Solving Collection Agent Attrition and Scalability Issues for Auto Finance Companies

The rapid growth of the automotive finance market—CAGR of 6.5% [2022-2028] and the likelihood of reaching USD 385 bn with the rapid growth of 42 Billion in market size, indicates the opportunity ahead. But growth needs to be supported by resources, and the skilled workforce is the most scarce.

For decades auto financers have struggled with the shortage of skilled human support executives. Although various automation solutions helped them move closer to automating most of their workflows, it was far from getting realized. 

With rapid advancements in voice technology by vertical Voice AI companies such as Skit.ai, we have reached a point of seamlessly automated customer conversations and significantly reduced the dependence on human agents. 

We have deep-dived into various aspects of how Skit.ai’s voicebot impacts the Top and Bottom Line. In this piece, we will explore how Skit.ai’s AI-powered Digital Collections Agent will solve one of the most significant scalability problems arising from the skilled labor shortage.

The Challenge of Scalability and Seasonality in Auto Finance 

Labor shortages and retaining a skilled workforce are big challenges in auto finance. Like other industries, the pandemic also affected automotive and finance companies, leading to employees’ reluctance to return to their jobs and re-evaluating their life priorities in the post-pandemic stage. As a result of the shortage of skilled human resources, the industry is riddled with the following:

  • Higher cost of recruiting, training, and retaining good performers
  • Inadequate debt portfolio coverage
  • Higher cost of collections or recovery
  • The limited scalability of the auto loan portfolio
  • Overworked human collectors or agents might lead to compliance breaches
  • The direct link between the auto loan recovery team and the number of accounts
  • Also, seasonality is a significant issue. For ex., during festive seasons, most collectors or agents are on holiday, so keeping the show running during that phase becomes highly challenging. 

In addition, collection agents face many challenges that make their job highly challenging. Here are a few core challenges the agents and companies face while trying to ensure the consumer gets back to the payment schedule:

Disengagement: High volume of dull, low-value, and repetitious calls make it challenging for the agents to be motivated and carry excitement while on the job. Simplistic calls about FAQs, wrong numbers, calls not picked up, call-back again requests, and more create zero value but consume a lot of time for agents. This monotony is at the core of their disengagement from work.

Recruitment and Training: Finding the right person for the job, training them regularly, and giving perks and incentives to retain their cost dearly to the auto financing companies. This cost and management issue can be thoroughly minimized with the deployment of Skit.ai’s voicebot.

Compliance Adherence: Debt, even secured ones like auto loans, come under a regulatory framework, and sometimes overworked agents tend to use coercion or not stick to regulatory restrictions, leading to litigations and non-compliance. 

Inadequate Portfolio Coverage: Agent team and bandwidth are limited, and they need to optimize the ones with the maximum probability to pay, and thus others get ignored. This is a loss because a fraction of others will also pay if followed. 

Handling Call Spikes: Seasonal fluctuations in calls, inbound or need for processing debt portfolio expeditely, needs seamless scalability else it is a missed opportunity that affects the performance of the auto financer. To have scalability, auto financers have to manage a bigger team of agents, which will be an enormous cost for them, hence an unfeasible alternative. 

How Skit.ai’s Digital Collection Agent Solves Skilled Agent Shortage 

At present, tools at the disposal of auto financers involve dated technology such as IVRs, and telephony that can not decouple incoming calls from human agents. At best, the tech solutions just alleviate the core problem to the slightest. 

Voice AI, the most cutting-edge voice technology, on the other hand, holds the most promise. There are various kinds of Voice AI solutions available in the market. Still, only voice-first Vertical Voice AI companies such as Skit.ai deliver voicebots that perform under the most testing of situations.

Here is how the Voicebot of Skit.ai empowers auto finance companies, solving 7 core challenges. You may also want to explore how Skit.ai’s Digital Collectors impact the top and bottom lines of auto finance companies. 

As promised, let’s deep dive into how our voicebot will help your company solve the problem of a shortage of skilled human agents forever:

  1. End-to-End Automation: Our voicebot is extensively trained in the domain of collections and is capable of answering over 70% of customer queries without escalating them to the human agent. These simplistic queries are mostly a waste of human agent time, and when the customer expresses the willingness to pay, the voicebot can enable on-call payment. 
  2. Potential for Much Higher Collections: Since the voicebot frees a significant amount of agent bandwidth, it can be used to process additional or new loan portfolios; thus, there is the possibility of a higher top line. In short, the same team of human agents can now deliver much higher collections revenue. 
  3. Reduction in Average Handling Time: The shorter the calls escalated to a human agent, the more productive they will be. Skit.ai’s Digital Collection Agent collects relevant information such as:
    1. Seeks information to verify the identity of the consumer
    2. Captures the disposition or the problem
    3. Solves a part of the question and then escalates the complex part to the human agent 
    4. Improves the accuracy of information divulged by the agent as it already furnishes factual information pulled from the CRM and other systems.
  4. Focus on Real Issues for Better Collections: The human agents can focus on the highest value and complex cases where they can use their expertise to troubleshoot and improve repayment rates.
  5. No Call Volume Spike for a Balanced Work-life:  Since Skit.ai’s AI-powered voicebot can answer any volume of calls, and since the voicebot entirely answers a majority of them, the actual increase in the workload is a fraction of the total increase. This improves the quality of work in real terms.
  6. Lower Concerns for Compliance and Litigation: For auto finance companies that deploy Skit.ai’s voicebot, the possibility of entering into litigation is very low because
    1.  For one, the voicebot does not go off script.
    2. The probability of a person filing a litigation being irked by a machine is very low. This is a big plus.
    3. Thus when the voicebot engages a majority of calls, the chances of litigation are negligible. 
  7. Better Customer Relations: Customer relations are built on touch and connection. The human agents can use the voicebots to schedule interaction touchpoints that foster a deeper relationship. The result of this is better collections due to customer satisfaction.

Voicebot for Limiting Dependence on Human Agents 

From the above list of unique benefits, it is clear that the voicebot, by answering a majority of calls and making outbound calls with end-to-end automation, reduces the dependence on human agents significantly. 

Today, auto finance companies can deploy Skit.ai’s state-of-the-art voicebot in less than 45 minutes and see their collection outcomes improve within weeks, not months. Many debt collectors have realized our solution’s indispensability and gained a competitive leg up. It is time to change!

To learn more about how Voice AI can help support your human resources and scale their collection efforts with call automation, schedule a call with one of our experts or use the chat tool below.

