A Story of Transformation: How Skit.ai is Helping ICICI Lombard Reach New CX Milestones

The age of hyper-personalization is here. For the digitized insurance sector, achieving communication-centricity along the way of personalization will be the mantra for superior customer experience (CX)!

Even though insurance policies are intangible, today’s customers look for tangible evidence in the customer service or product features that make their experience smooth and easy.

Insurance claims are moments of truth. They are sensitive moments following an ailment or an unfortunate event. Cost-effective and empathetic service holds the key!

Exploring the Need for Call Automation with Voice AI and Leapfrogging CX 

The high volume of calls in the insurance industry makes call automation imperative. For instance, insurance claims status follow-up typically involves sharing policy information and reference numbers over IVR, keying in their details in self-service dashboards, and calling customer support for status confirmation and validation. Shortening reach to that information most quickly is a definite way of improving CX.

From the providers’ standpoint, dispensing the correct information at the right time without impacting cost, productivity, and customer satisfaction could be a grandiose ambition, especially with the rising cost of human-agent interactions. Besides, the bar for CX is raised too high by thriving CX-centric companies from other industries. Nearly 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for great CX.

Here’s a snippet of industry research that we think can help insurance providers chart a realistic customer support roadmap in claims status management: 

  • People and technology combinations are the most sought-after options for insurance interactions, according to a study by Gartner.
  • Digital channels are great for securing sales but lack personalized advice capabilities, according to the Capgemini World Insurance Report 2021. 

To sum up, an ‘Always-on’, real-time and intuitive customer service is the need of the hour. Insurers need a balanced combo of human representatives and AI-powered automation for frictionless customer support.

We will discuss further in the article how Skit.ai’s Voice AI aces in enhancing both human-machine combinations for personalized claims status support for ICICI Lombard, one of India’s leading private sector general and motor insurance companies. 

Skit.ai and ICICI Lombard Partnership Upholds the Promise of Customer-centricity

ICICI Lombard has held a strong focus on being digital-led and agile. It has successfully launched an array of tech-driven initiatives that are tailored to customers’ expectations. Throughout their legacy of over two decades, ICICI Lombard is committed to customer-centricity with their brand philosophy, ‘Nibhaye Vaade’. As of March 2022, the company has issued over 23.9 million policies, settled 2.3 million claims, and has 283 branches with 11,085 employees. 

The insurer wanted to implement a revolutionary approach to help customers with ‘claims status’ updates for–better CX, contact center performance, and lower cost. The answer was Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence platform, which helped the insurer usher in call automation in their contact centers and empowered human agents to drive better CX.

Skit.ai’s purpose-built AI-enabled Digital Voice Agents can handle tier 1 customer service calls, which are around 70% of total call volumes, and make intelligent handovers to human agents for more complex calls. It takes time and post-implementation pursuits to reach such high levels of automation, training the voicebot for all use cases and situations. 

We will discuss the positive business outcomes that Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence platform helped ICICI Lombard achieve by automating and modernizing its legacy, checklist-driven claim status processes. Additionally, we will also be detailing the existing challenges in claims status management that prevents insurers from demonstrating speed, value, and efficiency. 

Dive deeper: What are Digital Voice Agents? 

How Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agents are Accelerating ICICI Lombard Claims Status Support with Call Automation

Digital Voice Agents plug into contact centers and augment human agents by automating cognitively routine work. With the deployment of Skit.ai’s solution, ICICI Lombard could augment its performance in the below-mentioned areas. Other insurance companies can also transform on similar lines:

  1.  Personalization and Empathetic CX: Digital Voice Agent answered customer calls and automatically checked their history based on their registered mobile number. This knowledge helped ICICI Lombard personalize interactions with the customers. Upon request, the voice agents confirmed claim details and updated them on the claim status in less than a minute. ICICI Lombard could also leverage voice automation and personalized caller’s journey without making them wade through the IVR menus or wait to speak to an agent. No wonder they experienced a rise in CX. 
  2. Shorter Conversations: Obviating IVRs, the voice agent helped the insurer shorten the conversations by capturing all the details and transferring them to a human agent who picked up from where the voicebot concluded. This helped in improving the quality and average handling time for human agents. 
  3. Lower Contact Center Opex: Digital Voice Agents can contain a significant volume of claim status calls without needing intervention by the insurer’s customer support teams. This efficiently manages their contact center operations to handle a large number of customer queries (containing up to 30% of claims status calls), and also curbs additional expenses on training and hiring human agents to handle zero-value, repetitive tasks.
  4. Agent Productivity: The automation capabilities of Digital Voice Agents can help contact centers to use their human resources more judiciously by allowing them to only handle complex claims-related cases and escalations.
  5. Always On Support: Running contact centers 24/7 is not feasible from a cost and agent availability standpoint. An insurance policyholder can approach customer support for claim status information at any time of the day. Digital Voice Agents are capable of carrying out human-like conversations and can understand intent, sentiment, and voice tone to cater to their needs even post the working hours.

