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Why customers still call, and how AI voice assistants can help

Image of Tom Haynes
Tom Haynes
15 Dec 2022 - 5 minutes read

Over the last decade, companies have made significant investments in digital self-service, allowing customers to complete transactions and solve problems without support from a customer service representative.

These investments aim to improve operational efficiency, empower customers to find solutions to their problems and reduce the volume of calls to the contact center.

Despite the abundance of these digital channels, 71% of customers still call. 

Understanding why customers call will enable companies to find customer service automation solutions that will drive game-changing levels of Zero Touch Resolution. 

Customers call when their request is urgent

Customers call when their query is urgent or of high value. If customers see an unrecognized charge on their card or they’ve been in a car accident, their priority isn’t to search through self-service options, it’s to pick up the phone and speak to an agent. 

Even routine tasks can be urgent for customers, with many still choosing to call up about password resets, order tracking and FAQs. 

AI voice assistants can resolve urgent queries without customers needing to wait on hold, freeing up agents for the customers who need them most. 

They need to be understood

Many customers feel the need to explain their query in their own words to get an accurate and helpful response. They may not be willing or able to condense their issues to match online FAQs, and may be uncertain that information on digital channels is entirely relevant.

Picking up the phone is a habit

For many non-digital natives, picking up the phone is the natural choice when a problem arises. Even when digital self-service options are available, the familiarity and ease of using the phone channel win out every time. 

Creating great customer experiences means giving customers access to the channels they prefer. Using AI voice assistants allows companies to scale their capacity for customer calls, ensuring all customers get the service they want. 

Accessibility

Not all customers have the access or knowledge to use digital channels effectively. These customers rely on the phone channel to access support.

Companies should expect that many customers will continue to call. This means customer-centric companies need to consider how they can invest in the voice channel sustainably, and how they can realize the investment they have made in self-service channels by using the phone channel effectively.

Scaling phone support with customer-led voice assistants 

Regardless of the quality of online self-service, if a customer believes they will get a better standard of service speaking to an agent, they will insist on speaking to one. 

Voice assistants can resolve common customer queries through natural conversations, freeing up contact center agents to handle high-urgency, high-priority calls.

To contain these calls effectively, the voice assistant has to make the caller feel confident they are understood from the moment the conversation starts, and trust they are getting the best possible outcome for their query.

Case study: Bridging the gap between the phone channel and online support for non-digital natives

PolyAI created a voice assistant with a British bank experiencing high call volume to their understaffed contact center.

The bank had invested in online self-service and a chatbot to encourage customers to complete tasks online. However, many of the bank’s customers were non-digital natives, and when they faced a problem, they picked up the phone.

PolyAI deployed a voice assistant capable of guiding callers to a resolution in a way that felt natural and easy, with the ability to change its tone of voice based on what was happening in the conversation. 

For the bank, this included answering a broad range of questions, directing callers to relevant online forms, and sending useful links to the bank’s website via SMS.

By handlings repetitive call types, the voice assistant made call volume more manageable for live agents.  On the day it was launched, the voice assistant handled 30% of all phone calls.

 


Investment into AI voice assistants can help companies bridge the gap between voice enquiries and customer self-service, achieving Zero Touch Resolution by carrying on conversations that are led by the customer. 

Through trust-led conversation, PolyAI voice assistants give callers the freedom to speak in their own words and ask clarifying questions at any point in the conversation.

Learn more about Zero Touch Resolution and read the case studies →


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