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.

Solution

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. 

Solution 

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.

Solution 

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.

E-Commerce Retention Strategies for 2022: A Mini Guide

The market value of the fast exploding e-commerce industry is expected to grow to USD 16,215 billion by 2027 (Meticulous Research) globally. While the e-commerce companies battle it out for a larger slice of the pie, they also need to maintain a laser-sharp focus on retaining their existing customers. In the new digital economy, they need to constantly innovate with agile business models to promote their products and services in a personalized manner to avoid obsolescence.

Many think that retaining e-commerce customers is straightforward. Unfortunately, providing a great product or a fast shipping experience is not enough for retaining customers. With increasing competition and demand for a seamless customer experience, e-commerce customer retention is becoming increasingly difficult.

But why focus on retention?

Retaining customers not only helps in reducing acquisition costs but also in increasing the customer lifetime value, directly impacting the bottom line. Research shows that a 5% boost in customer retention increases profits by 25% to 95%. While acquiring new customers is also important, building a long-term relationship with an existing customer is 16 times more cost-effective than acquiring one. 

Hence, for consistent growth, it’s critical for e-commerce companies to focus on retention and employ customer-centric strategies that help in bringing back customers to the website/application. Below are a few proven customer-driven tactics that can help e-commerce organizations increase customer retention and improve loyalty –

Personalized customer engagement across different stages

Over 91% of consumers are more likely to shop from brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations (Forbes). Engagement across the customer funnel is important for both converting users into customers and reactivating existing customers. 

Here are few effective forms of customer engagement –

Effective customer onboarding

While often ignored, an effective onboarding program is the first step you can take towards creating customer loyalty. It helps customers learn about your products/services and the mission of your company. This in turn allows them to choose the right products and gain maximum value from your offerings. 

Promoting Offers/New Launches 

If you want customers to return back and buy from you after their initial purchase, it’s very important to constantly be in touch with them and build a relationship. There are multiple strategies e-commerce companies can use to achieve this, including – 

  • Promoting new product launches and other important announcements through AI voice bots.
  • Triggering promotional outbound calls through AI voice bots for reactivating existing customers. 
  • Notifying customers about price drops and product availability alerts by leveraging AI voice bots. 

Let’s understand this better using an example. Assume a user is looking to purchase a specific product that is currently out of stock. To ensure he/she visits again when the product comes back in stock, e-commerce companies can automatically trigger calls informing the customer about the product availability. Assuming there are hundreds of such customers every day, it’s an ingenious way to bring back potential buyers and increase sales.

Alongside calls, e-commerce companies can also notify users using push notifications, text messages and emails.

Offer excellent & proactive customer support

Customer service directly impacts customer loyalty. Hence, whether companies are active on only one or multiple channels, it’s important to ensure that they provide a delightful and seamless customer experience consistently across all channels. Since over 70% of users prefer to shop using their phone, the most popular channels are call, chat and SMS.

While chat and SMS don’t require a lot of resources to handle, calls are resource-intensive and require hiring and training of call centre agents. However, with limited bandwidth, e-commerce companies struggle in answering customer calls quickly and in providing them first call resolution. The situation worsens during events like festivals, a sale or a big product launch. 

To overcome this challenge, more and more e-commerce companies are adopting Voice AI built using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that can not only understand the context and intent but also hold natural human-like conversations. By leveraging the technology, e-commerce companies can handle the majority of the outbound calls especially the ones that are mundane without the need for a human agent. AI voice bots can answer questions like a human and resolve common queries (for example, order status enquiry). When required the AI voice bots can also easily transfer calls to agents with context. 

This allows e-commerce companies to handle mundane calls and surges (during festival season or a sale) while freeing up agent bandwidth. Since the resolution is instant, AI voice bots drastically reduce call waiting times and increase first call resolution. 

Collecting feedback and acting on it

While often undervalued, collecting customer feedback is a very effective way of increasing customer retention. This is because it’s impossible to retain a customer without knowing what they expect from a product or service. 

Hence, irrespective of the company size or the number of customers, e-commerce companies should proactively collect customer feedback and analyze it to improve product experience and service.

Most companies are leveraging emails, text messages, agent calls and push notifications to collect feedback. While these methods are effective to an extent, the number of responses received using these methods are very poor. We’ve all been guilty of ignoring emails and text messages sent to us for feedback. To fix this, e-commerce companies can leverage Voice AI.