How Auto Finance Companies Can Improve Collections with Skit.ai’s Voicebot

The economic volatility is affecting auto financers directly, and so do the inflation and other consumer behavioral trends, making it a genuinely complex space to be in.

Inflationary pressure is mounting significantly in the US economy, and the core inflation jumping to 6.6%, a 40-year high; on the other hand, the US economy is slowing down significantly, putting significant pressure on consumers to avoid delinquencies, which are now at historic highs.

Adding on top of these macroeconomic stresses for auto financers is the acute skilled labor shortage. The cumulative effect has made auto financers scout for automation solutions that can solve their challenges on all fronts.

Before Voice AI, no tech had such a capability that could automate collections and customer support calls without the need for agent intervention. Today, we are crossing the call automation rubicon with Voice AI solutions such as that offered by Skit.ai.

How Voice AI Can Empower an Auto Financing Company with Call Automation

A voicebot is a conversational Voice AI solution that can engage in meaningful conversation with the customers and understand what they are saying, having been trained extensively for particular business support issues. The design of the entire conversation is done, keeping in mind all the possible difficulties a customer can encounter and how best the collection process can be optimized.

So for every customer query, the voicebot has a ready answer as it pulls out relevant and accurate information from the client system and informs the customer, reducing the duration of the conversation remarkably.

Before we deep dive, here are a few salient points that must be borne in mind:

  • Our voicebots, also known as Digital Voice Agents, are trained extensively for specific business problems and hence are capable of engaging in intelligent conversations.
  • Our voicebot can handle all tier-I disputes, around 70% of customer queries. 
  • The remainder of calls, nearly 30%, are escalated to the human collector after the voicebot has established and verified the person’s identity and captured disposition. Thus saving human agent time and helping them engage in high-value tasks.
  • The cost of a voicebot is less than 1/5th of the human agent cost. Thus, overall pure cost savings are humongous.
  • The voicebot can place thousands of calls concurrently, thus reducing the dependence on human agents considerably.  
  • Our voicebot can be deployed within 45 minutes, making the results tangible and fast.

The impact of our voicebot on the top and bottom lines is well-documented and clear. 

Extrapolating results from Skit.ai’s clients with similar use cases, an auto finance company can realize impressive recovery rates at a fraction of the cost.

Before we explain the nuances of our tech, you can take a minute to watch our voicebot in action.

Voice AI for Inbound/Support Calls 

Inbound calls are gold mines because of these; a fraction of customers have called to pay and perhaps need assistance in processing their payment.

Present Status Quo or Before Voicebot Deployment: Unfortunately, most auto financers cannot answer a significant portion of incoming customer calls because of a lack of skilled human agents and due to the prohibitive costs. This a considerable opportunity miss.

After Skit.ai’s Voicebot: Every call gets answered, the intent gets captured, and willing consumers are facilitated to make on-call payments. Any query or dispute gets immediately noted or resolved. Also, details of any further follow-ups are recorded, and calls are scheduled.

Voice AI’s Impact:

All the clients of Skit.ai experienced the following:

  • Better collections as willing consumers were facilitated with payment options
  • Better disposition and intent capture 
  • Improvements in their CSAT scores
  • Better customer experience as financiers can listen and record every customer query.

Voice AI for Outbound Calls 

The capability to dial prompt and perfectly timed calls to reach out to overdue and delinquent accounts is perhaps the most significant capability an auto financer can have. The reason is that almost all auto financers with diverse portfolios have faced the problem of limited scalability and portfolio penetration.

The search for automation has always been, in essence, to ease the problem of limiting the scalability of dialing outbound or consumer reach-out calls. Outbound IVRs and other telephony solutions have eased the problem in their limited way. But only with Voice AI do auto financers experience call automation or intelligent automation of consumer calls.

Present Status Quo or Before Voicebot Deployment:

At present, auto finance has a limited number of agents that can place a call for collections. The process begins with an SMS reminder for payment, followed up in due course of time with a call made by an agent, and then depending upon the significance of the account, the subsequent follow-ups. Agent attrition and compliance breach always have auto financers wary of pushing things.

The diversity of auto loans in the portfolio increases the number of calls that need to be made. This leaves a significant part of the debt portfolio unattended.

After Skit.ai Voicebot:

Before you read further, listen to our voicebot in action and how easily it can help consumers pay.

Our voicebot addresses one of the most significant pain points of auto financers—scalability. We have empowered collectors to dial millions of calls within a week if they so desire. This means that reminders for every overdue or delinquent account will be reached out by our voicebot at the right time, at the desired frequency, and even help them make a payment or reschedule their payments if the need arises.

This means that simplistic calls such as reminders and notification calls can be done by the voicebot, which can even capture intent and help agents prioritize accounts.

This seamless scalability in outbound calls empowers collectors tremendously and can take their recovery rates and portfolio coverage intensity to new heights.

Voice AI’s Impact:

  • Repayment Rate at par with an average human agent
  • Better overall collections at a fraction of the cost
  • Human-Agent Bandwidth Optimization
  • Cost of Collections slashed to less than 1/5th 
  • Portfolio Coverage of 100%
  • Seamless Scalability that leaves scope to increase portfolio with the same collections team
  • Better compliance as the voicebot sticks to the script 

Summarizing the Overall Transformation

The distinct advantages of a Voice AI solution such as that of Skit.ai are conspicuous and indubitable, as many collectors have realized tangible benefits quickly. The impact of this technology is truly transformative and has begun to disrupt many businesses function, such as collection and customer support. 

Though our solution can be incorporated in less than 45 minutes, the competitive leg up for early adopters is as significant and can impact long-term success.

If you found our technology relevant and exciting, feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our experts using the chat tool below.

Voice AI Helps Auto Financers Reboot for Better Customer Loyalty and Retention

Today, every CXO working in auto finance knows it takes just a few online searches and clicks to buy a vehicle. For an industry primarily focused on customer-centricity, auto finance companies are suddenly up against “seconds-to-minutes” worth of digital interactions to wow their customers for better engagement and retention.

Inflation in the U.S. is adding a new set of challenges, with rising interest rates, vehicle prices, loan delinquencies, and predatory competition, making the current landscape particularly complex.

Prospective car owners seek online financing options for the speed, convenience, and wealth of online information to make a decision. Their digital savviness intensifies the demand for fast-paced digital finance with seamless customer support. Auto finance companies must rethink every touchpoint and communication channel across the customer’s journey.

Ensuring customers stay satisfied throughout their auto lending journey is a complex task.

