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Why CFOs Must Consider ‘Voice AI’ for Better ROI and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CFOs see numbers such as ROI and behold the beauty hidden within them. Today, Voice AI is churning out such convincing stats that every CFO must consider investments in Voice AI in an amicable light.

Business-customer interaction is a two-way street. Interestingly Voice AI solutions are ideal for both Outbound and Inbound calls. Companies are spending millions to reach out to potential customers. Engaging human agents has proved expensive and a significant managerial challenge. Deploying Voice AI helps companies achieve their most coveted goal – cost-efficient scale.

Voice remains the most-preferred channel for customer service. However, around 70% of all customer service requests are non-critical and repetitive, making it challenging for human agents to remain engaged, motivated, and empowered to solve everyday challenges. By taking away the bulk of the calls, Voice AI helps agents create value by solving complex customer problems and enjoying their job. Also, every company covets 24/7 intelligent customer support that is not entirely human agent dependent, and Voice AI is the perfect solution.

Core Challenges Contact Center Face

Contact centers for any organization, small or big, are complex institutions and face some key challenges:

  • Human Dependent Processes 
  • Cost Reduction
  • Optimizing Resource Utilization
  • Agent-time Utilization
  • Updating Legacy Systems
  • Delivering Consistent Customer Experience

Sadly, with IVRs, most contact centers have reached a point of saturation, where they have automated, measured, and monitored the operations with no further scope of improvement. Augmented voice intelligence is a technology that opens up new opportunities for creating value and growth.

Automate Non-revenue Generating Transactions with Voice AI

Shockingly, agents spend over 30% of their time on zero-value, non-revenue generating tasks that Voice AI could easily automate. Here are a few examples:

  • Providing account balances
  • User/Caller verification
  • Removing wrong numbers
  • Updating phone numbers and addresses 
  • Do not call handling
  • Bankruptcy data capture
  • Frequently asked questions

These functions are essential to proper functioning but do not create revenue for the company. They prove costly as they consume expensive agent time and loss of opportunity cost as the same effort could have gone into revenue-generating transactions.

These are just the lowest hanging fruits of Voice AI, and the technology is capable of creating enormous value.

IVRs have reached their zenith and are now causing customer dissatisfaction. Advanced solutions are the need of the hour. Chatbots are advanced and capable, but they suffer from one serious drawback—‘voice’ is the most preferred mode of customer support, not text. Voice AI can be a disruptor, accelerating digital transformation and creating a world of difference in the customer experience.

But before we deep dive into the transformation of a contact center, if you are curious about use cases of Voice AI in debt collection space you can explore: Meeting Debt Collection Compliance With AI-Powered Digital Voice Agents. Also, here everything you want to know more about Digital Voice Agents.

Transforming Contact Centers: Outbound Efforts

How do Voicebots help achieve operational excellence and reduce customer acquisition costs (CAC)?

Banks and financial institutions looking for growth and expansion reach out to hundreds of thousands of potential customers. An Intelligent Voice Agent can help a company reduce its customer acquisition cost by executing, with perfection, the various steps of the process such as:

  • Lead Qualification
  • Lead Generation 
  • Onboarding, and Documentation
  • Debt Collection
  • Subscription Reminders 
  • Feedback Collection

Instead of a human agent calling, following up, and coordinating, which is time-consuming and costly, a voice agent can finish the tasks at a fraction of the cost and expedite the sales cycle. It reduces the customer acquisition cost as a result. 

Perfect execution of such efforts at a large scale can make a radical difference for companies. Not only does CAC go down, but the results are also better. A win-win for companies.

Voice AI will always come as a powerful tool when a company wants to run various campaigns at scale. According to the Deloitte report, the global conversational AI market that includes both chatbots and intelligent voice assistants can grow at a 22% CAGR growth from 2020–to-25, reaching a US$14 billion market size. By partnering with the right augmented voice intelligence platform, businesses can optimize contact center OPEX.

Transforming Contact Centers: Inbound Call Handling

How does automation of voice conversations help organizations enhance cost efficiency?

Hitherto, IVRs provided a source of rudimentary automation. But their cognitive inabilities are resulting in customer frustration as no one wants to wait in lines for a human agent and start all over.

Voice automation is helping businesses free their operational bandwidth by answering simple calls, saving human-agent time, and reducing operations costs by 40-60%. Voice AI is thus empowering businesses to address significant challenges by automating repetitive queries, reducing wait time, and providing a delightful customer experience through human-like conversations.

Optimizing and automating processes is key to enhancing cost-efficiency. Here is how Voice AI helps in achieving this goal:

  • Self-service Optimization: On average, around 70% of calls fall in the non-urgent category. The intelligent voice agent can take most of these calls without engaging the human agent, enhancing a company’s ability to serve customers 24×7 without a human agent.
  • Scalability: The most neuralgic point of contact centers is team scalability. With the waning and waxing of call volumes, there is an urgent need to scale the support team. It is a nightmare for managers and has significant cost underpinning. By deploying a Voice AI solution, the intelligent voice agent will handle the bulk of the calls, passing only a fraction to the human agents.
  • Call Routing and Distribution: The primary focus of augmented voice intelligence solutions is to enhance customer experience. Tier 1 customer issues are resolved automatically with a voice AI agent. Voice AI solutions can prioritize requests and route them to the right human agent where needed. Such intelligent call distribution results in better customer satisfaction.
  • Meeting Compliance: More significant for collections space and banking, but every industry has a set of protocols and regulations to honor. Human agents handling large portfolios are prone to err. Calling a customer on the DND list or calling outside of time limits often results in lawsuits and penalties. A voice agent can easily be trained for any protocols, saving companies time and money.

Voice AI for Sustainable Business Benefits 

Augmented Voice Intelligence has displayed tangible improvements in all of the core metrics targeted by support centers, such as First Call Resolution (FCR), Average Handle Time (AHT), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Average Speed of Answer (ASA), Queue Length, Abandonment rate, and other Service level metrics.

The other significant advantage of using an AI-enabled voice product is that it gets better with time, and new use cases emerge. Voice will continue to play the cardinal role in customer support, and early adopters will create lasting competitive advantages.

Meeting Debt Collection Compliance With AI-Powered Digital Voice Agents

Owing to far-reaching repercussions, compliance management has become an issue of gravitas. It’s a challenge of change. Often, frequent regulatory changes create ambiguity for collection agencies. For instance, Regulation F of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) came into effect on November 30, 2021, and is the most significant debt collection rulemaking. Any creditor–either the original issuer or a debt buyer–faces challenges in responding to it. And even more tedious is training and retraining agents, reiterative setting up processes and tools to meet regulatory requirements.

When it comes to compliance, the devil is in the details. A human agent under varying stress and performance pressure is prone to make mistakes. But even an innocuous breach of compliance results in hefty fines and penalties. Even without state or local mandates around debt collection practices, federal regulations must be followed to avoid penalties or lawsuits from consumers or enforcers. CFPB levied $1.7 billion in civil penalties and over $14.4 billion in relief for American consumers in the last ten years. Compliance has thus evolved as a significant pain point for debt collections agencies.

We have reached a point where compliance is not just an expense item but also a source of differentiation for collection agencies. Unsurprisingly, most debt collection agencies are looking for tech solutions that can help them be more agile and efficient. Voice AI is one emerging solution with the most disruptive potential and growing use cases.

Too Many Calls, Too Little Communication

One of the prime objectives of compliance is to protect the customer from unfair practices and harassment. CFPB bases much of its enforcement authority on the concept of UDAAP (unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts or practices).

