From crypto firms to insurtech and “buy now, pay later” services, Voice AI is a crucial investment for Fintechs looking to stay ahead

3 Ways Voice AI is Helping Southeast Asian Fintechs to Scale Customer Experience

Ernest Lee

Marketing and Communications, AI Rudder

Technology platforms have tremendous potential to drive social progress. The financial technology (fintech) industry epitomises this, particularly in Southeast Asia –  where almost half of a 400 million-strong adult population do not have a bank account; while 90 million hold a bank account but lack sufficient access to investment products, insurance or credit.

The significance of enabling access to financial services cannot be underscored – financial access underpins a better quality of life, by helping families and businesses plan for everything from long-term goals to unexpected emergencies.

With access to bank accounts, people are more likely to use other financial services, such as credit and insurance, to start and expand businesses, invest in education or health, manage risk, and weather financial shocks, which can improve the overall quality of their lives. In fact, the World Bank considers financial inclusion a key enabler to reduce extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Southeast Asia is a hotbed for growth and innovation and fintech
Promisingly, the past years have seen a boom in fintech startups across Southeast Asia, with growth unlikely to slow down – according to a report from UOB, fintech funding in the region jumped more than three times in the first nine months of 2021 compared with full-year 2020, reaching a record $3.5 billion!  The payment sector attracted the most funding due to greater use of digital payments amid the pandemic; while tech and cryptocurrency firms ranked second and third place respectively.

With smartphone adoption among internet users in Southeast Asia set to increase from 88.0% in 2022 to 90.1% in 2026, mobile-first fintech platforms and services look set to drive access to some of the most technologically advanced financial services in the world across the region, including to long neglected rural populations.

Customer service might be a make-or-break for fintechs
With the attention and potential business of millions of long-term consumers up for grabs, fintech players will leave no stone unturned in capturing and retaining new customers. Customer service, in particular, will be a make-or-break factor for fintechs looking to stand out in a hyper-competitive space – after all, with low consumer understanding of digital financial services given the nascency of such services, businesses can expect a high volume of queries from curious customers looking to make the most out of their new platforms.

Having a human voice to speak to remains the most effective way to communicate with customers,  especially those who are new to the services being offered – FAQ pages and chatbots might not cut it for such customers.

At the same time, relying on traditional customer service offerings have been proven to slow businesses down. All over the industry, call centres are struggling to keep pace due to higher volumes of customer requests, and increasingly complex issues.

Another factor to consider is the high costs associated with call centre operations. Setting up and maintaining a call centre involves costs for equipment, space rental and labour, which can contribute up to 80% of company overhead.

But cost isn’t the biggest challenge for businesses managing call centre operations – time is. Scaling up means additional time needed to hire, train and upskill, while ensuring that basic operations are still addressed. For ambitious fintech startups looking to capture significant market share in the shortest time possible, this is a potentially huge speed bump – especially in a hyper-competitive industry.

Why Voice AI will be the way forward
This problem isn’t anything new – in fact, businesses have long turned to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to ease the load on call centre operations. However, IVRs can frustrate customers with long menus or wait times before a human agent could attend to them. In fact, a survey found that customers dislike IVRs because they are forced to wait through too many options irrelevant to their problem, and sometimes their reason for calling cannot be found on the menu.
Instead, fintech businesses faced with this unique set of challenges would want to consider the advantage of AI-powered voice services, which provide smart, efficient and cost-effective answers. Here’re 3 reasons why Voice AI should be the way forward:

  • Helps businesses scale their call centres rapidly

Voice AI can handle large volumes of tasks efficiently and simultaneously.

This frees up human agents to take on more complex and valuable tasks, which Voice AI routes to them while resolving simpler requests. Voice AI operates 24/7, doing the work of entire teams without associated labour, training and space management costs.

While human agents typically work eight-hour shifts, Voice AI agents work round the clock, 24/7. This is especially helpful for businesses with ambitions to scale globally, across various time zones. You can reach customers or prospects halfway around the globe, any time, any day.

  • Generate valuable data to optimise call centre operations and enhance customer experience

With customer data coming from multiple touchpoints in the CX landscape, organisations are missing a valuable opportunity to use that data to reduce friction in digital interactions. By using AI solutions to break down data silos, unify sources and analyse them, businesses can create hyper-personalised experiences for their customers to inspire brand loyalty.

In addition, Voice AI can analyse and evaluate all the calls that go through the call centre. Instead of limiting the review process to the sample size of calls, you can get a more holistic view of where your entire operation stands. This means identifying patterns that may have been missed—say, habitual errors that happen during peak or slack seasons—can be picked up and acted upon.

  • Supercharge the lead generation process

While the region has traditionally been heavily reliant on telemarketing as an acquisition tactic, this has its limits. Human agents can only achieve a certain number of calls a day. Of that number, up to 60 per cent get routed to voicemail, which drastically cuts success rates. What’s more, call centre agents are often subject to unpleasant encounters—ranging from rudeness to outright abuse. It takes a lot of mental and emotional strength to power through successive rejections.

In contrast, Voice AI agents can make up to 200,000 calls an hour—that’s a far cry from the average 300-500 calls a single telemarketer can make each day. If you want to reach more prospects by phone, Voice AI will get you there much faster.

In addition, where human agents may sometimes struggle to get the right information in front of them, AI can quickly pull up records and trace past interactions as the call is taking place. This enables Voice AI agents to respond more appropriately in real-time and provide more personalised offers.

To learn more about leveraging Voice AI to scale your customer support in call centres, contact us for a discussion or schedule a demo.