In this article, we’ll explain what Voice AI is and how it can add significant value to the customer experience (CX) in the auto finance industry. Skit.ai’s Voice AI solution can help auto finance companies automate various types of calls, starting with collection calls and payment reminders.

7 Auto Finance Use Cases with Voice AI for Better Customer Experience

  1. Welcome Calling & Onboarding: Our Digital Voice Agents plug into contact centers to handle Tier-1 calls that are mundane and repetitive. These intelligent voice bots are tailored to send automated welcome messages, assist customer onboarding, and share loan-related information like interest rates, loan eligibility, loan approval, and payment details. 
  2. Payment Reminders: Auto loan providers can leverage Voice AI solution to set triggers for personalized, outbound payment reminder calls of any volume for loan payment, EMI dues, interest rate updates, and document submission.
  3. DPD 30-60 Collection: (DPD).Voice AI helps place thousands of automated, proactive, and timely calls concurrently without requiring human intervention or needing to scale human support teams. This is useful for auto finance collection cases involving consumers who have missed EMIs for 30 to 60 Days Past Due. The prime customer gets a grace period; late payment fees are waived, and credit scores will not be affected. These are the benefits that customers experiences which make ultimately result in better CX.
  4. Auto draft Signups:  Auto draft is like enache. Prime customer who is of the age of 50 and above still pays with a cheque or visits the bank. For them, auto-pay setup is essential to avoid penalties. In turn, it contributes to the convenience essential in enhancing CX and increasing customer loyalty.
  5. On-call Payment Assist: Digital Voice Agents can provide prompt on-call payment support to consumers by automating responses for Tier-1 calls and transferring only complex calls to human agents. The analytics and data on consumers’ loan accounts and payment histories also help collectors to have better insights for answering various consumer queries and providing on-call payment assistance.
  6. After-Hour Business Services: Voice AI helps auto finance companies provide 24/7 live customer support services to answer consumers’ queries about payments, loans, due dates, and more at any time of the day. Especially useful for calls made after business hours and for handling simplistic queries, while the other issues, such as disputes and other issues, are captured and updated with relevant CTA.

11 Ways Voice AI Drives Up Customer Loyalty and Retention 

The critical aspect of Voice AI in auto finance is to help companies against common operational pitfalls that can lead to potential and existing consumers slipping away to their competitors. Our Augmented Voice Intelligence platform allows auto finance companies’ contact centers to augment their support teams to unlock the best of its live collectors and Digital Voice Agents to serve many use cases, delivering superior CX. These further translate to customer retention and loyalty in the following ways:

  1. Higher Customer Engagement: Digital Voice Agents call automation; up to 70% of calls help reach the right consumers at the right time and frequency. This helps auto finance companies supercharge their engagement rate with current customers and onboard potential customers. 
  2. Better Brand Advocacy: As per the 2022 J.D. Power study report on Consumer Financing Satisfaction, existing customer relations are the low-hanging fruits for auto loan providers to leverage. Captive lenders reportedly outperform non-captive lenders with higher NPS. Voice AI helps engage with existing customers who are twice as likely to consider their current lender for their next vehicle purchase.
  3. Scalable Customer Support: Reminders at the right time and to the right person, with 1000s of concurrent calls, helps auto lending companies engage with thousands of callers across loan portfolios at a fraction of operational costs.
  4. 63% Faster Customer Query Resolution: Companies that implemented Voice AI in their contact centers were able to reduce 63 percent of the query processing time for better customer retention and satisfaction at 67 percent, as per a study by Ecosytm.
  5. Proactive & Diverse Support: Voice AI is customized for various functions and call automation capabilities to help the customer support teams to cater to diverse customer queries like payment collections, customer signups, document verification, loan approval, and purchases. 
  6. Augmented Human Support: By leveraging call automation and intelligent voice bots’ ability to provide prompt resolutions to tier-1 calls, auto finance companies can empower their contact center agent teams to save time and resources, be productive, and focus on high-value tasks that need actual voice conversations with customers in times of their need, translating to better CX. 
  7. Self-service Capabilities: Voice AI’s 24/7 availability with prompt response to queries gives customers control over debt repayment or auto finance process.
  8. Waitless Resolution: Digital Voice agents quickly disseminate information on products or loans, reducing wait time and elevating CX. 
  9. Personalized Responses: By delivering contextually accurate information specific to the use case, Voice AI ensures the responses are hyper-personalized with consistent call quality.
  10. Better Customer Intelligence: Auto finance companies can make the customers feel heard by unlocking a treasure trove of customer insights from data and robust analytics dashboards to improve the overall customer experience and call quality. 
  11. Higher Compliance: Collectors in the auto finance industry must be aware of core federal laws relating to auto loans and consumer communication, including HIPPA, FDCPA, FCRA, TCPA, and more. Voice AI’s algorithms are trained to adhere to consumers’ laws on privacy and compliance best practices which are critical for building a positive brand image.

Voice AI Represents a Breakthrough in Auto Finance 

The automotive industry is slowly evolving to build excellent customer journeys against the digital boom, rising consumer demands, and data ubiquity. A look into the future shows no signs of slow down in consumers’ expectations for digital and phygital experiences in auto retail and finance. Voice AI is poised to make contactless car buying a reality in the era of driverless cars!

To learn more about how Voice AI and Digital Voice Agents help reimagine customer support and collection in auto finance, schedule a call with one of our experts or use the chat tool below.

Tackle Agent Attrition in Debt Collection Agencies Using Voice AI

For debt collection agencies, debt recovery is a labor-intensive effort that typically relies more on human effort than capital investments. Even with the adoption of newer digital communication tools that promise to scale manual efforts, the ARM industry invariably struggles with one major issue — human resource turnover.

Across all industries, average attrition rates in contact centers vary between 30 to 40%.

It’s hard to know the exact attrition rate in the ARM industry. Agencies reported a monthly quit rate of 2.9% in 2021. Before the pandemic, in 2016, large collection agencies reported experiencing an average turnover rate of 75% to 100%, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The high attrition that characterizes the collections space makes third-party debt collection agencies vulnerable to several challenges, like loss of domain expertise, risk of non-compliance, lawsuits, and increased cost of hiring and training new talent. In the United States, with nearly one in four citizens having at least one debt in collections, recovery has become an increasingly costly endeavor.