A call at the right time, to the right person, and with the right message can achieve the 3 Cs of debt collection: Cost, Compliance, and Customer Experience. A human agent may struggle to accomplish the triad, making too many or too few calls, but it’s a cakewalk for an intelligent voice agent.

Explore how Voice AI solutions are Transforming Debt Collection

Current Compliance Challenges

The formal, statutory fees and levies, which are increasingly hefty, represent just the tip of the compliance cost iceberg (around 10%) of total regulatory costs. The broader cost of compliance is much bigger, making it a formidable force. 

Here are the common challenges faced by debt collection agencies today:

  • Ever-Expanding List of Laws: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Payment Card Industry compliance (PCI), and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are a part of a growing list of regulations, adherence to which is a core driver to the success of debt collection agencies and similar financial institutions.
  • High Cost of Continual Training and Vigilance Process: A survey of sector firms by the Credit Services Association (CSA) reveals that in staffing terms, the proportion of resources involved (in compliance) seems to trend generally between 15% and 25% of total resources. That is a significant percentage and an opportunity to cut down the cost.
  • Client Expectation and Audit Requirements: Clients of collections agencies are deeply wary of meeting compliance and exert pressure, even more than regulators, to comply. As per a report by CFPB, collection agencies with large clients face 17 audits in a year. That’s an average of 3 audits every 2 months. The lack of transparency between debt collectors and consumers makes it difficult for agencies to facilitate these audits effectively. It is a formidable challenge to meet such high expectations cost-effectively.
  • Insufficient Time to Design and Implement Compliance Effectively: A rapid and frequent change in regulation leads to collection agencies running from pillar to post to update their processes. Deploying AI-enabled voice agents can minimize the training and guidance cost.
  • High Cost of Not Meeting the Compliance Requirements: Failing to meet the compliance requirement has, in the past, led to grave heavy consequences. Encore and Portfolio Recovery Associates, two giants in bad debt collections, were fined $18 million in 2015. They were forced to refund or halt collection of over $160 million in consumer debts. Violating the Do Not Call registry can cost agencies anywhere between $500-$1500 per case, as per TCPA. Moreover, razor-thin margins make the total cost of attorney fees, settlement costs, and the opportunity cost of time too much for agencies to bear.

Voice AI and its Ability to Empower Collection Companies Manage Compliance

More often than not, compliance is a matter of adhering to protocols and procedures. AI-enabled digital voice agents that can religiously follow a given set of instructions prove far superior in adherence to the regulatory framework.

There are numerous instances where small mistakes land collection agencies in trouble. Here are some simple yet powerful examples of how Voice AI can help with compliances:

  • Honoring Do Not Call Registry and Data Scrubbing: The telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) maintains a register of subscribers who do not want to be called for telemarketing calls and automated dialer calls unless you have consent to do so otherwise. It’s essential to scrub the data before dialing these contacts and check for permission. Solution is to scrub the data against certain database such as Do-not-call registries (external and internal), consumers represented by attorneys and debt settlement companies, deceased consumers, serial litigators, bankrupt consumers, cease-and-desist order consumers. Unlike human agents, who can fumble, digital voice agents perform this with the help of APIs in a fraction of a second.
  • Calling Within Permissible Hours: FDCPA does not allow collection agencies to contact customers outside of 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time unless the consumer has given explicit consent. Additionally, customers with night jobs may not wish to be contacted during the day. Such personalization in large portfolios prove to be a daunting task for a human agent but an effortless one for a digital voice agent.
  • Calling Frequency: Regulation F of CFPB limits the frequency of calls under the 7/7/7 rule, restricting the agencies from attempting to establish communication with their consumers for more than 7 times in 7 days. The 7/7/7 rule includes voicemail, unanswered calls, and messages left on the consumer’s phone, and excludes email and text messaging. Furthermore, agencies cannot try to establish contact in the next 7 days after a successful communication. It’s taxing for human agents to consistently follow these rules for the entire customer base while optimizing time and cost at the same time. On the other hand, configuring machines to follow all these rules is possible with a click. 
  • Mini-Miranda is mandatory as per FDCPA in the first communication in any channel. Digital voice agents never fail to comply with such regulatory requirements.
  • Failure to Discontinue Communication Upon Request: Communicating with consumers in any way (other than litigation) after receiving notice with certain exceptions can lead to lawsuits. Machines follow strict protocols and comply with the request submitted by the consumers.
  • Communicating with Consumers at Their Place of Employment: It’s illegal to contact the consumer after being advised that this is unacceptable or prohibited by the employer. Human agents under dier conditions fail to honor guidelines. On the other hand, since machines reachout at the right time and frequency have high conversion rate while meeting compliance.
  • Contacting a consumer represented by an attorney: Agents must not contact the consumers who have chosen not to be contacted by agencies and have signed up attorneys for communication with certain exceptions.
  • Communicating with a Consumer During Validation Period: Human agents can make a mistake and try to establish communication with the consumer or pursue collection efforts after receiving a request for verification of a debt made within the 30-day validation period. On the other hand, Digital Voice Agents are configured to not engage in any such activities and trigger the automatic collection calls once validation period is over.
  • Misrepresentation & Threatening Arrest or Legal Action: With variable incentive as a major wage component, it’s quite common for debt collectors to misrepresent as attorney or law enforcement officer. FDCPA prevents such kind of misrepresentation and has punitive enforcement directives. Digital voice agents follow strict protocol and never succumb to such malpractices.
  • The abusive or Profane Language used during communication related to the debt is prohibited. Digital voice agents never fall back to such practices in order to achieve the results.
  • Communication with Third Parties: revealing or discussing the nature of debts with third parties (other than the spouse or attorney) is prohibited except to know the location of the debtor without mentioning debt related information. Intelligent Voice Agents can confirm the right party before giving out any information.
  • Raise a Dispute: Voicebot can also help consumers raise a dispute over a call and tag it in the CRM so that the relevant team can pick it up.
  • Validation: Upon asking for validation information, the voice bot can immediately send the electronic copy of the validation notice and mark the contact with a relevant tag so that human agents can see the status, and neither the voicebot nor human agents try to communicate to the consumer for the next 30 days.
  • Raise Tickets: Voicebot can even raise tickets to send the physical copies of the validation notice if explicitly requested by the consumer.

With Distinct Advantages, Voice AI Will Play a Bigger Role in Compliance Management 

Apart from numerous other use cases, the utility of Intelligent voice agents in improving the compliance of debt collections agencies is fast emerging and very promising. 

Apart from the direct costs of compliance, indirect costs such as fines and penalties take a heavy toll on companies. Today, compliance has become more than an expense but a source of differentiation. Many companies have already begun adopting Voice AI, and its ever-expanding use cases will help them create a distinct competitive advantage.

For more information and free consultation, let’s connect over a quick call; Book Now!

Also, for more information visit our Collections Page.

Outbound IVR Robocaller vs. AI-Powered Digital Voice Agents 

One in four Americans (28%) have at least one debt. This underscores the significance of debt collection services. As more consumers depend on credit for multiple purchases from homes to vehicles, household appliances, and sometimes everyday living expenses, debt collection services are playing an even more significant role in the availability and recovery of credit.

Though the use of IVR outbound Robocaller or outbound IVR is largely demotivated for debt collection through TCPA and FDCPA, we would discuss a little bit about the use of IVR outbound Robocaller for debt collection in this blog. 

