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Voice assistants vs BPO: A case study

February 5, 2024


I have been in the contact center business for over three decades, from being an agent to leading multiple sites with thousands of agents. I have run in-house sites and multiple sites in the BPO space. One of the biggest headaches call centers experience is agent turnover.

It is tough to find and retain good agents in contact centers. It’s not uncommon to see monthly turnover rates around 8-10%, or 100% per year. This means that we constantly must hire new staff and train them again. I realized that using a BPO service to help me with staffing and answering calls just passed on my problem to another company that had the same problems. It wasn’t fixing the issue.

When I reopened my call center after the COVID pandemic in 2020, the staffing problems got worse. I needed a better solution that could lower my expenses and enhance customer satisfaction. That’s when I found out about PolyAI, a voice assistant that could handle most of my non-critical transactions with a natural voice.

PolyAI helped me cut down my wait times, boost my conversions, and free up my agents to handle more difficult tasks and drive revenue. My call wait times went down by 80%, and my abandonment rate dropped from 40% to less than 10%.

Why did I choose PolyAI instead of a BPO? PolyAI was cost-effective and more adaptable than a BPO. The pricing for an AI voice assistant was more than 50% lower than the pricing I was getting from a BPO provider.

A BPO service charges you based on many factors, such as agent wages, attrition costs, and utilization to meet their margins. These factors are often hard to predict or control in contact centers, especially during peak seasons or emergencies.

A BPO service also has lower wages to meet their margins, which makes it difficult to get high quality. This can affect customer satisfaction and loyalty if they deliver poor or inconsistent service from agents who are not trained or motivated enough.

Time to implement was critical for me. I was able to ramp up a voice assistant with PolyAI in 4 weeks. Selecting a BPO partner would have taken much longer. Doing site visits, setting connectivity, hiring, and training agents to handle the calls, and technology all would have taken much longer.

A voice assistant also gives you more control over your customer experience because you can customize it to suit your brand and preferences. You can choose from different languages, accents, tones, greetings, menus, etc., depending on your target market or audience segmentation strategy. You only need to train it once.

Since launching our voice assistant, I’ve had access to more data and insights into customer behavior and feedback that I can use to improve service and loyalty.

A voice assistant like PolyAI is not just a tool; it is a partner that helps you grow your business and delight your customers.

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