We were thrilled to be joined by Brian Jeppesen, Director of Contact Center Operations at Landry’s, for PolyAI VOX 2023 to discuss championing the customer in customer service automation and Landry’s experience of call center voice AI.
This blog post summarizes the key points Brian shared at the event.
A voice that sounds like your best agent
In the pursuit of efficiency, it’s easy to lose sight of the customer’s journey. Brian’s emphasis on a positive experience places the spotlight where it belongs – on the customer. Automation should seamlessly integrate into the customer service process, offering solutions without sacrificing the human touch.
“Coming out of COVID, we were finding it very difficult to hire people,” says Brian. “Abandon rates were climbing, so it was extremely challenging for us to answer the phones.
“You hear surveys of people saying that they think 70% of the people want to speak to a live person rather than speak to a robot or a voice assistant. But really, 100% of people just want their issues taken care of as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
“My biggest concern as I went into this was it has to be a good experience. It wasn’t about saving money. It was my customers are not getting an answer.”
Brian expressed a strong aversion to the typical robotic interactions associated with automated systems.
“I don’t want customers to go through the robotic hell back and forth of traditional automated systems.
“I gave PolyAI ten recordings of my best agents, and they gave me a voice that sounded just like my best agent.
“It wasn’t robotic. I listened to and looked at many different companies out there that had solutions, but they all sounded the same robotic voice. And that’s not what I wanted my customers to have.”
Call containment from day one
Brian’s journey highlights the importance of strategically deploying call center voice AI, taking a crawl, walk, run approach, starting with handling basic tasks and FAQs.
“After coming out of the pandemic, the voice assistant was taking 40,000 more calls from one of my properties,” says Brian. “On day one, when we went live, I was hoping for about 40-50% containment rate. The voice assistant achieved well over 80% of those calls. It totally blew me away.”
The insights gathered from each customer conversation have enabled Landry’s to develop the voice assistant to address more customer needs.
“Taking that data, understanding the intents, making it even better, and fine-tuning it along the way was very critical for us.”
On overcoming attrition
“Most people are struggling to hire right now, and increases in pay are impacting everybody. If you decide to outsource, know that they’re having the same challenges you’re having internally,” says Brian.
“A voice assistant comes to work every day, it doesn’t get sick, it’s 100% utilization, and you’re not paying for unutilized time.”
On advice for those considering call center voice AI
“If you’re just starting out, look at the low-hanging fruit,” says Brian. “Find things that can make a big impact quickly.”
It’s not just Landry’s customers that have seen value in their voice assistant.
“At one of my hotels, the voice assistant made over 3000 reservations one month, and answered 12,000 calls. The hotel nominated it for employee of the month.”
Thank you so much to Brian for joining us at PolyAI VOX and sharing your call center voice AI insights! You can watch all the talks on-demand now here.