Over the last couple of decades, it was perhaps wise to deploy Outbound IVRs, Voice Blasters, or Robocallers. The technology helped companies send pre-recorded phone messages to hundreds of consumers at once. 

In the last couple of decades, they have helped companies reduce calling errors, call costs, and improve productivity. But with rapid advancements in technology, especially Voice AI, the competitive landscape has changed rapidly in favor of intelligent voice conversations. 

In this blog, we delve into the core of the issue to explain why Intelligent Voice Agents are the way to deliver superior business performance and customer experience.

Explore how Voice AI solutions are Transforming Debt Collections

Understanding IVRs and why they fail to deliver real value

Typically, an Outbound IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is used to proactively reach out to a large number of customers in a personalized manner using different interaction channels, such as voice messages. The most common use cases are feedback, promotions, announcements, reminders, etc. 

Robocaller or outbound IVR has essentially two components in it; a dialer capability and a text-to-speech engine (Advanced Outbound IVRs) or a recorded voice message (Robocaller). Businesses can upload thousands of contacts in the dialer and configure certain parameters such as number and time of retry attempts, time of call, etc. Dialer calls up these contacts and plays a voice message that consumers can listen to. At the end of the call, the consumer can provide keypad-based number input to listen to the message again and certain other things.

In the 1990s this technology was a game-changer and led to a huge improvement in efficiency, however, today it is ineffective and unnecessary, to say the least. 

Even the best outbound IVRs ail from persistent challenges as enumerated below:

  1. Unidirectional Communication: IVRs are capable of only unidirectional communication with a limited DTMF (Keypad-based) feedback mechanism.
  2. Low Engagement: IVRs have extremely low engagement rates owing to their non-conversational unidirectional communication.
  3. Right party contact: Inability to capture conversational inputs and run verification to check for right-party communication. Today, you cannot pass on debt-related information to the wrong contact even inadvertently.
  4. Lack of ability to capture important dispositions: Robocallers or outbound IVR can’t capture meaningful dispositions that can be used downstream, such as:
    • Willingness to pay, and expected date and mode of payment
    • Refusal to pay and associated reasons
    • Debt dispute and reasons
    • Willingness to pay partially and offer payment arrangements.
    • Ability to capture call-back dates and times for busy customers.
  5. Lack of insights for segmentation: inability to segment the pool of consumers based on disposition to help debt collection companies make meaningful strategic decisions.
  6. Inability to reach out to consumers at their preferred time: Since Robocaller cannot capture the disposition of busy consumers, it cannot intelligently call back or arrange a call back from human agents.
  7. Payment assistance and goal completion: can not help or guide the willing consumer to make the payment during the call.
  8. Human-Agent Dependence: for a large chunk of calls, the agent is needed to reach a meaningful end result.
  9. Compliance adherence: Since every call campaign is triggered manually, compliance is left with the operator who is running the campaigns.
  10. Customer Experience: being extremely impersonal, they miserably fail at contributing to CX.

IVRs, even at their best, do not contribute to CX or major productivity gains, whereas a bad IVR experience can prove very costly. The State of IVR in 2018 noted that 83% of customers would avoid a company after a poor experience with an IVR. 

The more pressing problem still remains:

“How to automate the mundane, repetitive and non-value additive tasks human agents are doing”

For a long time, we did not have an answer, or we did not have a commercially viable technology solution, but today we have, and it is an Intelligent Voice AI Agent.

Explore how AI-enabled Voice AI Agents are the Perfect Solution to Meet Compliance Requirements

Understanding Digital Voice Agents

Digital Voice agents are AI-powered virtual agents that allow customers to converse intelligently, without having to punch 1,2,3,4 on their screen to hold a meaningful contextual conversation. It is able to converse with your consumers just like your human agents. It is capable of understanding, interpreting, and then analyzing conversational voice input expressed by an individual and responding to them in an everyday language.

A Virtual Voice Agent goes beyond understanding words and determines what the consumer is saying based on underlying semantics, without relying on specific keywords. Using machine learning, a Virtual Voice Agent is continuously improving itself and the customer experience. Read more about Digital Voice AI agent here.

Unlike Siri and Alexa, which are designed to handle everyday context-less tasks such as setting up an alarm or playing songs, AI-powered digital voice agents are trained specifically to handle complex problems, and understand what a customer may want in all probable scenarios, making them highly effective in solving customer problems and requests. 

A Comparative Look: Digital Voice Agent Vs Outbound IVR

4 Core Benefits: Why Top Collection Agencies are Deploying Digital Voice Agents 

For any company, AI-enabled Digital Voice Agents are a quantum leap from aging outbound IVRs. There is no comparison. Digital Voice Agents are AI-enabled, making them improve exponentially with time. One can surmise the amount of competitive leg-up companies can create as they start early. Here are the core business benefits of deploying Digital Voice Agents over IVRs:

  1. Reducing Cost and Improving Speed of Collections: The Digital Voice Agents can make or handle hundreds of concurrent calls at scale, economically, and in just an hour. Not only that, voice agents, being a machine, are very punctual and reach out to debtors that request a callback or make reattempts right on time when the probability of connecting to contact is highest. All this is done within the prescribed compliance framework.
  2. Superior Recovery and Collection Efforts: Better collection and recovery demand persistent efforts. When nudged at the right time, a debtor who is willing but unable to pay now might pay a few months down the line. Thus, what matters is how persistently collection agencies can reach out to a certain segment of debtors, ideally disposed to pay. It’s a piece of cake for Digital Voice Agent to schedule follow-up calls, honoring the regulatory guidelines, spread over weeks/months, and ensure better recovery rates. With timely and adequate calls going out to customers, and 24*7 support, the right voice-tech solution checks all the boxes to improve collections and recovery.
  3. Minimize Errors, ensure Compliance and Security: With a myriad of ever-changing regulations, disparate for each state, it is challenging for agents to keep abreast and be flawless. Training and development are costly, but Digital Voice Agents are easy to update and ensure perfect compliance. IVRs play a limited role, as unidirectional communications have a low impact.
  4. Human-Agent Bandwidth Prioritization: The beauty of deploying an Augmented Voice Intelligence is that it can call all the customers and filter the cases of complex cases that need human agent interference. In the present system, agents call the entire list, be it a simple case or a complex one, not creating desired value in the process. For the dispositions where human intervention is required, Voice Agent can segment the portfolio so that relevant human agents can be assigned the downstream tasks. This prioritization of bandwidth unlocks massive value for the collection companies.

For more information and free consultation, let’s connect over a quick call; Book Now!

Also, for more information visit our Collections Page.

Augmented Voice Intelligence: The Future of Intelligent Work is Here

“Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you,” 

said Alexander Grahambell for the first time ever on the telephone.

And the world has never been the same again.

Speech-tech intersection has always been and will be revolutionary. Why? Maybe because speech is hardwired into our DNA and is one of our most natural, intuitive ways of communication. 

While text largely connects humans and tech at present, it is very different—and in many ways, premeditated and poker-faced—extension of communication when compared to its primal, spontaneous counterpart – speech. The coming together of our most basic natures and tech, our most advanced pursuits, seems inevitable (and utterly exciting, of course!). Speech tech is key to opening the doors of accessibility for machines, complete with their own unique strengths, to truly be part of functional human ecosystems of interactions.

Understandably, with this kind of scope, Voice AI has made incredible strides in the last decade and continues to grow. True to AI’s brilliance, it is also further fueled by that very growth and is getting better and more human-like everyday, driven by advancements in Machine Learning, Data Science and NLP.

