Many companies have attempted to remove pressure on the contact center by investing heavily in digital self-service channels like apps, online account management services, FAQ sections, and chatbots.
Regardless of the quality of digital self-service, customers will keep calling. Customer-facing companies will need to invest in voice automation solutions to make call volumes manageable.
But previous attempts at voice automation have been disappointing. Conversational IVRs force callers to explain their problems concisely with specific keywords. Voicebots built on platforms like Google Dialogflow and Amazon Lex force callers through rigid conversational decision trees. In all cases, callers are often misunderstood, especially if they have a particular accent or are calling from a noisy environment.
The resulting experience is frustrating, with callers being forced to repeat themselves, unable to ask clarifying questions, and often needing to hang up the phone and start again or shout ‘AGENT!’ in the hope of getting out of an endless loop of broken self-service.
For voice assistants to resolve customer queries effectively, they must give callers the freedom to speak however they want, and engender confidence in callers that they are receiving the best possible responses.
At PolyAI, we call these customer-led conversations.
Trust = freedom + confidence
Legacy technologies have made people wary of engaging with restrictive, keyword-based bots that open with “Please tell me in a few words why you are calling.” Those experiences make callers feel constricted and neglected. Customers are often misunderstood and become increasingly frustrated.
To deliver genuinely helpful support, voice assistants must earn the customer’s trust. This means understanding callers, whatever they say, and however they say it.
Customer-led conversations give callers the freedom to:
- Tell long stories in their own words
- Ask clarifying questions at any point in the conversation
- Use regional slang, synonyms and turns of phrase
- Be understood regardless of their accent, the quality of the phone connection, or background noise
Customer-led conversations must also inspire confidence. The caller must feel, at every turn of the conversation, that they are understood and, in return, that they are receiving a genuinely helpful response.
If callers believe they can get a better answer from an agent, why shouldn’t they insist on speaking to one?
Using customer-led conversations to achieve Zero Touch Resolution
PolyAI created a voice assistant with a large multinational delivery company that was experiencing high call volumes. Staffing the contact center had always been difficult due to unexpected peaks in call volume as a result of unpredictable issues in the delivery chain. The labor shortage exacerbated this problem, and the company received more calls than it could manage effectively. As a result, customers were waiting on hold for an average of 34 minutes.
Callers would often try to negotiate with agents to organize delivery options outside company guidelines. To achieve zero-touch resolution, customers needed to trust the response they received from the voice assistant so that they did not insist on speaking to an agent.
PolyAI built a voice assistant that gives customers the confidence that they’re getting the best outcome. The result was 50% Zero Touch Resolution – that’s 50% of calls that are now resolved without the customer needing to speak to an agent.
Voice assistants that are capable of customer-led conversations can achieve Zero Touch Resolution by carrying on conversations that are led by the customer, fostering customer engagement by understanding what the customer is saying, however they’re saying it.