Most Common Reasons for Collection Agent Attrition in the Debt Collection Industry 

Here are some of the most common challenges that make it so difficult for agencies to retain collectors:

  • Too Many Accounts, Too Much Work: Given the growing debt delinquency in the U.S., one can only imagine the amount of verification and debt-related communication work that can drive collectors to overwork.
  • Collectors’ Commission is Dependent on Recovery: Third-party debt collection agencies are involved when credit card issuers or creditors’ collection representatives cannot recover overdue balances. Collection agencies face thinning profit margins, and human agents’ commissions for debt recovery further burn holes in their pockets. There is no set rule or guarantee on the time the human agents need to recover outstanding loans successfully.
  • The Great Resignation: While all contact centers face high attrition rates, many people have been rethinking their careers and seeking opportunities in new fields over the last two years. This also applies to the ARM industry, where collection agents face acute stress from chasing after customers over the phone while adhering to a wide array of regulations, making attrition an even bigger challenge.
  • Empty Promises to Pay: It is common to find consumers dodging debt-related interactions. When confronted directly, they are likely to make promises to pay that may only sometimes be honored, which is another detractor for collectors to stick to their roles.
  • Debt Shame: Debt collection calls are direct and can sometimes make the debtors uncomfortable delving into the details of their unpaid loans. According to a study by Webio, people can be much more honest when communicating via text messages than in voice interactions for difficult scenarios. In the case of debt collections, textual conversations can reduce stress for both debtor and collector.
  • Efforts Often Don’t Justify Conversion Rates: When it comes to debt, the devil is in the details. To invest too much attention and time in each customer who needs a detailed overview of their loans and debts is unrealistic. It is extremely costly and leads to operational overkill, another reason for collectors’ resignation.
  • Debt Collection is Not for Everyone: Employee turnover in any field results from the nature of the job/employer and the employee’s capabilities. Working conditions, perks, quality of work, and benefits will fix the collector’s morale. But employees’ capabilities for the job determine how much they are willing to stick to it. 
  • Rapid Changes in Regulatory Framework: Many regulatory agencies like FTC and rules like Fair Debt Collection Practices Act dictate how collection agencies can approach consumers without violating consumer protection laws. It requires constant staff training and procedural approaches like obtaining debt verification requests, debt validation, forbearance, and foreclosures that rely on unique expertise. When agencies adopt a manual route or use restrictive debtor communication methods, errors and inaccuracies are expected.

 The Rising Role of Voice AI in the Debt Collections Industry

These challenges highlight the urgency for digital transformation in collection agencies; in particular, agencies are looking at automation as the primary solution to their attrition crisis.

In our previous articles, we discussed the unique capabilities of Voice AI technology in reducing contact center agent labor costs via call automation. Concurrently, Gartner’s estimates from their survey also suggest that labor expenses represent 95% of contact center costs, and adopting Conversational AI helps cut expenses by $80 billion. The customer-facing side of ARM, particularly the debt collection agencies, can capitalize on this trend to reduce staff shortages, curb labor expenses and make human resources more efficient and effective. 

Skit.ai’s Voice AI platform is at the forefront of transforming the ARM industry with its Digital Voice Agents and augmenting collection agencies’ workforce to focus on resolving complex use cases. 

Voice AI’s value-adds are in areas that impact collectors’ productivity and bandwidth which further determine talent retention in this space. Here’s the rundown of its merits that help address agent attrition challenge in the debt collections industry:

  1. End-to-end Call Automation: Voice AI helps automate 70% of calls (inbound and outbound), allowing prompt query resolution. Also, agencies can leverage automation to identify consumers, policy numbers, and other debt-related information. This reduces the effort and time it would take to call and follow up with each debtor manually. 
  2. Reduce High Cost of Collection by 1/5th: Digital Voice Agents that plug into contact centers and take over calls by holding human-like conversations can execute calls at less than 1/5th of the actual cost of manual calls. Collection agencies can lower operation costs with intelligent voice agents in lieu of collectors by concurrently calling over thousands of defaulters.
  3. High Scalability: Agencies can scale their debt collection efforts and consumer outreach by leveraging call automation and Digital Voice Agents that can handle and answer tier-1 caller queries by automating up to 70% of calls, reducing dependency on human agents. 
  4. Higher Portfolio Coverage Intensity: Collectors can cover many more debt files when they leverage Voice AI’s ability to handle multiple calls simultaneously. With minimal effort, cost and time, agencies expand their scale of reach of debt collection practices with minimal human intervention.
  5. Strict Adherence to Compliance: Fear of lawsuits or going off track by the debt collectors will be alleviated by the Voice AI platform, which is purpose-built and specific to the domain and use case. Digital Voice Agents can be tailored to hold and attend calls as per the laws governing consumers’ preference for call frequency, tone, language, and time to receive debt collection calls.
  6. Solve Diverse Use Cases: The recovery process in the collection agencies involves rigorous reviews, checking outstanding balances, sending demand and acknowledgment letters, and arranging for telephone contact. It is humanly impossible to keep track of all details, numbers, and sensitive information about different types of debt and cases at their fingertips. Digital Voice Agents can be optimized to address various debt-related queries and use cases without time, cost, and human effort constraints, reducing work stress and dissatisfaction for debt collectors. 
  7. Enhance Human Agent Productivity: Debt collectors can experience higher and faster conversion levels by leveraging Voice AI’s analytics and caller data insights. The pre-call verification, call automation (inbound and outbound), and routing features enable real-time agent augmentation, boosting productivity and performance. Also, the Digital Voice Agents are capable of intelligent call transfers to human agents only for complex cases, allowing the human workforce to focus on efforts that help retrieve debts faster. 
  8. Voice AI Calls are Free of Human Biases: Holding debt recovery conversations is a sticky collection practice that most consumers tend to avoid out of pressure, discomfort, shame, and fear of judgment. Voice AI’s call automation capability eliminates direct voice interaction between defaulters and collection agents, making collection calls free of human biases. Also, Digital Voice Agents can hold persuasive, contextually accurate, and proactive conversations and keep interactions direct and objective. This way, collection agents can experience higher work quality without job stress, dissatisfaction, and the chances of misdemeanors while talking to consumers. 

Collection agencies rely entirely on outstanding loan payments to survive. Voice AI helps collection agencies strike a balance between meeting their recovery targets and making debt collection efforts more intuitive in a way that doesn’t come at the cost of operational burnouts and resignations. Voice AI eliminates bottlenecks in debt recovery and improves the overall customer experience.

To learn more about how Voice AI can help you solve attrition challenges, schedule a call with one of our experts or use the chat tool below.

