Call Center
Amid all of the buzz surrounding chat, text, and social media in customer service, voice has reemerged as the preferred method of communication for consumers – including millennials. Thanks to the huge success of personal digital assistants like Amazon’s Echo, people are now willing to talk to machines. Re-read that sentence. They are willing to talk to machines. What a drastic shift from the customer expectations of the past! For so many years, robotic voices made customers shudder as they equated it with the black hole of customer service. Fast forward and now conversational AI consumer products with excellent speech recognition have flipped customer preferences 180 degrees.
For so long, the primary roadblock to excellent voice applications was that the machine could not understand the human. Natural language processing was never accurate or advanced enough to actually understand people if they did not speak in very directed phrasing that fell within specific, fixed business rules.
But then, Apple introduced Siri to the iPhone and people began see the potential for how much could be done with voice technology. Things really started to change when Amazon launched the Echo a few years ago and the industry hasn’t looked back.
As more of these conversational AI products are introduced to the consumer market people have become comfortable using them. It has become part of the human experience to use your voice to interact with technology on a regular basis – it is expected. That experience is impacted by the fact that machines can actually understand them. People are more technology-forward and in many cases, especially millennials, people prefer to do things themselves (i.e. self-service, to use an industry term). Their growing expectation is that an automated customer service line should understand them just as well as the Alexa in their living room.
And then it doesn’t.
They get frustrated because they don’t understand why. Customers do not realize that it is not as simple as a $50 online purchase to implement a fully conversational AI voice system for enterprises. Truthfully, they don’t care either. All they care about is accomplishing their goal in as little time and with as little effort as possible. Enterprises need to meet customers where they’re at – with a tech-forward approach. The tech of the future is voice. We’ve all seen the movies about the future: humans are not using a screen to interface with robots, they are using their voices. Why is that? It’s because voice is the easiest and most natural form of communication, and if the machine can understand, it is the best interface.
While consumer technology is leading the way for a voice-powered renaissance, all the major IVRs and contact center platforms lag behind. As much as customer expectations regarding call center self-service have risen dramatically in a very short period of time, the conversational automation offered by most call centers is extremely limited and can only handle very simple engagements.
That’s why the biggest IVRs and contact center platforms like NICE-inContact and Genesys partner with SmartAction as the leading virtual assistant service for call centers, using conversational AI to automate the conversations your live agents handle today. Recognized by Gartner as Cool Vendor and named to the Deloitte Fast 500, SmartAction fully automates both simple and complex calls, chats, and texts with live agent failover. Industry leaders like AAA and Royal Caribbean use our service to automate millions of calls for order status, payments, authentication, reservations, returns, roadside assistance, and much more – in fact, we automate over 100 different repetitive call types and processes for companies in a dozen industries. The top ways you could use our AI virtual assistant service are:
- Automating repetitive call types and chats with live agent failover (i.e. order status, payment, reservations, returns, and much more)
- Up-front data gathering to automate the drudgery before passing to live agent (i.e. complex 3-factor account authentication)
- Outbound calls/texts (i.e. scheduling, alerts, reorders, reminders)
- Conversational AI Front Door (i.e. “How can I help you?” then route to IVR, live agent, or AI-powered virtual assistant)
Let’s chat today to discuss the top 1-2 conversations handled by live agents in your call center that are perfect for AI automation – contact us.