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Is your contact center ready for a customer-led voice assistant?

January 24, 2023

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As the customer service landscape continues to evolve, companies are looking for new ways to improve the customer experience and reduce costs. One solution gaining popularity is voice assistants that can complete customer transactions through natural conversations, freeing your people to focus on more high-value tasks. But before you jump on the voice assistant bandwagon, it’s essential to consider if this technology is right for you.

So, is your contact center ready for a customer-led voice assistant?

1. Your customers are still calling

You have invested heavily in digital channels like chat, mobile apps and online account services, but customers are still calling.

Perhaps you’ve tried burying your phone number deep in your website’s help section. But your customers turned to Google, finding numbers that connected them with the wrong agents, and you’ve lost even more time to misrouted calls.

There are many reasons why customers want to call you. Offering digital self-service options gives customers a choice of channel, but typically, it’s not enough to reduce the volume of calls to a manageable number.

A voice assistant can help you bridge the gap between digital self-service and the phone channel, offering your customers access to the channels they care about.

2. You are customer-centric and know what good design can do

Some companies have opted to limit access to, or entirely eliminate phone support as a means of keeping costs down. Some companies, like Frontier Airlines charge $10 to speak with an agent.

If pure deflection is the aim, you may favour simple chatbots and FAQ sections over voice assistants. But if your brand is built on customer loyalty and developing lasting relationships, voice assistants can help.

A good voice assistant puts the caller in the driver’s seat, letting them interrupt, ask questions and change their minds whenever they like. They should sound natural and realistic, enabling callers to forget frustrating past experiences with automation in order to engage effectively.

And if your customers really need to speak with an agent? They should be able to. Voice assistants free up your people to focus on the customers who need them most.

A voice assistant should not be seen as a mere act of automation, but rather a tool infused with your brand with genuine, helpful interactions with your customers.

3. You care about cost to serve

While customer experience is key, you need to be considerate of cost to serve. Staffing a contact center to provide multilingual support, 24/7, with no wait times, even during unexpected peaks in call volume is unrealistic for most companies.

Voice assistants empower contact centers to scale support up and down in line with demand, without the need for additional hiring, CCaaS licenses, training, etc. What’s more, voice assistants surface structured data as a byproduct, enabling companies to gain in-depth insights into customer behavior without costly speech analytics projects. These insights can highlight operational inefficiencies, potential revenue generation opportunities and areas for further automation, all of which can have a significant impact on cost to serve.

4. You want control and configurability

Your customer service program is fast-paced and often requires reactive updates to deliver on seasonal offers, respond to trends and maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

You need a voice assistant that gives you control and configurability, without requiring a team of machine learning engineers, software developers and dialogue designers to spend weeks redirecting decision trees to accommodate new functionality.

5. You want to create experiences that encapsulate your brand

You want customers to be greeted by a warm, friendly, on-brand voice that represents your brand. You want to inject the conversation with your tone of voice. You want customers to have the very best experience.

A good voice assistant should speak like your best people to deliver customer-led conversations that result in accurate resolutions.

Companies that deploy successful voice assistants tend to be companies where customer conversations are an important part of doing business.

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