Discover the Biggest Contact Center Automation Trends of 2022

Business Outcomes of Call Automation at ICICI Lombard

With the help of Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice AI platform, ICICI Lombard achieved impressive outcomes: 

  • Contact center operational cost reduction by 28%
  • End-to-end automation for 30% of calls; no need for a human agent
  • Time to Value of fewer than 100 days 

These results represent just the beginning of possibilities for ICICI Lombard with voice automation.  Additional improvements will emerge as more use cases are added. Also, the learning curve advantages that come with time, will give the insurer a decisive competitive edge.

In the Words of ICICI Lombard Leadership 

Reflecting on their successful journey with Voice AI, the leadership team at ICICI Lombard also expressed their thoughts: 

“At ICICI Lombard, we believe that insurance is a promise that a customer pays for upfront, and the claim is the moment of truth. With our digital transformation strategy, we have set out to deliver on this promise with an intelligent digital voice agent that cuts down on customer wait time and holds empathetic conversations. It is an unconventional, modern solution that simplifies a legacy process that is quite complex,” said Girish Nayak, Chief of Service, Operations and Technology, ICICI Lombard.

“This is a watershed moment for the industry—for an insurance company to employ Voice AI to transact with customers and provide them with their claim status. One of the big CX wins is that customers don’t have to suffer DTMF anymore—no more,” ICICI Lombard mentioned in the case study.

Commenting on this revolutionary move, Vasundhara Bhonsle, Head of Customer Support at ICICI Lombard, said, “At ICICI Lombard, our digital transformation strategy focuses on deploying innovations that provide the best service and experience to our customers. Through our partnership with Skit.ai, we are creating a milestone for the Indian insurance industry. By implementing a digital voice agent to manage inbound queries for claim status, we are modernizing a legacy, complex process to make customer interaction a lot more personalized and empathetic. We look forward to bringing the benefits of the digital voice agent to millions of customers in India.”

Reimagining Insurance Customer Support with Voice AI 

ICICI Lombard began the deployment of Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agents with one of the most challenging use cases i.e. Claim Status Support. Generally, dispensing claims status information on the go requires a good deal of time and resources. Sometimes, insurers are also dependent on other external stakeholders like hospitals and care providers using time-consuming, manual procedures for patient data and claims status-related updates. To ensure these hurdles do not affect customer support, insurance companies need to remain a step ahead leveraging Digital Voice Agents in the claims status area. 

Below are 6 reasons why insurance companies should up their game with intelligent Voice AI-led workflows in customer support to lead customers in their insurance and claims-related decision-making:

  • Much Newer and Tech-savvier Competition: With the arrival of smarter and innovative entrants in the market, it gets tough for insurers practicing legacy approaches in the claims process to remain relevant and win over customers. CX is crucial for survival and customer loyalty. So, it makes sense to integrate novel CX enhancing technologies and contact center automation to make claims status processing quick.  
  • Delays Cause Frustrations: Delays and long wait times for updates on the status of the claim frustrate customers. The claims process typically has limited human touch points. The absence of timely updates can gravely lower CX and customer satisfaction. 
  • Mounting Opex of Contact Centers: The time and cost factor for outbound efforts, confirmatory calls, and resources used as per policy with the available support team makes it difficult to reach all policyholders on time. This is yet  another driving factor to consider innovation in claims status and leverage Digital Voice Agents for 24/7 service.  
  • Automation Must Follow Digitization:  If approached in layman’s terms, there is too much information like claims reference number, policy number, name, address, and more that a policyholder must manually read out to a contact center agent along with call authentication conversations. This is not only time-consuming but also would be best if the information can be input and confirmed on self-service dashboards rather than over phone calls. 
  • No Room for Errors. Follow-up, changes, and corrections with the human agents when a slew of information (mostly when they are numbers and characters) is exchanged and input manually, has high scope for errors. Inaccuracies and mistakes can be costly for the insurer’s brand reputation and bring down customers’ confidence.  Automation with Voice AI allows for perfection by taking over repetitive, mundane processes. 
  • Self-service and DIY Option Comes with Privacy Factor: Offering intuitive self-service options and Digital Voice Agents that hold human-like conversations with customers can guide them through the claims process and can allow them a degree of autonomy. Since customers are independently accessing the claims process and status, it creates a strong sense of privacy which is integral for customer satisfaction and CX. 