Which brings us to a question though – Is becoming as ‘human’ as possible the end goal for Voice AI? If not, what is? Existential ponderings aside, our exploration of the potential value of Voice AI led us to something that could empower human interactions, make them more meaningful and not replace but augment the human workforce. We call it Augmented Voice Intelligence.

What is Augmented Voice Intelligence?

At Skit, we have always worked with the belief that AI could evolve to seamlessly plug into businesses and augment the work of the human workforce. With the goal being smooth conversations that solve problems, technology has to clear hurdles, not create new ones. It cannot be achieved with a platform that handles every channel out there with the same underlying technology. It cannot be achieved with a solution that’s simply a chatbot with speech engines duct-taped to it. And it cannot be handled as mere voice commands, with no orientation to the nuances of conversational speech. If an enterprise wants to provide the best experience in every voice touchpoint, in every call, they need to invest in a solution that was purpose-built to handle conversations.

Rather than replace humans by doing what they do better, we wanted to intercept cognitively routine tasks and allow humans to focus on more intricate challenges. Our technology stack has also fast evolved to meet this vision, and out of it came the philosophy of Augmented Voice Intelligence. This is the new paradigm of expanding your workforce to combine the power of humans and AI. It is collaborative in nature—a collaborative effort in service of customers. Essentially, it is a purpose-built voice intelligence platform that is not just a point solution, but a system that integrates with businesses to make the most out of every single conversation. It is flexible, scalable and very versatile.

What Does it Mean for CX and Business Transformations?

Businesses today understand that how they deliver to customers is just as important as what they deliver. The focus is more on customer experience over just customer service; journeys over just touchpoints. Conversations are becoming more powerful than ever. Similarly, customers are also viewing their engagement with brands as end-to-end experiences rather than separate interactions.

At Skit, we took it up a notch higher with Augmented Voice Intelligence and have been working on layering just the right solutions for businesses to enhance not just customer experience but overall business experience and employee experience too.

Particularly within customer service, Augmented Voice Intelligence is here to set new standards for user-agent interactions and exponentially widen the scope of value-creation for businesses.

How Does Augmented Voice Intelligence Work?

While Augmented Voice Intelligence opens up endless possibilities across domains, our primary focus has been within contact centres. The biggest pain point call centers have today is creating smooth IVR experiences (the unending frustrations of which need no introductions). Customers, who are likely to be calling with an issue at hand, are frustrated handling the long menus with confusing options. They lack a direct way to reach a human agent.

From an agent’s perspective, IVR often doesn’t route the right kind of calls to the right agent. When the agent receives the call, there is a lack of context and the customer has to repeat themselves all over again. The more complex the calls become, the bigger impact it has on the business as well. Instead of maximizing on customer conversations, businesses end up struggling to resolve basic issues.

The Skit Solution : Augment human workforce with digital intelligence

Towards our vision of building tech that entwines human interactions, we designed and built a Digital Voice Agent that resolves tier 1 customer service issues, and automates cognitively routine work while human agents can focus on more complex customer problems. 

The Digital Voice Agent works in a custom-built environment of conversation design that is modeled on the nuances of human interactions, vertical, domain-specific Voice AI, and integrated business logic that lends direction. This enables contact centres to provide a seamless experience to customers and employees alike while also taking care of scaling and efficiency issues and optimizing costs.

Machines are not superhuman, neither are humans inferior to machines. Rather than one replacing the other, the future will be defined by human-AI partnerships. With Augmented Voice Intelligence, that path has opened up to a very promising start for us here at Skit.

So now, what else does Augmented Voice Intelligence have to offer? How can we make it better? What other businesses can it impact? Well, we are exploring every single day as we dream of the perfect friendship between humans and machines.

Digital Voice Agents: What, Why and How

Systems that can handle mundane tasks have existed for several years. But in the recent past, we have seen an uptick in conversational assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung Bixby. These systems handle human conversations and respond in a human-like manner. In fact, it has become an internal part of our daily lives.

The speech and voice recognition market is expected to grow from USD 8.3 billion in 2021 to USD 22.0 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.6 % during the forecast period.

When it comes to CX, the always-on customers expect more when it comes to customer service. They need personalized and faster resolutions. They can no longer wait for minutes together to connect with an agent or navigate through complex IVR menus.

Solutions like voice bots are disrupting customer service as they promise the same level of customer experience as a human agent. Advanced AI-powered Digital Voice Agents can help CX leaders elevate their customer experience while reducing costs, thereby solving two of the biggest challenges faced by them on a daily basis. The solution is scalable and more efficient than other channels like email and IVR.

What is a Digital Voice Agent?

A Digital Voice Agent is a conversational robot (commonly known as a voice bot), that has the ability to interact with a user and take a certain set of actions in order to meet an end goal. It is very similar to voice assistants like Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa we use on a daily basis.

But what’s the difference? 

Voice assistants are designed to handle one or two turns of the conversation to meet generic day-to-day goals.

Example of a single turn conversation

Digital Voice Agents, on the other hand, are designed to solve specific problems which require much more than two turns of conversation, just the way we humans solve queries by first asking multiple questions to understand the context and all the required information to solve any problem.

For example, a lost credit card is blocked by asking a series of standard questions: the first couple of questions to verify the caller, and the next set of questions to confirm which credit card to be blocked and then followed by an action where the customer is sent a new credit card. Typically, this is a 6-7 turn conversation that generic voice assistants are not designed to handle. Specialized voice bots are required to be trained to handle such tasks.

So, How does Skit’s Digital Voice Agent work?

Fundamentally, there are at least four components (engines) to any voice bot:

ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition): This converts the voice into text transcription. This is alternatively called Speech-to-text or STT Engine.

SLU (Spoken Language Understanding): This is the brain of the voice bot. It extracts intents and entities (data points) from the text sentence produced by ASR and then comes up with the best possible action. That action can be performed in terms of voice reply or sending a document or a text message, or transferring the call or raising a ticket etc.

TTS (Text to Speech): The block that translates the text into voice for generating a reply. 

Dialogue Manager (Orchestrator): The block that manages the flow of data among the above three blocks and the flow of the conversation.

All these processes happen in real-time and within milliseconds. This is only one turn of the conversation and this process gets repeated for subsequent turns.

All these processes are performed in the cloud after the voice packets are received from a user. So it doesn’t really matter which device the caller is using, whether it’s a smartphone or a feature phone or a wired telephone. Skit’s Digital Voice Agents leverage all these layers to seamlessly plug into contact centers and augment the work of human agents.

How are Digital Voice Agents different from Chatbots?

Technically, an AI-powered voice bot has two extra engines that a chatbot doesn’t need. Since chatbots do not deal with voice, the two engines related to voice (ASR and TTS) are not required. The text input is fed directly to NLU and the intents and entities are extracted and the response is synthesized in text format and relayed back to the user.

Furthermore, voice queries on call bring with it certain challenges like noisy backgrounds, different accents and dialects of speaking the same language, language disfluencies and unique way of adding filler words and pauses, barge-in by a person while the other one is speaking; all of which directly impact accuracy. 

And for the same reason, voice bots are much more difficult to build. Everything has to be real-time within milliseconds and there is little to no room for error, else communication experience is hurt.

What sets voice bots apart is that they’re faster. Voice is the quickest and most natural form of human communication—faster than typing or navigating drop-down menus with a mouse. It continues to be one of the most sought-after by end customers seeking support.

What are the common applications of Digital Voice Agents and how does it add value?

The key to improving customer service is not just automating cognitively routine communications, but augmenting human agents and freeing up their time. This creates great self-service options, increases customer satisfaction and makes your employees more productive.