How a Hotel Bookings Platform Transformed Customer Support with Voice AI

Vaccine equity reopened the global tourism gates in 2021, reigniting the wanderlust of travelers, many of whom were keen on holidaying internationally.

Picture this; customer support of leading travel bookings and tourism companies began clocking over thousands of pre-booking queries and inbound calls. In addition to the chats, emails, and other contact touchpoints. The two possible ways to rise to the occasion—scale up contact center support or explore ‘novel automation areas’ beyond the scope of IVRs and Chatbots to help agents answer customers’ questions.

Travelers in the digital age prefer pre-booking research and planning over spontaneity. Even more so, customers simply desire to talk to voice support on the other side of the line, a study confirms.

While IVRs and Chatbots are excellent for very simplistic FAQs, tickets, and status handling, they need to catch up in meeting the expectations of potential travelers with generic discovery queries that can only be addressed effectively via voice conversations with contact center agents. 

However, managing the entire inbound query process over calls is an overpromise that most contact centers can only live up to by draining their agent resources, time, and cost.

From the potential customer’s standpoint, booking during peak seasons, poor agent bandwidth, and long waits at the IVR loop can be frustrating. This ultimately leads to under-delivery of the promise of consistent and quality customer experience (CX), causing poor conversion and mid-call abandonment.

How AI-powered Contact Center Automation is Ideal for Travel Companies

Travel and tourism brands must factor in CX while offering a seamless flow of information on airfares, accommodations, destinations, booking and refund policies, travel safety, and guidelines over inbound voice calls. AI-powered voice automation helps intercept repetitive queries, taking away the lion’s share of the burden from the agents. This way, it augments contact center support teams to meticulously manage time and resources for solving complex customer queries while staying on top of their SLAs. Additionally, travel booking companies can leverage automation to offer more information over voice calls in their inbound support. 

Voice AI, built on powerful AI and Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) algorithms, can guarantee this two-fold benefit for travel and tourism platforms looking to unlock new automation angles in inbound customer support for an impactful CX. In this blog, we will explore the journey of Southeast Asia’s leading hotel bookings and management platform with Voice AI for transforming their inbound CX through seamless voice conversations. 

Explore how Voice AI Empowers Contact Center Agents 

Automating Inbound Customer Support Call with Voice AI 

Before adopting Voice AI, the hotel bookings company had an IVR system that was able to confirm only those customers with booking IDs before connecting them to the agents. The bots could not handle customers looking to fetch pre-booking and pricing details. Due to poor agent bandwidth, the company’s customer support hit its lowest point whenever the call volumes peaked, recording below-par FCR, call containment, and call abandonment rates.

After evaluating market-leading platforms, the travel bookings company chose Voice AI and predefined objectives to empower its customer support team to work across customer intents previously handled by bots. The platform’s powerful AI capabilities helped dive deeper and crystalize goals such as:

  • Automating inbound customer calls with simpler intents, like inquiries about booking status, to improve call containment rates.
  • Implement a solution that will allow the team to handle seasonal surges without hiring more agents.
  • Give customers a seamless experience that would reduce wait times and the likelihood of call abandonment.
  • Handle more query types, even involving customers without an active booking ID.

Discover How Voice AI Transforms Contact Center Automation

Reaching Customers Faster at Less Cost and Agent Workload 

The transformation began with inbound query areas like reservation status inquiries, booking cancellation and modification information, account information, and policies. After Voice AI deployment, the travel bookings company also identified critical areas that can be managed by their bots; new booking, refund status, pricing inquiry, and location details. This made their bots proactive and prescriptive and seamlessly scaled up the query volumes within two weeks of going live!

In the second phase of implementing Voice AI, the call containment rates gradually increased by 75%, opening new avenues in customer self-service. This meant more inbound callers could get their answers faster without impacting the agent productivity and call center costs!

Voice Automation helped the company to save nearly $200,000 on the annual staffing and recruitment budget. They improved HR efficiency and adopted more competent staffing without the additional costs of recruiting agents just for managing calls during peak seasons for the following year. 

Role of Voice AI for Insurance: Streamline Inbound Support

Voice-led Customer Support for Seamless Elasticity and Higher CX

Delivering elastic customer support is another driver for CX for digital brands and businesses. In the travel and tourism industry, especially during peak seasons when the customers are in the pre-booking phase, the bookings platforms and contact centers must be agile to keep up with their changing preferences and low attention spans. Elastic customer support means the platforms and their contact centers are scalable, and the customers do not face poor user experience from frozen applications or busy contact center lines.

To capitalize on the pre-booking queries that are not tied to booking IDs, the hotel bookings firm uncovered new automation angles within customer service and expanded customer support areas with Voice AI. This gave them the agility and flexibility to resolve over a hundred calls, of which the bots handled the majority. In turn, this increased agent productivity, allowing them to focus on answering questions over calls and improving customer loyalty and retention at the pre-booking stage. Local languages integration to the IVR was the additional enhancement using Voice AI that drove the platform’s net promoter score (NPS) up by 71% and reduced call abandonment rates by 54%. 

Our Takeaway:

In today’s pure-play tech world, automating inbound customer support is vital for the judicious disbursement of pre-sales/booking activities. As customer expectations increase, the opportunities for automation are endless. However, travel and tourism firms must create a realistic roadmap and flow route on their platforms for better customer experience and engagement across the entire booking value chain. With AI at work, brands can unleash automation in the right places to drive ‘conversion through conversations’ even with a lean team.

Voice Intelligent platforms, like Voice AI, help join forces critical to customer support, allowing an absolute human and machine partnership.

Are you interested in contact center automation to chart unique customer experiences with our Digital Voice Agent? Use the chat tool to schedule a call with one of our experts.

Phone Call for Debt Collection Still Works: Call Automation with Voice AI Reinstates its Value

Newer forms of communication, like email and instant chat tools, have replaced more traditional tools. The same phenomenon may seem to occur in the ARM space, with collection agencies and customers now interacting via email, text messages, chat, and IVR systems. But while each tool has its specific value, phone calls for debt collection and reminders are hardly dying! 

Why Phone Calls Are Better for Contacting Debtors

In the U.S., about 28% of consumers have at least one debt in collection. Debt delinquency has grown dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, and collection agencies are tasked to chase after thousands of loan defaulters and slow-paying customers. Imagine persistently following up with debtors with back-and-forth emails to detail debt information that mostly goes unread or ignored at every stage! Or think of sending a combination of payment reminders via messaging systems that are usually one-sided and restrictive in terms of options to answer debt-related queries. Digital interaction methods unquestionably have their merits, and challenging them sounds flaky. But there are aspects to the good-old phone call which make it the best bet for high-performing collection campaigns:

1. It takes longer to text or type than to speak, and speech-based dictation is faster with speech recognition systems on mobile devices. 

