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!

Here’s Why You’re Doing Feedback Collection Wrong

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in: whether you work in retail, hospitality, banking, or any other industry selling products or services, you know how important it is to gather your customers’ feedback.

Bad customer experience costs companies a lot of money—a study estimated that U.S. companies typically lose $75 billion a year due to poor customer experiences. Therefore, feedback plays an important role.

According to a Microsoft report, almost 4 in 5 consumers (77%) have a more favorable view of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback. In other words, not only customer feedback allows your company to be aware of the Voice of the Customer and make the necessary changes, but it also fosters a positive brand reputation among consumers.

In this article, we’ll go over the most common ways to collect customer feedback and we’ll explore Voice AI as the most innovative, efficient and cost-effective solution for feedback collection.

As you can see in the table above, we’re considering three key factors when analyzing feedback collection methods: response rate, qualitative results (through open-ended questions), scalable and cost-effective.

The Traditional Feedback Collection Methods and Their Drawbacks

Depending on the scope of the survey, there are many different types of feedback a company can seek out, from a very basic 0-10 customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey to a more in-depth, qualitative questionnaire.

Here are the most common feedback collection methods:

Digital Feedback: Email and Text (SMS)

It’s frequent for companies to collect feedback by sending an email or a text message, which usually includes a link to a customer satisfaction survey.

Depending on the type of purchase or service, the timing of these requests may vary. For smaller services, like a food delivery, the request should come right after the service takes place. Instead, for a larger purchase—like a piece of furniture or a kitchen appliance—the company may request the feedback a couple of months after the transaction.

This type of survey is not only quantitative, as it often allows customers to leave their comments and express their feedback in their own words.

The drawbacks: Email and text surveys are notably unpopular among consumers, with low click-through rates. If many customers don’t even open the email, fewer will click on the link, and even fewer will complete the survey. According to MailChimp, the average click-through rate in emails across most industries is only 2.62%.

The purpose of feedback collection is to listen to the voice of the customer and make the appropriate changes to the service and product when needed; but if the feedback you collect is so small in volume, you are likely to base your business decisions on an irrelevant data sample.

Mobile Applications

For mobility services like Uber and food delivery services, it’s easy to request feedback directly from the same mobile application through which users have requested the service itself. As soon as the service is complete, the app can notify the user asking to submit their feedback, which is usually as simple as a 1-5 star rating.

This method, when applicable, ensures a very high response rate. It’s easy and user-friendly, and most customers will be excited to provide their feedback through the app.

The drawbacks: In order to make the feedback collection user-friendly and avoid consuming the user’s time, the feedback collected through mobile apps is usually very simple. A star rating may be a good indicator of the overall customer satisfaction, but it won’t inform the company of the quality of the customer experience on a deeper level.

IVR Phone Survey (Interactive Voice Response)

Many companies use the traditional IVR system to request feedback from customers, either through an outbound call or at the end of an interaction with an agent. A common use of IVR is for a company to automate outbound calls after performing a service, like repairing your car.

IVR is not expensive and easily scalable, but due to its limited technological capabilities, the type of feedback it’s able to collect is very narrow.

For example, an IVR system might ask: “Was your issue or concern resolved? For Yes, press 1, for No, press 2.” Or: “How likely are you to recommend our service to others, from a scale to 1 to 5, 1 being not likely at all, and 5 being very likely?”

The drawbacks: IVR only registers responses as digits, giving you quantitative feedback and not enabling you to get a more complete and complex picture of the customer experience.

Let’s say 34% of your respondents are unhappy with your service and express it in their satisfaction survey; if you don’t know why they are unhappy, there is very little you can do to improve your score.

Dive deeper: The difference between IVR Robocallers and AI-Powered Digital Voice Agents

Phone Interview with Human Agent

Sometimes, a company will employ a number of agents to reach out to customers on the phone and gather their feedback on products and services. This is one of the most in-depth methods for feedback collection, as customers are more likely to engage with the agent and provide detailed feedback about their customer experience.

This type of feedback is more qualitative than quantitative, allowing for more nuance and personalization. Whenever you let your  consumers express themselves freely, you get richer insights. Open-ended questions are therefore very helpful.

The drawbacks: While phone interviews may lead to excellent results, they are expensive, time consuming, and not scalable. You can set up an IVR to call as many customers as you need, but you can’t employ an infinite number of agents to manually call every customer and request in-depth feedback. Therefore, this method is the least practical to implement.

Adopting a Voice AI Solution for Your Feedback Collection Needs

Even Stanford University says it: Speaking is three times faster than typing. Therefore, implementing an intelligent Digital Voice Agent powered by AI to connect with customers over the phone and gather their feedback in a short and friendly conversation is a winning strategy for product and service companies.

Let’s say you want to set up feedback collection outbound calls with Voice AI for a food delivery service. You can easily automate the Voice AI platform to initiate outbound calls to customers about one hour and half after the food has been delivered. The Digital Voice Agent will proceed to ask a couple of questions to the customer; for example, “How was your food?”, “Are you satisfied with our service?”

Another example would be feedback collection after a prospective customer does a test drive at a car dealership. After the customer leaves the dealership, the Digital Voice Agent will reach out and ask: “How was your test ride?”, “What was missing?”

One more example. Many companies selling consumer durables like kitchen appliances, whenever repairs are needed, send technicians from third-party companies. With Voice AI, they can collect feedback on the third-party company to ensure that it has met the needs of the customer.

Thanks to the qualitative and versatile nature of the questions Voice AI can ask, the feedback the company will get is likely to be different for each customer, focusing on different topics and issues. This will allow the company to get a much wider picture of the customer experience.

Voice AI Feedback Analytics

Let’s take it one step further. Not only Voice AI is an excellent solution to gather the feedback, but it’s also an ideal tool to analyze the feedback.

Voice AI solutions like Skit’s Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform can easily aggregate the data and help you identify insights and takeaways that will ultimately lead to data-driven decision-making.

This is the direction the customer experience industry at large is moving towards:

  • Attentively listening to the Voice of the Customer
  • Gathering and aggregating data to gain insights
  • Making data-driven decisions

Learn more: How Voice AI is transforming customer 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 using the chat tool below.

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.