AI Voice bots that are powered using Voice AI can intelligently trigger calls at certain milestones (eg. when the product is delivered) to collect feedback from customers in a personalized manner. It can even reschedule calls in case the customer doesn’t pick or when they request for a callback. Collecting feedback at the right time not only makes the customer feel valued but also yields a higher conversion rate compared to other channels.

Irrespective of the channel you’re utilizing, remember to ask customers for additional context with the rating. In order to improve CX, it’s important to understand in depth their challenges and reasons for both poor and good experiences. 

Wrapping it up 

While a few retention strategies might take additional resources and effort to implement, they’ll go a long way in increasing customer lifetime value and ultimately revenue. For faster implementation and in-depth analytics, companies need to leverage the latest technologies (like Voice AI, ML) and tools.

Lastly, to get the maximum out of the above strategies, e-commerce companies need to focus their efforts on the right set of users (that create maximum value for them in the long run).  

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 Banking: Streamline Outbound Calling

The recent pandemic has reshaped consumer banking behaviours in many ways and has skyrocketed digital transformation in the banking sector. With social distancing becoming the new normal, most consumers prefer utilizing digital banking services over visiting the branch, even for important tasks. This in turn has spurred the evolution of agile business models backed by technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Blockchain etc. These technologies are also critical for cost reduction, an increasing priority for banks due to weak investment returns and market uncertainty.

As COVID-19 accelerates digital adoption across banks, CX will act as a major differentiator to help leapfrog competition by engaging customers with tailored and intelligent value propositions based on deep customer insights. In order to do so, banks need to transform their technology capabilities across the complex landscape of their technical assets, to deliver unique and highly personalized experiences at the right time, at scale. 

With the spike in the usage of digital banking, banks have also seen an influx of inbound calls. More customers are picking up their phones to get queries resolved. A similar trend is being seen in the number of outbound calls made by the banks for repayment reminders, Know-Your-Customer(KYC), and account registration.

Streamlining Outbound Calling 

Technologies such as Voice AI are empowering banks to automate inbound contact centres. This has enabled them to reduce average call waiting times, improve customer satisfaction scores and free agent bandwidth. While streamlining inbound calls is extremely critical for CX, equal attention needs to be given to streamlining outbound calls. 

Banks make thousands of calls each day to customers for various reasons. These calls can be for welcoming new customers, reminding them about a due payment, lead qualification, and more. By engaging with customers at the right time, banks strengthen their existing relationship with the customer which directly helps them in creating trust and building loyalty.

However, since all the calls are made by agents manually, banks are unable to meet the required goals. They’re in dire need to optimize the process and make it more efficient. To provide customers with a consistent experience they need to leverage new-age technologies like Voice AI.

Voice bots that are powered using Voice AI can converse with customers in a natural and multi-turn conversational style. The experience is very human-like. Voice bots can trigger outbound calls to engage with customers 24*7 in a scalable manner. You can completely customize the calls according to different parameters like frequency, during specific events, and more.

Lead Qualification

Banks receive millions of leads every month through various sources including the website, social media, partnerships and advertisements. Usually, agents call each lead up to understand the customer’s requirements better and gauge their interest level. However, a major problem is that a huge chunk of these leads are junk and agents end up spending their important time speaking to the wrong users rather than prioritizing the interested ones. This has a major impact on the number of conversions. 

However, voice bots can greatly help solve this problem for banks. Since the problem is with the qualification process, it can be completely handled by the voice bot without any human intervention. By seamlessly integrating with the CRM, the voice bot can fetch the customer’s phone number and trigger an outbound call. During the call, the voice bot asks the user different questions required to qualify them for a product. In case the customer has any questions, voice bots can also resolve them. If interested, the voice bot can directly transfer the call to the agent or schedule a convenient time for a callback. In case the call is missed, voice bots can also make periodic follow-up calls. 

According to the data collected by the voice bot, agents can prioritize their calls. This way they end up reaching the interested users first, significantly increasing the chances of conversion.

Let’s understand with an example. Assume, a user applies for a credit card online. They enter a few basic details like name, monthly salary, age, contact details, and more. Once the details are submitted, it is transferred to the voice bot. The bot fetches the contact details and triggers an outbound call. It asks the user multiple questions including the credit limit they were looking for, whether they have an existing bank account with them and more. All this information is automatically updated on the CRM. Agents can then go through all these users and filter out the interesting ones suitable for calling. 