At a broad level, a Digital Voice Agent can be used whenever businesses want to communicate with their customers en-masse. However, let’s make it simple for you. There are two types of business communications:

Inbound communication

This is when a customer tries to call a business to get their queries resolved. For example, to register a complaint, to activate or deactivate a service etc.

Companies have contact centres to resolve the customer queries where human agents are trained to resolve the customer complaints coming from various channels such as calls, emails, social media etc.

How does a Digital Voice Agent add value here?

Automate mundane support queries: It can automate the simple repetitive queries end-to-end such as knowing the account balance in case of banking, the status of the order in case of e-commerce etc. Your human agents can now move to solve more complex queries. So your average service levels will drastically improve as your customers will be served without any waiting time.

Reduce average handling time: For more complex queries, Digital Voice Agents help reduce the average handling time of the human agent by collecting basic tasks, for example, caller verification, collecting basic information such as order number etc that is mandatory for the human agent to solve the query. After performing the preliminary checks the call can be transferred to the human agent with the context of the query and data collected so far.

Outbound communication

This is when a business tries to reach out to customers for a variety of reasons such as lead qualification calling, welcome calling, reminder calls, renewal calls.

How does a Digital Voice Agent add value here?

Lead Qualification: Since the Digital Voice Agent is a scalable machine, it can reach out to thousands of prospects concurrently in real-time as soon as the prospect has shown interest in the product or service to gauge interest and thereafter transfer the call to live agent in real-time to convert the customer. In the case of semi-qualified leads, it can mark those and send them to nurturing workflows. Your human agents are only given the more qualified leads to work on and hence human agent productivity shoots multifold.

Reminder calling: The Digital Voice Agent can place the automated calls to your existing customers based on pre-defined triggers such as on the nth day of the month or if the payment is not received by this day of the month etc. It eliminates the need for human agents for such simple tasks. It can take a propensity to pay or renew, the date by which it will be done, objection & FAQ handling, the reason for non-payment etc.

” About 75% of companies plan to invest in automation technologies such as AI and process automation in the next few years. AI, chatbots, voice bots and automated self-service technologies free up call centre employees from routine tier-1 support requests and repetitive tasks, so they can focus on more complex issues.” (Source: Deloitte)

Broadly, various kinds of voice bots are among the most popular automation solutions, and are quickly becoming a must-have for any contact centre. Skit’s Digital Voice Agents take it up a notch by being able to forge seamless human-AI partnerships for contact center modernization and optimization.

What are Digital Voice Agents good at compared to humans?

On-demand Scalability: Humans cannot be replicated on-demand. When we want to add a number of agents in the contact center, it takes its own sweet time of hiring, onboarding, and training. And it has to be repeated for every single agent we hire.

Digital Voice Agents can be scaled up and down as and when required with marginal cost.

Economic & Reliable: Employing human resources for repetitive mundane tasks is costlier. There would be a high cost of hiring, training, retraining, associated with a higher churn rate. And that has to be done for every human resource we employ. Bots on the other hand need to be built and trained only once and the benefit of incremental learning and retraining is huge and available across the board.

We all know that machines are exceptional at performing repetitive tasks with high efficiency and high reliability. If a Digital Voice Agent is asked by a customer not to call during office hours or to call at specific times in future, it can do so without fail. Humans are not so good at it.

Available 24×7: Machines don’t get tired or complain either. Sad but true that they don’t have a family to go to or need time to sleep. So you can be available to your customers round the clock.

Looking up for information in a knowledge base: Digital Voice Agents can easily fetch information from a knowledge base for answering a wide range of support queries. 

Consistent learning and training at scale: Apart from using Artificial Intelligence for answering questions, Skit’s Digital Voice Agents also leverage different machine learning models and past conversations to automatically improve the quality of answers.

Voice AI for Insurance: Streamline Inbound Support

Today, the expectations of insurance customers are heavily influenced by the tech first disruptors. In order for traditional insurance companies to continue with their market domination, they will need to take a comprehensive and structural approach to transform their business models to compete with the nimbler tech-savvy entrants- Insurtechs, which are redefining product offerings and customer experience (CX).

The insurance industry is going through a tectonic shift, as more consumers are buying insurance policies online rather than taking the help of agents/brokers, in order to minimize contact – a behavioural change that has accelerated due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. The online insurance market in India is expected to grow to INR 220 billion by 2024 (Mordor Intelligence report). However, most insurance companies are overwhelmed with the increased surge and face a hard time in resolving queries of leads and customers. 

Since the trend is only going to increase in the future, it’s critical for insurance companies to reimagine their inbound support strategy. With limited resources and increasing support queries, insurance companies need to leverage the right technology and automation to see results.

AI Voice bots, for example, are becoming increasingly popular among insurance companies and are being leveraged by many insurance companies to answer mundane support requests and streamline the claims process. In this blog, we dive deeper and understand exactly how AI Voice bots are driving value for insurance companies when it comes to inbound support –

Role of Voice AI 

Voice AI is a combination of technologies that enables interaction between computers and customers through voice. AI Voice bots that are powered by Voice AI are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms. 

With the ability to understand the context and intent and hold human-like conversations they can engage with customers and assist them without any human intervention. 

By connecting with the customer at different stages in the customer journey, be it to remind them about upcoming renewals, lead qualification, answer FAQs or inform about claim submission status, AI voice bots delight the customer while freeing up additional agent bandwidth to take up complex tasks. 

While the solution is equally effective in increasing renewals and for proactive customer engagement, in this blog, we’ll just focus on how it can streamline inbound support – 

Answering FAQs around policy quickly

Insurance companies receive a lot of inbound queries daily around premium payment terms, maturity date, lock-in period and more. A huge chunk of these queries are mundane in nature and don’t need human assistance. However, most insurance companies still resolve these questions manually. 

With limited bandwidth, companies struggle in reducing response times. Also, this negatively impacts the productivity of the agents as they waste their time answering repeated queries each day. 

A great way to fix this is by leveraging AI voice bots to answer these questions. They can easily understand the customer’s query and resolve it instantly 24/7. Customers no longer need to wait in a queue or go through complicated IVR systems. With the right integrations, AI voice bots can easily fetch customer past data to provide a personalized support experience. 

By freeing up agent bandwidth, human agents get more time in resolving complex support queries. Customers on the other hand get immediate answers to their queries which could have otherwise easily taken a few minutes. 

Additionally, AI voice bots are extremely helpful in tackling surges in the number of support queries during certain events such as a flood, earthquake etc. 

Enhancing the claims experience 

The claims process is a defining moment in a policy holder’s life. They expect it to be frictionless. However, most of the time they’re left disappointed. Traditionally, the insurance claims process has been slow and challenging. Getting a claim processed in a few days or weeks with minimal effort is nothing less than a miracle. 

With time, insurance companies have understood this. They know it’s critical for customer retention, sustainable growth and differentiating themselves from the competition. Hence, they constantly employ different strategies and technology solutions to streamline their claims process and make it more efficient. 

But, oftentimes, the reason for dissatisfaction among customers has to do with the lack of information around the status of the claim (especially during life-changing events) than the overall processing time. To fix this, insurance companies can leverage AI voice bots.

AI voice bots can intelligently assist customers throughout the claims process and even proactively inform them about the status of their claims. They can answer common questions around how to raise a claim, claim forms and more. If required they can also seamlessly do handoff calls to agents. 