How Voice AI Helps Insurance Companies Streamline Inbound Support

Looking Ahead: 

The future of customer support is voice. Rising costs and human agent attrition make delivering quality support prohibitive. But with evidence abound, Voice AI is fast emerging as a technology to leverage, and leapfrog CX. Voice AI was an option, but it is fast becoming an imperative, watch out!

The journey of transformation has just begun. As we constantly evolve and experiment with our technology across use cases in the insurance domain, there’s clear certainty for better numbers and more success stories in our pipeline.  

Are you interested in exploring automation possibilities with Digital Voice Agent to elevate your customer experience with better customer support? Use the chat tool below to book a demo with one of our experts

How Contact Centers Can Rely on Voice AI To Prepare for a Recession

The U.S. economy has been shrinking, with many experts pointing out that technically we have already entered a recession, as the economy has now contracted for two consecutive quarters. Fears of a recession have dominated most sectors of the economy over the last few months.

The economy is slowing, inflation is high, and the Federal Reserve has been increasing its interest rates, and yet the data suggest that we find ourselves in a more complex and nuanced situation. Unemployment is still very low and the economy has been adding hundreds of thousands of new jobs each month, suggesting that it’s not all doom and gloom.

The latest reports, however, predict there will be a “mild recession” between 2022 and early 2023, with inflation being a major indicator of the direction the economy is headed towards, according to authoritative institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

How can your contact center prepare for a recession? How can you rely on technology to future-proof your contact center operations?

How Does a Recession Threaten Contact Center Operations and Customer Service at Large?

It’s impossible to predict what a possible recession will look like. Each past recession has been different, and the best businesses can do is prepare and future-proof their organization across all departments, optimizing their operations and cost-correcting wherever possible.

The possible threats that a recession may pose to your contact center may be:

  • Budget cuts: The overall business may have reduced profits and management might decide to cut costs across various departments. This will leave you to manage the same workload as before, but with less resources, and you might be forced to let go of some of your agents.
  • Increased call volumes: While your funds might decrease, inbound calls and customer queries might actually increase.
  • Chain reaction: As your resources become more limited and you’re unable to offer the same level of customer service as before, the overall customer experience will be affected, causing the loss of customers. This chain-reaction can spark a vicious cycle in which the contact center management may be held responsible for the loss of customers.

5 Steps Contact Centers Can Take To Prepare for a Recession

Optimize All Processes

To make your business recession-proof, the first step is to optimize all of your internal processes and workflows. Analyze the existing processes and the customer journey:

  • Can you identify any pain points?
  • Where are resources missing and where are they abounding?
  • Are there any workflows that can be shortened or reshuffled?
  • Are there any tech tools to add to your stack that can help with any of the issues you’ve identified?

Invest in Customer Self-Service

The existing data on customer service and customer experience indicates that customers expect companies to offer self-service customer care options. 39% of U.S. consumers find it very important to have access to a fully self-serve customer care option available to resolve their issues, according to a report by Emplify.

Self-service customer service allows customers to view, change and cancel their orders, make payments, request information, make a reservation, request technical support, and solve common issues on their own without the need to involve a human agent; this can be done through the company’s website, a mobile application, or an AI-powered Digital Voice Agent.

Invest in Agent Retention

Agent attrition in contact centers tends to be high. The current data suggests that contact centers have at least a 35-40% attrition rate. This trend creates additional expenses, as the business needs to cover recruiting, hiring, and training costs each time an agent leaves their job.