2. Phone calls are great for establishing an immediate connection within seconds of calling.

3. Voice calls are direct, personal, and confidential.

4. Phone calls allow for effective two-way communication. They are suitable for active listening, asking questions, troubleshooting, clarifying and sharing relevant debt-related information, and even reaching an agreement.

5. A phone call is an active way of engaging with debtors, unlike text messages, emails, or notices which are passive at best.

Manually Calling Each Debtor is Impractical

Typically, debt collection follows through a sequential flow of interactions across different modalities. Voice calls are not the first step of debtor contact. Collectors must tread carefully with a list of ‘avoidant’ defaulters to emphasize the immediacy of calls and prompt a favorable response without annoying them. Without digital tracking and real-time dashboards for delinquent lists, keeping a tab of debt statuses is challenging. This makes phone calls somewhat of a hit-and-miss method.  

As for the debt collection agencies, even after scaling their collection teams, it becomes difficult to maintain speed, cost, and quality consistencies and also achieve conversion goals with just phone calls. Manual phone calls are expensive and exhausting. Here’s what a daily debt collection humdrum looks like:

  • A large part of the collector’s JD is a relentless pursuit of debtors over manual calls.
  • A significant chunk of time is lost in pre-call verification, cross-referencing the debt and debtor details, and segregating overdue accounts and their statuses. 
  • The collectors must be fully prepared for challenges like wrong numbers, customers dodging their calls, or disagreeing with the debt details.
  • Time and task management just to comb through debtor contacts separate the ones with call back and ‘never call again’ requests.

How Call Automation with Voice AI Amplifies Your Agency’s Debt Collection Efforts

To address the scalability and cost factors involved in manual debt collection calls, some firms choose an automated route that can be restrictive and risk missing out on the core purpose—debtors’ promise for payment. Automated debt collection systems with complex IVRs menus or robotic voices communicating debt information are generally an instant turn-off for customers. Therefore, the need of the hour is a combination of automation and human-like intervention to manage very high-volume debt collection calls while also empathetically reminding and aligning debtors to debt-related conversations.  

Voice AI technology helps elevate the significance of phone calls as an effective debt recovery tool. Skit.ai’s purpose-built and domain-specific Voice AI platform helps debt collection agencies to adopt meaningful approaches to customer interactions over phone calls with strikingly accurate and intelligent multi-turn conversations. 

Dive deeper: How Call Automation Impacts Debt Collections

The intelligent Digital Voice Agents are modeled on human interactions and plug into contact centers to automate responses for repetitive, zero-value queries. These voice agents can hold human-like conversations and resolve tier-1 caller/customer queries without needing any intervention by a human agent. Only complex customer/caller queries that the Digital Voice Agents cannot handle are transferred to human agents. Augmented Voice Intelligence focuses on expanding the collection agencies’ workforce by combining the power of human voice and machines. 

Buyer’s Guide: Digital Voice Agent for Debt Collections

Voice AI works with the adage that voice interactions are the most natural communication forms. With the platform built, designed, and optimized for voice interactions, collection agencies can realize the full potential of their debt recovery initiatives by automating calls and augmenting the workforce to involve only in complex scenarios that need detailed articulation and communication parameters that go beyond basic texts, emails or automated responses. 

13 Ways Voice AI Elevates the Role of Phone Calls for Debt Collection 

  1. Call Automation: Debt collection agencies can reduce manual efforts by automating up to 70 percent of calls with Voice AI.
  2. Cost Savings: With Digital Voice Agents taking over the calls instead of human agents, collection agencies can achieve cost savings of up to 50 percent on their debtor outreach.
  3. Personalized Debt Collection Calls: Auto-dialers with pre-recorded messages are great for mass calls but lack personalization. Voice AI adds value here as it can tailor to the use case. Human-like conversations with Digital Voice Agents make the debt recovery calls more personal. Also, with multi-language support, it makes it easier for call customization. 
  4. Foster a Dialog with Debtors: Built ground up for voice interaction, the Voice AI platform makes debt collection interaction conversational and two-way, unlike IVRs, chatbots, and automated messages. This helps steer clear of confusion and assumptions by allowing agents to listen to the debtors’ complaints or situations and clarify when necessary. 
  5. Always-on, 24/7 Support: Digital Voice Agents function independently of human agents to make debt collection voice calls without being impacted by time-zone differences.  
  6. Live Interaction and Support:  Voice agents answer or call debtors to interact and provide real-time support. This is better than pre-recorded IVR messages or time-consuming conversations with a debt collector.  
  7. Intelligent Collab between Collectors and Collection Systems: Augmented Voice Intelligence allows for collaborative intelligence between humans and machines by transferring only complex queries to human agents. 
  8. Enhance Collectors’ Productivity: Voice AI platform analytics dashboard and caller history, along with automated features for call routing and authentication, impact collectors’ productivity, making them more proactive.
  9. High Scalability: Agencies can ramp up collection outreach and handle peak call volumes without increasing the size of human-agent teams by leveraging call automation. 
  10. Reduce Average Handling Time: The prompt responses and high engagement via the Voice AI platform reduce hold time and the chances of customers abandoning the calls. Collection agencies can leverage this platform to reduce the average call handling time by 40 percent. 
  11. Right-Party Contact: Often, debt collectors can dial the wrong numbers or reach the wrong party while making the debt collection calls. Voice AI’s unique value proposition is the accuracy that helps collectors land the right contact.
  12. Better Call and Caller Insights: Debt collectors can improve their performance and call quality by tracking relevant metrics for debt collections, such as payment propensity rates, the success of their debt collection campaigns, and targeting risky accounts with real-time insights with the Voice AI platform. 
  13. Better Compliance: When the debt collection calls are manually driven, it is tricky to check every item on the to-do list. The scope for human errors and unruly behaviors is high when the calls are handled by the human team. Voice AI platform can be tailored according to the various stages in the debt recovery process and ensures every adheres to compliance best practices.

How TCPA Impacts Voice AI in the Collections Industry?

Our Two Cents:

In reality, it is tricky to remind people to repay their debts. In the current stage of piling deliquescent debts in the U.S. adoption of Voice AI is necessary to create strategies that convert potential conflicts and confusions into meaningful conversations on outstanding loans and payments.