By engaging with customers at every stage and keeping them in the loop, they prevent any information gap and remove the need for them to reach support. This significantly enhances the customers’ claims experience, thus increasing satisfaction and customer loyalty. 

The road ahead for Insurers

By focusing on convenience, personalization, friction less customer service and building loyalty insurers can stay ahead of the competition and attract loyal customers. But the road ahead for them is not easy. Insurers need to invest in customer-centricity to build and maintain a competitive edge.

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can streamline your contact center strategy.

Voice AI for Insurance: Improving Persistency and Renewals

The insurance industry in India is expected to hit $250Bn by 2025. However, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has upended industries including insurance, forcing them to adapt to new customer behaviors during this crisis. The insurance industry has to respond to these challenges with newer products to meet the new demands. However, just selling these products is not enough; repeat purchases and renewals of policies are a necessity for sustained growth.

Persistency rate (percentage of policyholders who continue to pay their renewal premium) is by far the most important metric that insurance companies track especially for policies like term and life insurance. Since the number of policies lapsed directly impacts revenue and profitability, companies constantly apply different strategies to increase persistency.  

Indian insurance companies, for example, greatly struggle in maintaining high persistency rates. To throw some numbers, the average persistency rate for life insurance policies in the 13th month was just 61% during 2015-2016, compared to the global average of 90%. 

While insurance companies have taken up various initiatives to solve this problem, there’s no quick-fix solution to the problem as multiple factors influence renewals. 

Different challenges faced by insurance companies 

While there are multiple reasons that negatively impact persistency, mis-selling and lack of customer engagement are by far the biggest challenges. Let us learn about each of them in-depth below. 

Mis-selling of the policy  

With 76% of consumers relying on agents/brokers to learn about policies such as life insurance, a large number of consumers fall prey to mis-selling every day. Many agents make unrealistic promises to sell the insurance policy as their focus is more on gaining the upfront commission than selling the right policy. 

Insurance companies are trying their best to curb mis-selling by employing different strategies and practices like PIVC (Pre-Insurance Verification call) where a call is triggered by the insurance company to share the important insurance details and confirm it with the policyholder. While the number of mis-selling complaints is reducing, it still continues to be a big threat for insurance companies.

Mrin Agarwal, founder director, Finsafe India, said that mis-selling of insurance is rampant. In most cases, consumers themselves are not aware that they are being overpromised returns. Insurance agents sell policies claiming 8% returns per annum but the actual XIRR (real rate of return) comes at 3-4% only. 

Below are few reasons why mis-selling is so common in countries like India:

Lack of need-based selling and segmentation 

Multiple reports show that there’s a huge dissatisfaction among customers when it comes to their insurance policy. This makes them unsure whether they should renew the policy or not. Most often this is because they’ve brought a policy that they don’t need.

The lack of need-based selling is one of the several issues that cause policy lapsation. The only way to fix it is by customer segmentation and by understanding their need through data to ensure the right policies are sold to the right customers.

Lack of education and ineffective communication 

Financial literacy plays an important role in ensuring consumers choose the right policy for themselves. They cannot be overdependent on agents for this. For example, many consumers still look at life insurance from a tax-saving perspective rather than its long term benefit.

Over 38% of consumers find life insurance products too complicated and find the need for expert assistance. (LexisNexis Report)

Lack of customer engagement

Another reason for low persistency rates is the lack of customer engagement. Insurance companies put little to no effort in communicating the different benefits of the policies and in educating customers about the importance of insurance policies. Rather they only engage at the time of renewal or for cross-selling. This lack of focus on customer experience makes consumers feel less secure and greatly impacts the renewal rate. 

Hence, one of the biggest reasons why customers don’t end up renewing their policy is because they lack confidence in the policy they’ve bought. A report shows that only 42% of people with life insurance were “very confident” that they purchased the right life insurance policy. 

Inability to identify risky customers early

Usually, insurance customers use channels like emails and SMS to remind customers about their upcoming renewals. While they work to an extent, it’s unidirectional, meaning it doesn’t capture any intent from the customer whether they’re looking to pay it in a few days, they’re facing issues with payment or whether they don’t want to renew the policy at all.

Since they only understand the intent, a few days before when they start calling customers who haven’t paid, it leaves them with very little to no time in understanding the customer’s problems and solving them. This significantly impacts conversions. 

What’s the solution?

Let’s look at different strategies insurance companies can implement to tackle the above challenges –

Constant Engagement across the journey 

Insurance companies cannot afford to shift their focus on consumers after conversion. To ensure they exactly know the benefits of their policy and the value it can add, companies need to effectively onboard them. Surprisingly, many policyholders have little to no information about the policy they hold.

Secondly, companies need to engage with customers at regular intervals, be it for education, sharing critical updates or just checking on them during certain events (like a pandemic). This will greatly help in making them feel valued and promote loyalty. 

Voice AI is an innovative and scalable way to craft multiple and personalized touchpoints for constant customer engagement. 

Companies shouldn’t just limit their communication just to renewals and upselling/cross-selling.

Reimagining their renewal framework 

There’s no doubt that reminder calls for renewals greatly impact persistency and timely repayments. However, the framework used by insurance companies is in a lot of ways broken.

The current framework that most insurance companies leverage is unidirectional which means that it just focuses on reminding the users about the renewal without capturing their intent. While this works to a large extent, it causes multiple challenges including – 

  • Slower collections 
  • High cost of collection (as the number of manual calls needs to be made increases)
  • Low engagement 
  • Lower customer satisfaction (as all customers are treated as one) 

An effective way to fix this is by capturing the user’s intent after each engagement. Hence, rather than using a voice blast, companies can leverage AI voice bots capable of holding natural conversations, to not only remind customers but also capture their intent. Using this data, AI voice bots can either reschedule the reminder call or share the intent with the agent for further communication.

For example, if a user responds by saying that he/she will pay after a few days, AI voice bots can intelligently schedule a call in case the payment is still pending. 

Again, insurance companies are free to leverage any channel of their choice, as long as they’re able to capture the user’s intent (critical for segmentation and personalization). 

By using this framework, insurance companies can – 

  • Close campaigns (for renewals) faster (by decreasing the number of manual calls to made) 
  • Segment risky customers early  
  • Reduce the collection costs significantly

Thus insurance companies need to think and act more decisively to forge deep customer relationships and invest in building truly digital and agile organizations.  

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.

Voice AI in Financial Securities for Improved CLTV

The global brokerage industry is growing at a CAGR of 4%. The unprecedented growth of the brokerage industry especially in the developing economies, improved financial awareness and digital-friendly services have made customer acquisition easier. However, brokerage firms both traditional and digital-first are facing a hard time with customer activation and retention. This is due to multiple reasons including increasing competition and demand for a seamless customer experience.

To get a positive ROI from customers, financial services companies like brokers/AMCs need to focus on increasing their lifetime value. Compared to banking or insurance, buying a stock or a mutual fund can seem overwhelming and complex, especially for first-time customers. Hence, for financial services companies, it’s not only important to onboard customers smoothly but also proactively support them and resolve their challenges across their lifecycle.

According to a study by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in retention can lead to a rise in profit between 25% to 95%.

Let’s look at a few customer experience strategies and advanced technologies that financial services companies can leverage to reduce customer churn and increase customer lifetime value –

Onboarding customers effectively 

While attracting and converting customers have their own challenges, for companies, their ultimate goal should be to ensure customers get maximum value out of their platform, rather than just stop at customer acquisition. Inability to do that can directly lead to an increase in customer churn. This is why customer onboarding is so critical for any business. Research has shown that onboarding has a positive impact on the customer’s willingness to leverage different products/services.

