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What calls should companies automate with conversational assistants?

January 12, 2023


As contact centers struggle to handle high call volumes, many turn to conversational assistants to resolve common customer queries.

But what kind of calls are suitable for AI conversational assistants?

One rubric our customers often use is a classification of call types based on customer call urgency and business priority.

Customer urgency: Urgency is defined by the customer. It is usually informed by one or more of the following:

  • The issue is preventing the customer from doing something else, e.g., the customer can’t log in to online account services/app
  • There’s a time consideration, e.g., tracking a delivery
  • The customer requires comfort and reassurance, e.g., reporting a lost credit card

Business priority: Priority is defined by the business. All customer queries are important, but they still require an order of priority. The highest priority calls will have the greatest impact on profit and revenue. For example:

  • Chasing an unpaid bill
  • Incentivizing customers to renew contracts

The role of AI voice assistants is to free up your agents to handle high-urgency, high-priority calls while ensuring that all other queries are handled promptly and effectively.

What kind of calls should conversational assistants handle?

High urgency

Low urgency

High priority

Customer requires an immediate response. The cost of not resolving the issue quickly will have a negative impact on business revenue. 


Reporting fraudulent transactions

Cancelling an account (where an agent may be able to offer incentives to stay)

Best suited to: customer service agents who can provide sensitive, customized advice

Has a significant impact (positive or negative) on revenue, but is not urgent for the customer.


Chasing missed payments

Offering account upgrades

Best suited to: outbound calls by trained agents or voice assistants

Low priority

Requires an immediate response in order to maintain or improve customer satisfaction. Keeping callers on hold for these kinds of calls will result in a degradation in CSAT scores. 


Lost credit card

Where is my order?

Broadband troubleshooting

Best suited to: voice assistants that can guide customers naturally through common transactions

Has minimal consequences for revenue, and the customer is happy to wait for a response. 



Best suited to: digital self service, conversational assistants or email

Conversational assistants are best suited to queries of utmost importance and urgency to the customer but have little or no impact on revenue.

Imagine you’ve ordered a suit for a wedding on Friday. It’s Wednesday, and you’ve just had a text saying your delivery is delayed. Finding out if your order is going to arrive on time is going to be very important and urgent for you.

If you phone up the company, no value is created for them. The call is minimizing or even eliminating the profit margin on the sale.

This type of high-value-to-customer, low-value-to-business call is perfect for AI conversational assistants.

Getting the most out of conversational assistants

Achieving a genuinely impactful level of automation means developing a conversational assistant with which customers can quickly and naturally engage.

If the conversational assistant isn’t capable of natural, free-flowing conversation, many customers will attempt to bypass it and speak to an agent. If you’re considering automating customers interactions, be sure to find a conversational assistant that can:

  • Understand what callers are saying, regardless of accent or background noise
  • Understand what callers mean, regardless of the words they use to say it
  • Understand long utterances and storytelling
  • Extract multiple values as they’re given
  • Handle non-linear conversations
  • Speak in a natural tone of voice

If you want to learn more about deploying a natural AI voice assistant, get in touch with PolyAI today.

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