How to Implement Voice Bots for Better Customer Support

Asking for help should be easy. And fast. Faster than typing out emails. Faster than opening chat windows and typing out the problem. And faster than opening an app and searching for the solution.

Can your customers ask for help easily? And how fast can you deliver? Till recently, it was difficult to furnish this instant voice support in a scalable, accessible way. Then voice bots came along.

Voice bots are voice-powered user interfaces that can understand natural language and use it to converse with people. Simply put, they are computers that can converse like people. For your business, these bots are a scalable way to interact with your customer and speed up resolutions. If implemented correctly and appropriately, they can help your customer support achieve its central premise. That is, to solve customer’s problems as fast as possible.

How can Voice Bots Improve Customer Support?

#1 By Overhauling IVR and Routing

Do you want to connect callers to agents who are trained to resolve their problems without an annoyingly long IVR menu? Voice bots are a pleasing option. They can ask callers why they’ve called, much like a human secretary, and intelligently connect them to the right department.  

#2 By Improving Chats

When it comes to speed, voice beats typing hands down. Voice bots can be present on live chat windows, emails, apps, social media letting customers choose to just say what it is that is bothering them instead of typing in lengthy texts.

#3 By Scaling Up Your Voice Operations

Your voice bot platform can carry out human-like conversations in superhuman ways. That is, a single voice bot platform engages with thousands of customers simultaneously while giving personalized attention to each. By giving away a large chunk of repetitive tasks to voice bots, you will be able to manage far more support issues than before.

#4 By Reducing Transaction Times

Certain tasks can be performed faster by machines than by people. Your bot can complete repetitive tasks like booking, cancellations, ticket status faster than human agents.

#5 By Humanizing Your Support Center.

The truth is a lot of the times, our support staff tends to sound more like machines than they should. Repetitive tasks and high pressure to wrap calls saps the humanity out of a support center. With bots taking over the repetitive tasks, and hopefully reducing workloads, customer support executives can be trained and given the time needed to deliver human connection when it is really needed.

#6 By Giving a Voice to Your Self-service

Self-service can be made more scalable and customer friendly by using voice bots. Instead of sifting through FAQs online or on web communities, your customer can ask bots their frequently asked questions. For example, we have deployed voice interfaces to help callers make hotel inquiries or clarify FAQs.

How to Implement a Voice Bot?

It takes a developer between 12- 20 days to develop your voice bot. But for a genuinely effective solution, you need to do some spadework. Here are 4 suggested guidelines for implementing your bot:

1. Do I Need a Bot? Define Problems.

Being clear about what you want your voice bot to achieve is the first and most critical step in implementing a bot. Revise your customer support process to see where bot intervention will be effective. Are you failing on certain CX metrics? Find problems and explore them a bit, to define what you want your bot to do.

For example, are your callers waiting for more than 12 seconds in a queue? Split the calls you receive into categories. Identify where human intervention is necessary (for e.g placating an upset customer, attention to a high priority customer) And where bots can perform tasks faster (For example FAQ questions, booking, reservations)

2. Will Callers Like my Bot? Develop User-oriented Solutions

User acceptance and adoption is critical for your voice bot’s success. You may want to reduce call queues, but will your users be happy to hear a bot? You don’t want a high-value customer who is happy with phone support to be diverted to a voice bot.

Understand which users should interact with a bot and which should not.

Just like you split your process, you need to bucket your users. Maybe your voice could take care of the new users or casual inquiries so that important callers are diverted faster to a live agent.

Understand what conversations users would like to have with bots and which they wouldn’t. We’ve covered before that people may prefer bots for quick transactions. But dissecting typical conversations might also help you discover clever ways to reduce talk times.  Your user may be ok with answering 1-2 levels of questions with a bot, then they may want to talk to a person. Or they may want to explain their problem to a person and then be diverted to a bot. They may need 1-2 sessions of handholding, where a human agent is available throughout to get used to the bot.

3. What Should my Bot Know? Build a Knowledge Base

The third stage in implementing your bot is getting your knowledge base together for it. That is, once you have clearly defined what your bot is going to do, this stage will involve gathering as much information as possible to make your bot effective. For example, access to user details, product details, contact numbers. What all databases will they have access to? Will they integrate with your support desk software? Will they have third party contact details to transfer calls to if required?

4. Creating Your Bot

Now your developer has everything needed to build your bot. They will plan your bot flow. They will decide where you need algorithms to recognize entities, or intent or sentiment. They will create tight scripts including concise questions and answers based on your user research. And create personas using elements of voice like pitch, tone, accent. (For example, depending on your business, your bot can sound fun, casual or professional). They will use this persona to define language style and fillers. And very soon your bot will be ready for action.

What Features Should my Voice Bot Have?

All voice interfaces use Natural Language Processing or NLP to interpret words. But what differentiates one bot platform from another? What features ensure a smooth conversation?

The ability to understand meaning: We are not always literal when we speak. A bot should be able to use Intent analysis to extract the meaning behind words. For example, they should be able to understand that when a person says “sure” or “why not” they are most likely saying yes. And when they say, “I’m good”, “later” and “not really”, they’re probably saying “no”.

The ability to pause and listen: It may sound rude but being able to interrupt a bot is one of its best features. Ever got annoyed during a long IVR monologue? By contrast, you should be able to interrupt a bot. For example, if you say “no, I’m not interested”, “or you got it wrong, that’s not what I’m looking for”, or “sorry, could you repeat that”, your bot should be able to pause, listen and speak accordingly.

Streaming recognition: As with all technology, speed is essential to a pleasant experience. You voice bot should be able to interpret at the same rate at which your customer speaks. There shouldn’t be any lags.

Personalization: Your caller should not have to repeat themselves. Integrations with your support desk software should ensure that your bot greets caller by name, knows caller history, can estimate most likely reason for calling based on this history and personalize suggestions based on all this customer knowledge.

Access to live agents: At any time during an interaction, your caller should easily be able to revert to a live agent.  You should define user-oriented fallback rules, such as, if your bot can’t understand the user issue within a single question, you should revert to a live agent on priority.

AI-powered to continuously learn: An AI-powered bot doesn’t stop learning. It continuously improves its accuracy based on previous results.