Through effective customer onboarding, companies should look at making customers comfortable with the platform and aware of all their products/services. This will ensure that customers can take appropriate action without facing any challenges. Again not all customers are the same. Hence, onboarding should be tailored according to different customer segments so that each one is able to reap the maximum benefit. 

Here are few characteristics of a good onboarding program: 

  • It’s fast and simple
  • Easily accessible 
  • Interactive 

If you’re having trouble segmenting users, you can leverage Voice AI. AI Voice bots that are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms can help you in triggering personalized calls to customers intelligently and asking them their past experience with financial services products, whether they’d be interested in getting additional help through a dedicated support agent and if they’d like to book a demo. 

Customer satisfaction boosts CLTV

For companies to increase LTV, it’s very important for them to build long term relationships with customers. In order for companies to achieve this, they need to ensure they provide customers with a great support experience consistently across all channels. A lot of times, the first impression of a company’s support is enough for customers to create a brand perception.

Often times companies pay less focus on users once they’re converted. But for business success, equal importance should be provided to each customer, irrespective of which stage they’re in. 

Customers are more likely to return to your platform when you resolve their queries timely and provide proactive support. 

Collecting Feedback

To gauge customer satisfaction and ensure that improvements are being made to it consistently, companies need to collect feedback. This is critical in understanding the good and bad aspects and working towards improving them.

Traditionally companies have been using text, emails and manual phone calls to collect feedback. While these methods still work, financial services companies can also leverage the power of AI voice bots. With the ability to understand the context and intent and hold human-like conversations, the AI voice bot can collect feedback from customers in a personalized manner and also automatically reschedule calls to ensure the majority of the people are reached. 

For example, a feedback call can be triggered to customers on the successful investment in a mutual fund. 

Customer activation of dormant users 

Even engaged customers can turn into inactive customers. This can be due to multiple reasons. For the financial services industry, it might be because the stock market is performing poorly, or they’ve incurred a huge loss, or because they’ve changed devices. Again, whatever the reason might be, companies should not consider them as lost, and instead, need to apply different strategies to re-activate them.

One effective strategy is to ensure companies need to stay relevant across channels including voice. They need to capture the top of the mind recall for these users so that customers know the platform to select when they’re ready to take an action. 

For example, alongside other communication, running exclusive promotional campaigns for dormant customers are a great way to bring users back to the platform. This can be performed across different channels like emails, SMS, phone and in-app notifications. 

Similar to email campaigns, with advanced technologies like Voice AI, automated outbound call campaigns can be executed within a couple of minutes without any human assistance. Companies no longer need to invest in hiring call centre agents or an external agency for execution. AI Voice bots can automate outbound calls to reactivate dormant accounts and ask customers a set of questions to understand if they are facing any difficulty. According to the information that is collected, financial services companies can take appropriate action to bring the user back. 

Cross Selling and Upselling 

With so many products to offer ( equity, commodity, future & options, currency and mutual funds), an effective way for financial services companies to increase CLTV is through cross-selling and upselling customers. 

While at the outset it might sound straightforward, upselling customers is a complex process and can only be beneficial when executed in the right way. Here are few tips to maximise the results from cross-selling and upselling: 

  • Segmenting users before upselling and cross-selling is very important. Spamming users never helps in increasing conversions.
  • Timing also plays a critical role. Companies need to decide this according to the product a customer subscribes to.
  • The focus should always be on providing additional value to the customers.
  • Engaged and loyal customers are a great fit for upselling and cross-selling 

The ultimate goal for financial services companies should be to closely monitor customers, understand their needs and meet them accordingly at the right time and in the most efficient and scalable manner.

Over to You 

While adding new features and capabilities is important, for financial services companies to grow sustainably they need to shift their focus on improving the customer lifetime value. Measuring will not only help them get a true understanding of what’s bringing customers back to the platform but also what’s impacting the bottom line.

From the strategies covered in the article, it’s clear that CX plays a huge role in customer retention. Hence, companies need to reimagine their customer strategy across different stages in their journey. 

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.

Why NBFCs Need Voice AI To Create Differentiated Customer Experiences

Today, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) are a major force in financial inclusion by offering credit to underserved retail, small businesses and consumers in India. The industry has seen phenomenal growth in the past few years and is expected to grow by 9.5% in FY22. They play a critical role in the development of core infrastructure, employment generation and in helping the weaker section of the society financially. NBFCs have, in a lot of ways, has been instrumental in filling the gap in credit availability that has existed in India for so many years.

According to PwC, NBFCs have outperformed banks in new credit deployment. The ability to scale faster, customize rigid policies and continuous experimentation with the latest technologies has played an important role in their growth.

NBFCs have a deep understanding of different customer segments which is extremely critical for them to be able to effectively attract, convert and serve customers in a personalized manner.

Since the beginning, NBFCs have leveraged technology to streamline their operations and become more efficient. In the past few years, they’ve also heavily invested in data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for improving the customer journey and enhancing the customer experience – eSignature, eKYC (Know your customer), video chats, IoT-based data collection for connected cards, behavioural analytics and more.

Gaurav Chopra, Founder & CEO at India Lends said, ” The Indian retail borrowing has evolved over the years and in this past year, a paradigm psychological shift has been observed in consumers’ borrowing behaviour. This change resulted in a significant rise in demand for personal credit.”

Growth Opportunities

Even with the increase in the disposable income of consumers and improved access to credit, India is far behind when it comes to the Credit to GDP percentage (refer to the graph below). This clearly illustrates the massive growth opportunity in front of them. Regulatory innovations, government initiatives and convergence of technology in the last ten years are a few of the main reasons for their consistent growth in India.

Reports say that the recent pandemic has further fuelled their growth as more people leverage contact-less and paper-less lending. It has also fast-tracked digital transformation for NBFC companies.

CX Challenges for NBFCs 

Despite the robust growth, NBFCs are facing challenges due to different factors, the primary ones being the increasing competition from new Fintech companies and increasing demand for a superior customer experience. In this article, we look at four customer experience challenges NBFCs are facing and their solution:

Identifying the Right Opportunities 

NBFCs generate a prospective customer base through different channels, be it through the website, partnerships, or inbound calls. While on the outset all the leads might seem good opportunities, in most cases only a few are valuable. Support agents usually end up wasting their important time by speaking to the wrong leads. This greatly impacts conversions and agent’s productivity. 

To solve this problem often brands outsource their lead qualification to a third-party agency. However, this only ends up creating additional challenges. Further, since brands have little to no control over the communication it poses a huge risk to the CX. 

Also, checking the prospect’s interest level is not enough. A person might be interested in taking a loan but if he fails to meet even one of the eligibility criteria, he’s disqualified. Usually, this is verified by an agent manually over call and by going through the submitted documents.


One very effective and scalable way to automate prospective lead qualification is by leveraging voice bots. Before going deep into how they can help, let me talk a bit about voice bots and how they work. 

Powered using Voice AI, voice bots can converse with customers in a natural and multi-turn conversational style. The experience is very human-like. Voice bots can allow you to engage with your customers 24*7 in a scalable manner. 

Whenever a new prospect enters the CRM, voice bots will make an outbound call to explain about the product, collect important information and check their interest levels. It also answers common questions around the product and suggests other alternatives too. All this information is captured and the prospects are tagged as interested and non-interested. Depending on the interest levels, agents prioritize their engagement with the lead. In case, during the call, a prospect wants to connect with an agent, it can make seamless handovers too. The voice bot can further qualify the prospect by checking their eligibility. This can be done by asking multiple questions to the prospects.