Investing in agent retention is a must for businesses preparing for a recession. You want to keep your agents happy and make sure they don’t feel overly stressed or overwhelmed with calls. If you have to let go of some of your agents, you should adopt a strategy to hold on to the ones you plan to keep. Consider adopting tech solutions that could automate some of the most repetitive and tedious agent workload.

Prepare for Call Fluctuations

As query volume becomes more volatile, contact centers may experience more fluctuations in volume of inbound calls, needing more or less resources depending on the time. Agencies should develop a strong plan to address these scenarios; plan ahead even if you might not be experiencing this issue yet.

Offer an Omnichannel Experience

Customers expect to get assistance and care seamlessly and across an integrated network of touchpoints, devices, and apps. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made the importance of digital customer service and omnichannel experiences more prevalent, accelerating a phenomenon that was already taking place.

Recently, the customer service industry has begun focusing on an alternative strategy, focusing on an optichannel or optimal channel CX strategy. Each company must focus on the best channels and apps for their specific customers, products and services. No matter what strategy you adopt, customer experience should be front and center.

How Contact Centers Can Rely on Voice AI To Prepare for a Recession

Adopting technological solutions that can help you automate processes and improve your customer and employee experiences is one of the best ways to future-proof your business, especially as we prepare for a possible recession. For customer service, online chatbots and Voice AI are excellent solutions to consider.

Voice AI consists in the adoption of AI-powered Digital Voice Agents to receive all inbound calls and perform some of your outbound calls; it is becoming more and more popular among businesses and consumers.

The Digital Voice Agent is able to help customers with the most common queries and can reroute the more complex queries to your human agents. When you enable the perfect synergy between human and digital agents, you de-facto adopt an Augmented Voice Intelligence strategy.

In a recession, you not only want to save money, but you also want to ensure you maintain a competitive edge over your competitors. Looking into the adoption of artificial intelligence technologies that can automate your operations is key to securing a competitive advantage.

To learn more about how to modernize your contact center, schedule a call with one of our experts using the chat tool below!

How Voice AI Empowers Contact Center Agents and Benefits Business Performance

When we talk about Voice AI for customer service, we immediately think about the benefits of the technology for the customer experience. Having an intelligent Digital Voice Agent address customer queries results in no wait time and a quick resolution to the most common issues.

Augmented Voice Intelligence (AVI), however, also deeply transforms the human agent’s experience at the contact center. This is what we can refer to as employee experience.

As a Senior Solutions Product Manager at Skit.ai, I’ve visited several large contact centers both before and after the implementation of our AVI solution. I’ve had the opportunity to chat with many agents and hear their perspectives on their work and feedback on our technology.

In this article, I’ll explore how AVI affects the employee experience and how this ultimately impacts the overall business performance.

Contact Center Agents Before AVI

Contact center agents have a very monotonous job, as they often have to perform the same tasks and address very similar customer queries countless times per day. “Please verify your name,” “What’s your order number?” and “This is your current balance” are just some examples of sentences that contact center agents have said thousands of times.

This type of job tends to be quite tedious for human agents, since they are not required to think creatively and critically to solve the customer queries and they’re mostly just reading from a script.

Additionally, there is not much room for growth for agents. Because the tasks they are asked to perform are so repetitive, they’re likely to change jobs as soon as the opportunity arises. The current data suggests that contact centers have at least a 35-40% attrition rate.

In summary, all of these factors often contribute to an understimulating environment, lower employee morale, and a high attrition rate.

Contact Center Agents After AVI Implementation

Enter AVI — Augmented Voice Intelligence.

The concept of Augmented Voice Intelligence is based on the belief that the combined power of humans and AI can lead to a much more effective, smoother workflow for contact centers, improving both customer and employee satisfaction. AVI is collaborative in nature: the Voice AI technology performs routine tasks while human agents can focus on more complex queries.

So what’s the experience of a contact center agent once AVI is implemented?

First and foremost, the vast majority of queries are addressed by the Digital Voice Agent, which only reroutes the more complex queries to the human agents at the contact center. Once a customer is routed to a human agent, the Voice AI interface provides the agent with the contextual information on the customer and their case, making the conversation flow smoother and easier for both parties.