Voice AI will continue making a strong impact in the debt collection industry by transforming a simple phone call into a prolific tool to manage debt-recovery cases without going overboard with time, cost, and human effort.

To learn more about how call automation with Voice AI can transform your debt collection agency, schedule a call with one of our experts or use the chat tool below.

How Voice AI Helps Debt Collections Companies Improve Top and Bottom Lines

Many debt collection companies are evaluating emerging technologies and looking into digital transformation. You can’t blame them: due to a faltering economy, rising costs, and high agent attrition, new processes and solutions are needed.

As a result, within the next three years, one in every ten interactions with call center agents will be voice bots driven, according to the new Gartner report. These findings are directly attributable to the spectacular rise to the advances in conversational artificial intelligence (AI), along with the mounting challenges we detailed above.

The report also estimates that by 2026, Conversational AI could save about $80 billion in labor costs! That is a significant number, indicative of the merits that early adopters will have in terms of cost, CX, and expansion of top and bottom lines. But, starting early is key to competitive advantage.

It is an open secret that high human agent churn is due to the fact that most calls are low-value and tediously repetitive. By handling these calls, Conversational AI will make the agents’ jobs more exciting and fulfilling, allowing them to focus on high-value and complex calls.

Globally, there are approximately 17 million contact center agents, and their cost makes up 95% of contact center costs. By intelligent call automation led by voice-intelligent technology, Voice AI, a big part of unproductive calls can be taken over by Digital Voice Agents, yielding high cost and CX advantages.

The Direct Cost and Efficiency Benefits of Voice AI for Debt Collection Agencies:

The most significant takeaway for the debt collection agency is that the benefits of Voice AI implementation are tangible and quickly realizable. But before we go into stats, here is a simple explanation of what essentially happens in a debt collection agency when they deploy a voicebot.

Voicebot Functioning

A voicebot is a conversational Voice AI application that can understand what the customer is saying as it is trained for a specific customer problem. It can strike a meaningful conversation with the customer. This happens because the entire conversation design has been done keeping in mind all the possible difficulties a customer can encounter.

So for every customer query, the voicebot has a ready answer as it pulls out relevant information from the client system and informs the customer, cutting the duration of the conversation remarkably.

Digital Voice Agents (DVA) Vs. IVRs: It is worth mentioning here that DVAs are remarkably different from IVRs; in fact, there is no comparison between the two. DVAs are at the cutting edge of the technological spectrum, while IVRs are legacy technology.

IVR can not converse. It is an unintelligent technology that runs a tedious exchange of inputs and outputs. For something as sensitive as debt collections, it is remarkably unsuitable.

Digital Voice Agent is AI-powered, built on Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) and context-rich conversational designs.

Dive deeper: The difference between Digital Voice Agents and Outbound Robocallers 

For a debt collections company, the two main categories of calls are Inbound and Outbound. Here is the process of value creation:

Inbound Calls: Many agencies cannot process a significant portion of customer calls. From them, a tiny fraction of customers have called to pay and perhaps need guidance.

Answering Non-revenue Generating Calls 

The data from various sources is precise: A majority of calls are so simple that answering them by a human agent does not add any value to the company.

We’ve discussed the value of adopting a Digital Voice Agent for call automation. If you want to learn more, take a look at our Resources page, in which we regularly explore current topics related to the ARM industry.

Understanding the Top and Bottom Line Impact of a Voice AI Solution on a Debt Collection Company

The Final Word

Voice AI has proved its capability in bringing about a transformation of contact centers either with a small team or a big one. As its adoption increases, it will become a technology that can deliver sustainable cost advantages as well as a competitive advantage.

Refer to our Voice AI page for more information about its transformative potential.

Book a demo with one of our experts-www.skit.ai

Rethinking Self-service in the Age of Voice AI 

What’s common among interactive voice response (IVR) systems, ATMs, knowledge base, mobile applications, virtual assistants or chatbots? They are all self-service options that can help dispense answers and resolve queries at lightning speed! Self-service or self-help tools and options make for an empowered customer support team and a loyal customer base. 

Self-service equals simplified customer journeys! 

In a mobile-driven digital economy, a brand’s relevance and value is measured in terms of the speed, convenience and the level of autonomy offered to their customers. Digital self-service is the central objective of today’s automated customer support, but tailored for better CX and performance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the usage of digitized self-service by customers across demographics accelerated with sudden digital transformation (DX). With newer entrants into the market— more digital native brands, always-on, smartphone users and Gen Z customers, numerous possibilities await businesses using digital self-service in their customer support. As per the recent OnePoll study involving over 10,000 respondents from 11 countries to explore humanity’s shifting relationship with digital tech and experiences:

  • Nearly 58% percent of participants said they will continue their digital brand interactions more than their pre-pandemic levels. 
  • Most study respondents felt that the digital experience was fast and convenient, making it better or on par with the real-world, face-to-face customer service interactions. 
  • Almost 66% reportedly had a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ experience using online customer service options. 

Diving a little deeper, the research summed up the exact reasons for positive reactions:

  • Instant issue/query resolution (48%).
  • Convenience (46%).
  • Speed (45%).

These findings form the crux of self-service. In this blog we will begin our exploration on why self-service tools are truly adept in capturing customers’ interest, and meeting productivity and performance goals of brands’ customer support. 

Psychology behind Self-service

Self-service is not the same as automation. Sure, digital self-service gives automated responses to repetitive queries in blazing speed. It is not only about allowing customers to resolve things on their own but also empowering them to address them faster. The overall value of the self-service strategy is measured in terms of its impact on CX. The faster, more convenient and more cutting-edge the self-service options, the better would be the CX scores. Moreover, the intuitiveness and simplicity of self-service helps reduce customer effort while solving problems on their own. This lowers the customer effort score (CES), another key metric for frictionless CX!

An intuitive, anytime self-service strategy across the platforms or channels also helps evade a laundry list of options for customer service-related interactions and unnecessary contact with human agents.  This is integral for curbing additional contact center operations costs and allocating resources and human efforts in areas that build proactive and customer-centric impressions.  No wonder, in the U.S. 88% of customers prefer self-service for dealing with their everyday problems. The number is equal to the global average of customers that expect brands and businesses to include a self-service support portal. 

The Most Common Types of Self-service Options

Now, let’s have a look at this run-down of the widely adopted self-service support options.

