Making customer experience smarter and more human with conversational AI

5 Ways Voice AI is Transforming the Customer Experience

Ernest Lee

Marketing and Communications, AI Rudder

Think about the last thing you bought. Did you get it online or from a brick-and-mortar store? How easy was it to find what you were looking for, and was the transaction smooth and painless? Overall, did the brand make you feel like they understood you and your needs?

Chances are, your answers to these questions will shape how you perceive that particular business moving forward. In the same way, your own customers will appraise your company based on their interactions with you across channels and throughout the entire customer journey.

This is what customer experience (CX) encompasses: all the big and small touchpoints connecting your buyers with your brand. Everything from response and issue resolution speed, to the level of service personalisation, matters. These significantly impact brand trust, perception, and your bottom line. Happy customers are more likely to be loyal and become advocates for your products and services; unhappy ones, on the other hand, may express sentiments that could harm your reputation.

This is where Voice AI comes in. Here are five ways it could transform your CX and make it more intelligent and more human.

1. Made for a post-pandemic world

Despite the importance of having stellar CX, a 2021 Forrester report commissioned by CINNOX found that only 16% of customers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Australia had brand interactions that exceeded their expectations. Singapore and Hong Kong recorded the lowest sentiments, with just 9% and 7% of respondents saying they encountered CX that exceeded their expectations, respectively.

The report also found that, amidst the digitalisation of interactions with brands, customers still look for the “human touch.” They want businesses to help them resolve their issues within the first interaction, respond to their queries quickly and have knowledgeable representatives.

Yet, today’s buyers and businesses will only become more and more digital in the years to come. In Southeast Asia, adoption could scale so significantly that the region’s digital economy could be worth US$1 trillion by 2030, predicts Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company.

Businesses must learn how to sustain customer engagement. One way to do this in an increasingly digital environment is to make sure your customers have the most up-to-date information about your business, which means you’ll need to keep the conversation going across multiple channels. As your customer base grows, so will the volume of queries and issues to address.

Voice AI can help your customer service systems serve more people, and with shorter wait times, without losing the “human” character of these interactions. Your customers get access to smarter, faster responses to their requests, and interact with your company in a natural, intuitive way. Should disruptions limit your team’s ability to provide support, Voice AI could help you stay connected to your customers.

2. Personalised customer experience

In Singapore, customers also seek personalisation, and many would think twice about repurchasing from a brand they’ve had a bad experience with, according to research by OpenText.

Research by OpenText uncovered Singaporean consumers’ demand for personalisation:

  • About 66% will only buy from brands that understand their preferences, i.e., offer relevant deals and interact with them on their preferred channels
  • 71% are more likely to become repeat customers of brands that provide personalised CX

Voice AI can help businesses offer their customers a more personalised experience. In an article published by the World Economic Forum, David Mattin, global head of trends and insights at TrendWatching, observes that these can be simple personalisations, such as pushing products and services based on a customer’s age, location, gender, and other fundamental characteristics.

But he points out that voice technology could also enable advanced personalisations, for instance, by gauging a speaker’s emotional state through the tone of their voice and suggesting relevant products and services based on this insight.

3. Efficient, round-the-clock service

AI can offer real-time, 24/7 support; it doesn’t get tired or sleepy, like human customer service representatives do. Deploying AI, thus, lets you serve more people and frees up your customer service teams’ time for more meaningful, high-impact tasks. Customer queries and issues are resolved faster, and voice technology lends the interaction a more human feel. And because Voice AI can simultaneously handle large volumes of customer requests, your organisation will be able to give the same level of service even during times when there’s a spike in customer calls.

4. Less prone to errors

Unlike humans, AI is immune to boredom, distraction, and frustration. As such, it may be better at handling repetitive tasks and those that need to be performed quickly and accurately. With Voice AI, customers get fast, accurate service.

Within your organisation, Voice AI can also help streamline processes and improve productivity. Routine tasks like scheduling meetings or setting reminders, for instance, lend themselves to automation, which then yields optimisations and benefits that you can pass on to your customers. The less time you spend doing simple, repetitive tasks, and the more accurately you perform these, the more resources you can devote to improving other parts of the business.

5. More accessible, inclusive services

Technology can help people with disability overcome accessibility issues. For instance, AI can enhance communication, mobility, independence, and access to services for those with various impairments. Voice-based ones, in particular, can be a big help to people with visual impairments.

By deploying Voice AI, you can improve your CX and make your services more accessible to customers who are visually impaired or have mobility challenges, like hand tremors or arthritis, which make it difficult to control smartphones or other digital devices.

Consider cybersecurity and data privacy when adopting voice AI

Despite the many benefits of Voice AI, there are things that humans are still better at, such as displaying empathy, cultural sensitivity, creativity, and innovation. The ability to offer personalised CX using AI also means businesses have access to high volumes of customer data.

You’ll need to tighten your cybersecurity posture, adhere to data privacy regulations, and effectively communicate with customers about why you’re collecting their data and how exactly you’re handling it.

A smarter, more human customer experience

Despite the challenges and limitations, Voice AI is already transforming CX for the better, and will likely continue to do so as the technology matures. Businesses that are serious about meeting their customers’ demands will do well to consider deploying it. They will also need to explore how Voice AI and their teams can work together seamlessly, complementing each other’s strengths and making up for their respective weaknesses.

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