Because AVI implies a collaborative effort between the agents and the technology, it’s important to familiarize the employees of the contact center with the Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform upon its implementation. In my experience, agents tend to get quite excited as they learn about how the technology works and the way it affects their day-to-day workflows.

It’s always fun to see the excitement in the eyes of the agents—they usually want to talk to me, learn more, and ask for more in-depth training sessions.

Read more: Is Voice AI a threat or an opportunity for contact center agents?

How AVI Empowers Contact Center Agents to Get Involved and Suggest Improvements

Not only Voice AI improves the agents’ experience at the contact center. Because the agents are so familiar with most use case scenarios, they often have valuable ideas on how to improve the Digital Voice Agent.

During my visits to contact centers, I’ve often encountered agents who asked me: “Can you please involve me in the machine learning process?” They want to pitch ideas and contribute to the features of the Digital Voice Agent.

Other times, the agents asked me for insights coming from the Digital Voice Agent: “What are the main keywords customers are using? What are the patterns the AI has found so far?”

In summary, this is how the employee experience is enhanced by Voice AI:

  • Agents are no longer confined to the same, repetitive tasks all day
  • Agents get to be more productive, feeling more helpful and motivated
  • Agents can get involved in the machine learning process

Dive deeper: Digital Voice Agents — What, Why and How

At Skit.ai, we’ve been big proponents of the idea that the combination of customer experience and employee experience shapes the broader business experience:

If you want to learn more about Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence platform and speak to one of our experts, you can book a demo.

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.

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Also, for more information visit our Collections Page.

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 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.

7 Reasons Why Debt Collection Companies Are Deploying Voice AI

In the new normal, key players in the debt collection industry, from creditors to every downstream collection agency, face significant challenges to improve collections. This is happening mainly for two reasons. First, there are rapidly evolving regulatory and compliance frameworks to which collection agencies must adhere. Second, the mitigation of cost has become an extremely uphill task.

However, there is an additional issue at play: The most common solutions prevalent in today’s market, such as Robocaller and outbound IVR voice blaster, are incapable of conversations, feedback, and insights. Instead, an AI-enabled Voice Agent is capable of meaningful and human-like conversations with customers.



Unlike the most common solution prevalent today, i.e. Robocaller or outbound IVR voice blaster (incapable of conversations, feedback, or insights), an Intelligent Voice Agent is an AI-enabled machine capable of meaningful human-like conversations.

Learn more about the differences between Robocaller and AI-powered Digital Voice Agent.

Why is an Intelligent Voice Agent Ideal for Collections?

Intelligent Voice Agent, which is the blend of conversational voice AI and human intelligence, holds me

The rapid rise in call volumes, defaults, demand for remote resolution of disputes and diminishing CX have resulted in collection agencies scrambling to catch up.

The need for better outbound collections efforts—along with managing increasing volumes of inbound inquiries from customers—is putting pressure to scale contact center teams, an undesirable and herculean task.

Call center turnover (30 – 45%) has always been a challenge and has generally been twice as high as the industry average (13.5 – 18.5%), while collection agencies perform worse, with some reporting as high as 100% employee turnover. The concatenation of these factors—higher call volumes, regulations, and agent turnover—has made companies lookout for technology solutions such as Voice AI-enabled contact center automation.

Read More if you are interested to know how Intelligent Digital Voice Agents work in detail.

Research provides plenty of information to support the cause of automating collection calls. Apart from research provides plenty of information to support the cause of automating collection calls. Apart from improved recovery, 1 in 4 US consumers prefers interacting with an Intelligent Voice Assistant when handling awkward financial situations, according to a 2018 consumer sentiment survey by The Harris Poll.

Solving Collection Challenges with an Intelligent Voice Agent

The rapid rise in call volumes, defaults, demand for remote resolution of disputes and diminishing CX have resulted in collection agencies scrambling to catch up.

The need for better outbound collections efforts—along with managing increasing volumes of inbound inquiries from customers—is putting pressure to scale contact center teams, an undesirable and herculean task.

Call center turnover (30 – 45%) has always been a challenge and has generally been twice as high as the industry average (13.5 – 18.5%), while collection agencies perform worse, with some reporting as high as 100% employee turnover. The concatenation of these factors—higher call volumes, regulations, and agent turnover—has made companies lookout for technology solutions such as Voice AI-enabled contact center automation.