Apart from lead qualification, voice bots ensure that all prospective customers are engaged quickly. Lead response times are critical because the sooner you respond to a lead (if it’s qualified) the higher the chances of conversion.

It also provides brands with important customer insights and other data that can help them understand the performance of different channels. 

Creating a good onboarding experience 

Most NBFCs struggle with customer retention. They’re failing to build trust among their users and a lot has to do with customer onboarding. While often overlooked, welcoming the customer and explaining important clauses plays a huge role in creating a good first impression. This is especially important in an industry where the number of customer touchpoints is very few. 

However, calling each customer and onboarding them is a mundane and resource-intensive process. With limited bandwidth, companies find it impossible to assign agents specifically to onboard customers. 


A scalable way of welcoming and onboarding customers is through voice bots. They can automatically trigger calls to customers and explain the product, answer common questions, and more. Further, if a customer doesn’t pick up the call, the bot can intelligently re-schedule the call. By automating the complete process, voice bots free up agent bandwidth without compromising on customer service quality. 

Thus, Voice AI can not only help enhance the onboarding experience for customers but also contribute to major cost savings. 

Streamlining Collections

Every NBFC in the lending space is continuously trying different strategies to streamline its collection process and make it more efficient. The primary challenge NBFCs face is in reducing the number of defaulters. To ensure customers make timely repayments, they greatly depend on reminders across different channels and phone calls. In fact, the most common reason for missing a repayment is not receiving any reminders. 

Let’s learn how the process of repayments can be further streamlined for scalability and efficiency by leveraging the right technology. 

Friendly Reminders for Repayments   

While often underutilized, triggering reminders a few days before the repayment greatly helps in reducing the number of defaulters. By reminding them in a timely fashion, customers can ensure that their account has sufficient account balance for payment deduction thereby saving them from the unwanted hassle and late fee charges.

In case the customer wishes to pay instantly, the voice bot can also trigger an SMS notification with a payment link. Further, when a customer is busy, voice bots can make follow-ups as well, reducing the number of defaulters.

Thus, Voice AI plays an important role in improving the debt collection metrics for NBFCs.

24/7 Customer Support

Responding to and resolving customer support requests quickly is everything. Customers today expect resolution irrespective of the day or time or whether it’s a holiday. However, meeting these needs is a huge challenge for NBFCs.


Voice bots can help NBFCs provide round-the-clock support. So be it tracking claims or answering questions, voice bots can integrate with the internal systems and provide an instant resolution. Providing personalized support, enhances the CX and promotes brand loyalty.

Apart from this, voice bots can also be leveraged in the case of an unexpected spike to free up agent bandwidth. 

Over to You

Both the new entrants and NBFC leaders need to consistently deliver great customer experiences and keep innovating by adopting new-age technologies for sustainable growth. Looking at the current state, there’s a huge scope for improvement especially when it comes to traditional NBFC companies. 

By leveraging solutions such as Voice AI, NBFCs can not only enhance customer experience but also optimize their operating costs and expand the value provided to customers.

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.

Voice AI for E-Commerce: Reimagining the Customer Experience

The Ecommerce sector is the fastest-growing sector in India and is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion in 2017 (IBEF). Most of the growth can be attributed to the rise of online shoppers due to increased smartphone and internet usage. In fact, according to a report, the number of active internet connections in September 2020 was 776.45 million. 

The pandemic and social distancing have further accelerated the usage of online shopping apps like Amazon, Flipkart and BigBasket. The beauty and wellness category, for example, saw volume growth of more than 130% during the pandemic, according to a report by Unicommerce

But the increasing growth has posed multiple challenges for the Indian ecommerce companies, including stiff competition and the demand for a frictionless and superior online shopping and customer experience.

CX in Ecommerce 

In Ecommerce, CX is a combination of all the experiences across the customer journey, right from when the customer installs the application/visits the website to product returns/refund.

Today, every company is obsessing over creating delightful customer experiences and it’s for all the right reasons. Take the example of the ecommerce giant, Amazon, which has been successful in providing customers with the best experience for multiple years now. It is also a leading company in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) in the category of Internet Retail.

With increasing demand and customer needs, technology has a critical role to play in helping companies achieve customer experience goals. Let’s take a look at voice technology and how it’s transforming CX for the ecommerce industry. 

Rise in voice technology 

Today, voice technology has become an integral part of our lives. We use it right from playing our favourite music track, switching on lights to ordering a product online. Companies have also been very quick in leveraging it to provide a personalized customer experience across the customer funnel. 

Ecommerce companies, for example, are using AI-powered voice assistants for everything including triggering personalized product recommendations, creating a shopping list, tracking order status and raising a complaint. It’s as easy as saying “Hey Alexa, add tissue papers to my cart”.

According to a Capgemini Report, “By 2022, for each activity across the ecommerce consumer journey, the consumer uptake of voice is expected to increase by 15 percentage points or more compared to today’s levels.”

Here’s what consumers are performing using voice assistants –

  • 51% of users research products
  • 30% of users track a package
  • 18% of users contact support

Let’s look in-depth at how voice is impacting a typical customer journey and assisting companies in providing personalized customer engagement and faster service.

Increase in Voice Commerce 

Imagine having a dedicated salesperson guiding you through a product purchase at the comfort of your home. Sounds too good to be true?

Today, with voice commerce you can do exactly that. You can speak with a voice assistant to buy a product without browsing through the web or opening a shopping application on your phone. Just as you check the weather on your phone using voice commands, you can ask questions, check ratings, product details and more.

While there are multiple advantages, the biggest one for voice commerce is convenience. This helps consumers save time and maximize ease. Juniper Research forecasts that voice commerce will be over USD 80 billion by 2023. 

Voice AI for customer engagement and support 

The customer journey for any ecommerce customer is very complex and involves multiple touchpoints, more than any industry. For example, on mobile, only 15% of the customers who’ve added products to their cart end up making a purchase. Cart abandonment is not something new to the ecommerce industry and they’ve been employing different strategies to tackle it including triggering emails and push notifications. 

To further reduce cart abandonment and tackle other similar challenges, companies are increasingly adopting Voice AI solutions. For example, whenever a user abandons a cart, an outbound call can be automatically triggered to a customer after a certain period to understand the reason for cart abandonment. Depending on their response, ecommerce companies can take appropriate action. For example, if the customer was facing a payment issue, the company can suggest alternative payment methods and so on. This can drastically help in reducing the number of cart abandonment.

Similarly, Voice AI can help with customer reactivation, promote offers/new launches and update customers on product availability and price drops. When it comes to customer support, Voice AI can allow customers to raise complaints instantly, answer frequent queries and collect important feedback interactively. 

Future of voice in Ecommerce & opportunities 

The rise in the usage of voice-enabled devices in the recent past has clearly shown how comfortable consumers are becoming when it comes to engaging with conversational assistants. According to a report jointly released by Kantar Millward Brown and IBM, “There are already 33 million voice-enabled devices installed globally.”

Apart from few challenges, voice technology is a game-changer for ecommerce companies. Be it voice commerce, customer engagement or support, voice has a huge role to play across the customer journey. When used at the right time and situation, it can create unforgettable experiences for customers.  

This is a huge opportunity for ecommerce companies to reimagine their strategies and customer journey across different stages. By doing this, companies can not only enhance CX but also stand out in the competition. 

Brands providing a good experience with their conversational bots are driving higher levels of customer engagement (Capgemini Report). 

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.