Customer Activation

Converting a potential lead into a customer is not enough for banks. To generate revenue out of them, they need to ensure that they’re using their different products and services. For this, they need to focus on customer activation. They need to employ different strategies to help customers move faster in their life cycle. But onboarding thousands of customers every day requires a lot of resources and time. For banks to provide their users with a personalized onboarding experience and engage with them at regular intervals affordably, they’ll need to leverage the power of technology and automation.

When a retail customer opens a savings account, s/he doesn’t only get access to the account but other services such as net banking, debit card, phone banking and more. However, most customers don’t end up using these services. This is why banks need to onboard them and send periodic reminders to nudge them to use the product. Few banks do have dedicated in-house or outsourced teams who handle this. However, the process is not scalable and is extremely difficult to follow for all the customers. 

So, how can banks solve this? 

To onboard customers and engage with them across the customer journey, banks can leverage voice bots. Firstly, the bot can call each customer and onboard them by taking them through each service, answering FAQs, and resolving questions in case any. By educating them it removes the initial friction the customer might have in trying a particular service. Further, a voice bot can call the customer after a certain period to understand their experience and suggest different services. This helps banks in delivering personalized engagement across the customer lifecycle consistently. 

To further improve customer activation, banks can – 

Map the customer journey – Banks can map out all the important stages to ensure they engage with customers at the right time. For example, for a credit card user, different stages can be –

  • Credit Card Activation
  • First transaction
  • Reward Redemption

Customer Segmentation – To deliver a personalised customer and effective communication, banks need to segment their customers. Without this banks can end up spamming users with notifications each day making for a very poor experience.

Improving Propensity 

Most banks use product propensity to increase customer’s lifetime value and reduce attrition. For example, if there’s a customer X who’s been using the bank’s credit card services for multiple years, the bank can upsell a home loan to them at a special interest rate. Hence, by leveraging rich customer insights and segmentation, banks can with minimal effort upsell and cross-sell related products. This acts as an important lever for growth by directly contributing to the total revenue.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that even with data analytics and machine learning models, the number of customers who actually end up buying a product or showing interest is substantially lower. This is a huge problem for agents who usually are the ones who end up calling these customers. They end up wasting a lot of their important time. This is also one of the reasons why banks haven’t set up dedicated teams. 

One effective way to solve this is by doing a pre-qualification through a voice bot. Voice bots can call the customer and share the offer details. The bot can collect the interest level of the customer, get additional details required to process the offer and also answer common questions. By doing this pre-qualification, agents end up only speaking to customers who’re interested in the offer.

Not only does it save agent bandwidth but also increases agent productivity and reduces operational costs.

Friendly Payment Reminders 

Banks continually invest in resources and implement strategies to improve their payment collection rate. This is because even a marginal drop has a negative impact on their business and increases collection costs.

While often underutilized, the simplest way to ensure customers pay in a timely manner is by triggering reminders a few days before the repayment (be it credit cards or loans). This can be through different channels including calls, text messages and emails. By doing this customers can make repayments on time and avoid unwanted hassle and late payment charges. 

Banks can further increase the effectiveness of their reminders by using a voice bot. Unlike playing a recorded message, voice bots can allow banks to send personalized reminders, collect information and even help them to make payments in real-time. For example, if a user wants to make a repayment, voice bots can send a payment link on Whatsapp or text message. The voice bot can also help customers enable automatic payments or change the payment type. 

By enhancing the repayment experience, banks can significantly improve the collection rate and reduce collection costs. 

What’s Next? 

Banks have taken many rapid decisions to meet the changing customer needs. Be it ramping up security, digital banking capabilities or launching products that fit customer’s needs. This is the reason why they were so quick to adapt to the changes made by the pandemic. However, they need to continually innovate and launch new initiatives that focus on customer’s needs and their banking experience.

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 CX is the Next Disruptor in Financial Services

During the pandemic, financial services companies like brokers/AMCs saw a huge surge in the number of retail investors. According to Statista, Zerodha, India’s largest stockbroker, has added over two million users in 2021, more than twice compared to last year. 

According to Jonathan Craig (Senior EVP and Head of Investor Services, Charles Schwab), “A big part of this growth is Generation Investor — the large number of people who are bound together not by their birth years but by when they got started in their investing journey — who is now on a path to ownership and reaching their financial goals”. 