Let’s compare the challenges collections agencies are facing to how a conversational AI-enabled Intelligent Voice Agent meets every challenge.

7 Reasons Why Augmented Voice Intelligence Is Transforming Debt Collections

Augmented Voice Intelligence, which is the blend of Conversational AI and human intelligence, creates meaningful conversations with customers to support them throughout their entire collection journey while staying true to compliances and regulations. Let’s delve deeper into the 7 core reasons:

1. Automation And Human Bandwidth Prioritization

The beauty of deploying an Augmented Voice Intelligence is that it can call all the customers and it then filters out the complex cases that need human agent intervention. In the present system, agents call the entire list of contacts, be it a simple case or a complex one, not creating desired value in the process.

With a virtual voice agent, all the contacts in the portfolio are called at the right time of the day and within a couple of hours. The entire portfolio is then segmented based on the disposition collected for each debtor. The dispositions captured can be: propensity to pay, refusal to pay, wrong-party contacts, disputed debt, call-back later, validation requests, etc.

For willing debtors, the virtual voice agent can not only collect the payment during the call but can also negotiate and offer alternate payment options. It also reminds them of the next due date. 

Additionally, the Digital Voice Agent calls back all the debtors who could not be reached in the first attempt without the need for human agent intervention. This takes a huge burden off them.

For the dispositions in which human intervention is required, the Voice Agent can segment the portfolio so that relevant human agents can be assigned the downstream tasks based on the importance of the disposition for the portfolio and the company.

This automation and prioritization of bandwidth unlock massive value for the collection companies.

2. Improved Portfolio Volume and Customer Coverage

If, let’s say, 66% of the debtors are handled by digital voice agents end-to-end, now collection agencies can take up 3X more portfolios or cover 3X more customers with the same set of human agents. This illustrates how the same support team can manage higher levels of business with even better results. 

Collection agencies can take up more portfolios or take bigger ones, as they now have better customer coverage.

3. Lower Cost and Faster Collection Speed

Contact center automation with Conversational Voice AI assistant ensures that service quality and speed remain consistent, which otherwise will be volatile as new human agents with less experience join the team. Also, continuous hiring and training is a great operational hassle.

The Digital Voice Agents can make 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. 

4. Superior Recovery and Collection Efforts 

Better collection and recovery require 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.

Understandably, a significant section of debtors will not pick up calls in the first attempt or might request a call-back at a certain time in the future. It is near impossible for human agents to follow up on every single contact, but the intelligent voice agent can do it with perfection. 

It’s a piece of cake for a 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. 

5. Minimize Errors, Ensure Compliance and Security 

A significant amount of agent training and monitoring can be avoided with the deployment of Voice AI agents. High employee turnover, clubbed with significant training costs makes the entire exercise of meeting compliance, extremely costly. While the possibility of potential errors as regulatory regime complications is on the rise, it cannot still be eliminated. 

Conversational Voice AI Agents operate with negligible errors and can be easily updated, thus improving compliance significantly. Also, a Voice Collection Agent can be well trained in regulatory frameworks and will therefore ensure strict adherence to consumer data security and protection (encryption and redaction) by sticking to industry best practices. 

6. Enhanced Customer Experience

A Voice AI agent can ensure a smooth, courteous, and positive debtor experience, leading to a positive attitude towards the collections process and ultimately a positive brand image. 

7. Seamless Support Scaling for Any Call Volume

Business volatility and fluctuations put an economic strain on collection agencies that need to maintain a qualified team of human agents which has to grow and shrink with demand volatility. Scaling becomes further challenging as employee turnover is the highest among industries.

With the deployment of Augmented Voice Intelligence, there is no need for maintaining a large contact center team to deal with large call volumes, as voice automation helps in handling a majority of calls. Thus the problem of team management becomes minimized.

Intelligent Voice Assistants: The Future of Agile Customer Service

At times of disruption, it’s essential to leverage technology to craft a sustainable competitive edge by addressing core business challenges.

Growing evidence hints at the power of Augmented Voice Intelligence to enable cost optimization, and handle a broader customer base while minimizing significantly the operational challenges relating to regulatory compliances, and team management. 

With a tad steep learning curve, it’s best to be an early bird. The evidence abounds, with the right tech solution partner, there is a great amount of value creation possible.

Move early, move fast, grow faster!

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