Two years after the pandemic kickstarted a mass behavioural shift towards digital services, consumers today are spoilt for choice when it comes to purchasing products and services with their favourite brands digitally. From grocery shopping to securing mini loans and consulting a doctor, many essential services can now be accessed within a few taps of a smartphone.
But with digital platforms increasingly becoming customers’ main touchpoint with their favourite brands, many have become more demanding – they now expect to engage with their brands any time, any where, and on multiple platforms. This means that businesses now have to ensure that they are available 24/7 to attend to customers.
For many companies and organisations, the mass adoption of digital habits have provided opportunities and challenges alike. While they now have easier access to a wider pool of potential customers by selling on digital storefronts, there’s also a challenge of maintaining the same level of high-touch interactions that they are traditionally associated with. Balancing high level, genuine interaction while fulfilling a larger volume of requests will thus be crucial for businesses looking to capture the full opportunity in today’s digital marketplace.
Customers want genuine interaction, not robots
To balance the two imperatives, we have seen many companies invest in chatbots on their websites to attend to customers. While chatbots allow businesses to handle a high volume of queries effectively, they come with limitations.
A 2019 study found that customers are unlikely to use online chatbots again after using it for the first time, and 33% of customers wanted to complete their transaction elsewhere. Ultimately, while virtual chat “gets the job done”, it doesn’t give customers a personalised service that tailors to the nuances of their needs.
As a middle ground between a human operator providing high-touch customer interaction, and mechanical chatbots, Voice AI enhances and augments human conversation, rather than merely mimicking it. This technology does more than just substituting human conversations, while giving customers that human touch – almost as though they are speaking to live human agents.
Voice AI does this with the help of natural language understanding (NLU) that can identify the unique traits of a customer, and communicate in their preferred spoken language, as well as provide personalised solutions.
Lower business cost, higher efficiency
The greatest concern for businesses would be dealing with the lack of manpower and difficulties in retaining and filling positions. Yet, attending to customers in real-time would take up more resources, which some do not have the capacity to provide.
By implementing voice AI, businesses can ensure that customers are not kept waiting on the line. With 24/7 automated voice assistants, up to 200,000 calls can be made in an hour. These AI assistants are also equipped with features that would be able to retrieve and extract customer information within a few seconds.
Brands no longer have to worry about attending to customers and manually searching for customer information or history to accommodate their needs and requests. This saves time for both parties, and customers would have their problems resolved much faster than if they are served by a live agent.
Using voice AI, limited manpower would not put businesses at a disadvantage, as the customer’s demand of communicating with the brand round the clock can still be met. Businesses need not fret having to spread themselves thin by allocating unnecessary manpower to live call centres.
Multiple industries, multiple needs
One of the most important steps is identifying the needs of your customers based on the industry that your business is set in. The biggest mistake would be to design experiences based on the needs of the business rather than the customers.
For fintech businesses, Voice AI can be leveraged to automate payment reminders for customers, and making the loan application process easier. Due to the high sensitivity of the data that is handled with regards to loans, having a voice assistant to relay such information allows customers to feel more comfortable without having to sit through awkward conversations.
As customers rely on the company to keep their loans in check, having automated services would also reduce human error, thus creating a more reliable CX.
E-commerce businesses on the other hand can implement voice AI to track customers’ orders and attend to concerned customers regardless of the time. This helps to put the customers at ease knowing that the business is looking out for them and will ensure that their transactions are processed smoothly.
All in all, voice AI puts the customers needs first, leaving them satisfied at the efficiency of the service. For businesses who are just starting up, voice AI would be their best bet to provide a efficient and seamless CX, while ensuring that resources are being utilised strategically to benefit both customers and the business.