However, the pandemic is not the only reason for this growth; a simplified trading platform and low brokerage fees from financial services companies such as Robinhood and Zerodha have a lot to do with the increased surge in the number of retail investors, especially millennials & gen-z. 

While the increased growth has significantly boosted key metrics including revenue, it has also brought up multiple challenges like investor engagement and improving customer lifetime value. 

Technology is no longer the moat 

Platforms like Zerodha and Robinhood disrupted the market with their flat-fee pricing model. This helped them grow rapidly and stand out from their traditional counterparts. They also leveraged new-age technologies and made their platforms fast and easy to use making it very easy for first-time investors to get started. However, with traditional companies changing their pricing models and improving their user interfaces, the seemingly strong moat is evaporating.

With so many alternatives in the market, switching platforms has become incredibly easy. It takes 30 minutes to open a new account and the same time to switch to another platform. This line sums up the current market situation and the competition. 

Challenges that financial services companies are facing

Financial services companies customers’ can be broadly classified into two buckets – first-time investors and experienced investors. Since most of the new users are first-time investors, the biggest challenges are around them. For starters, companies face a hard time seeing regular engagement on the platform, mainly driven by poor financial literacy. This leads to a high number of dormant accounts, as a norm, in the industry.

So, how can companies tackle these challenges? 

The only way for financial services companies like brokers and AMCs to promote loyalty and increase customer retention is by providing a delightful experience across different touchpoints, every time. The hard truth is that CX will be the dark horse driving the growth along with technology. 

CX across different stages in the customer journey 

The pandemic did help attract users to the capital markets, however, engaging the user with the first investment and eventually retaining them is where the main challenge lies. Hence, it’s critical for securities companies to reimagine the customer journey from start to finish. 

For example, for the first investment, it’s important for companies to –

  1. Educate investors about the different products and services through interactive videos and webinars. 
  2. Provide them with suggestions according to their financial goals. 
  3. Nudge them intelligently over different channels to ensure they make their first investment.

In addition, they need to proactively support them and resolve their queries quickly. They’ll also have to monitor their behaviour and usage and tweak their communication strategy accordingly. 

Alternatively, for an active trader, their approach needs to be different. This is because their priorities are different. For example, in case of downtime, they can proactively inform customers about it rather than waiting for users to reach their support to raise concerns and ask additional questions. Similarly, they can keep them informed about important educational initiatives, newer products, and more. 

Voice AI and its role in CX 

The highest number of touchpoints when an investor usually interacts with a company is the inbound/outbound support centre, it should be an absolute priority for the winners to enhance this experience.

To enhance customer experience and improve customer engagement, several securities companies are adopting Voice AI solutions. AI voice bots that are powered using Voice AI are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and have the ability to understand the context, intent, and hold human-like conversations.  

Let’s look at different ways securities companies can leverage it – 

Streamlining inbound support

No one likes waiting on the IVR.

But why do we even have the IVR in the first place? Can we get rid of it?

Yes, we can!

Compared to other industries, support queries raised by investors are more time-sensitive and must be resolved as quickly as possible. Customers cannot afford to wait minutes to get a response. However, with the increasing number of support queries (due to the surge in new customers) and limited bandwidth, securities companies are facing a hard time resolving them within the promised time. 

To fix this, companies can leverage AI voice bots. They can answer mundane support queries (like a/c status, upcoming SIP due date, current NAV, common questions around selling and buying stocks, etc) quickly while freeing up important agent bandwidth. 

This allows more time for agents to focus on solving complex queries thus increasing customer satisfaction. A win-win for both.

Engage investors

AI voice bots can proactively nudge customers and notify customers about exclusive offers at the right time in a personalized manner to ensure that they transact regularly on the platform.

83% of customers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience (Accenture report). 

Hence, since the new wave of users is first-generation investors (those who’re starting their financial journey), it’s very important to not only educate and constantly engage with them but also invest in crafting an exceptional customer journey, to retain their minds and wallet share. 

What’s next?

While there’s a huge growth potential for the industry, increasing competition coupled with low customer retention rates are a few of the many challenges companies will have to tackle for sustainable growth. The only way they can solve this is by competing on the CX front by completely reimagining their customer strategy and providing an enhanced customer experience across different customer touch points.

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.