  1. Knowledge Base and FAQs: Internet-savvy customers leverage business/brands’ digital presence to find their way from the search engine platform to access information in a variety of forms (videos, landing pages, texts, infographics, illustrations, audiobooks, guides, and icons) for problem-solving.   Dedicated FAQ pages that are brief and true-to-context is another form of self-service option that guides customers through specific customer service-related scenarios on the company’s website. 
  1. Integrated Contact Centers: Customer data is created across multiple channels. Integrated contact centers bind sales, contact center agents or other representatives with unified data sharing, collaboration and improved access to customer data across customer journeys and omni-channels for customer service. The intention is to boost CX and reduce the need to repeat information as customers navigate different customer service departments to solve issues on their own. 
  1.  Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems: IVRs have existed for more than five decades. They are customer-facing phone systems that offer (inbound and outbound) support with pre-recorded messages and self-service menu responses to customers’ text inputs. They are cost-effective, scalable, and automated alternatives to human agents. 

Move Beyond IVRs: Transform CX with Digital Voice Agents 

  1. Chatbots: Chatbots use text-based or voice interfaces that are integrated to websites or mobile apps’ chat/message window  to interact with customers. They are AI-driven and created based on the planned interaction flow chart to respond to customers in a matter of seconds. 
  1. Mobile Applications: Mobile apps with intuitive and interactive UX and UI give information to customers via dashboards, push notifications and updates in their moments of need, on their mobile devices. 

Voice AI: A Quantum Leap in Self-service 

The common forms of self-service options are the building blocks of the new age customer support. But there’s always the expectation for solutions that drive up the cost savings and operational efficiency while also helping brands’ contact centers meet their CX objectives. Imagine, if brands were able to achieve that while also offering self-service support that was voice-led, personalized, empathetic and proactively responds in real-time! For today’s automation and customer-first era, Skit.ai’s purpose-built Voice AI platform redefines self-service for optimizing customer support not only for better CX but for enhanced employee and business experience. 

Built to enable conversations that are modeled on human interactions for prompt query resolution and personalized caller experiences, Voice AI is a next level of innovation in self-service. It delivers the best of voice experiences for brands through their contact centers that go beyond the capabilities of generic voice bots. 

Voice AI is built to be domain-specific unlike generic voice-first platforms by Amazon and Google. The  spoken language understanding (SLU) layer of Voice AI helps capture short, conversational utterances and is capable of deciphering semantic details that helps identify the right intent.  

Why Every Company Must Have a Voice: Read Now 

How Voice AI Lays the Framework for Self-service 

Voice conversations are the most natural forms of human communication and still remain one of the most sought after brand-customer interactions. Live voice conversations are critical to delivering high-quality customer experience. Customers interacting with self service options such as IVRS and messaging chatbots think before inputting a text command and hit send. Voice AI is a technology built to understand the intricacies of spoken language and not limited to text. It can quickly grasp customers’ voice interactions and filter through pauses and repetitions.

The  Digital Voice Agents plug into the contact centers for automating cognitively routine work and independently resolving tier 1 customer problems. This would aid the human workforce to focus on more complex customer queries and contact centers to adopt intelligent human-machine collaboration. This way customers can stay in control and brands also get to pick the best self-service strategy for delightful CX. 

Now, let’s dig into various features of Voice AI that makes it a better alternative to conventional self-service support:

  • Natural human-like Interaction: Digital voice agents that can mimic human-like conversations and comprehend interactions at a semantic level. It doesn’t feel like interacting with IVRs. It feels like holding conversations with the brands’ contact center agent.
  • Problem Recognition: Customers navigating through the self-service option can feel like they are lost in translation because of the complex IVR loops, limited menus or options that do not cater to their requirements. Sometimes chatbots are built with an ASR layer on top of NLP. They are great for transcriptions, not conversations. They deliver the same experience as going through a rigid IVR system. Digital Voice Agents can understand the right sentiment and nuances of human conversations, allowing the customer support to accurately identify and solve customers’ problems.
  • Always-on, Human Agent-free experience: One of the core value propositions of implementing a digital voice agent is its ability to function 24/7 for the ‘always-on’ customers without the dependency on human agents. This translates to cost savings by automating high-volume, zero-value and repetitive customer queries.
  • Quick Resolution: Self-service platforms optimized by powerful AI-capabilities and strong data sets based on customers data can be used for competitive advantage. It allows fast resolution, impacting customer satisfaction and CX. 
  • Diversify Customer Service at a Lesser Cost: When more problems that are unique in nature can be handled by voice agents and automated, it helps brands’ customer service be a one-stop-shop for addressing customer queries at a fraction of a cost.
  • Smarter Human Resource Allocation: Self service options in contact centers make it easier to address trivial problems or anything that is repetitive in nature using Digital Voice Agents. Human agents can be allocated only for complex customer service issues, allowing for better resource planning and empowered customer support teams.
  • Make Self-service More human: Digital voice agents add a human touch to the overall experience without involving a human. The datasets are designed for SLU and built for domain-specific words which makes it easier to hold contextual conversation with the customers even via self-service options.
  • Hyper-personalize Customer Support: Brands can guarantee hyper personalization leveraging Voice AI’s extensive language support. It helps break spoken language barriers for enhanced query resolution and overall caller experience.

If you still have questions, refer to the infographic below for a brief comparative analysis between Voice AI and three most popular self-service tools.

FeaturesVoice AIIVR Systems Chatbots Mobile Apps 
Primarily Built for Voice Input YesNoNoNo
Analytics and insights CapabilitiesVery HighLowHighLow
Elasticity of Customer Service  HighLowModerateLow
Hyper-personalized and Contextual dialog CapabilityHighLowHighHigh
Handling time Lowest Very HighModerateLow
Quick Query Resolution Quickest Slowest Quick Quick

Our Titbits

Envisioning customer service in the age of self-service is all about setting the right priorities. With the hope of keeping up with the trends for relevancy, brands and businesses need not steer away from their cost, profits and resource management goals. That’s the core objective of reimagining customer self-service using Voice AI. Brands across industries can supercharge their CX with befitting self-service strategies to be more result-oriented and insight-driven to add a competitive edge. 

Our reflections for the future—customers never settle and self-service alone is not enough! Therefore, we believe Voice AI is the most robust and well-rounded technology to improve customer support capabilities that go beyond conventional contact centers, adding a desired level of autonomy and self-sufficiency in customer service. 

Refer to our Voice AI page for more information on actively engaging with your customers and unlocking the power of self-service.  Book a demo with one of our expertswww.skit.ai 

Understanding the Significance of ‘Platform’ in a Voice AI Solution 

We are at the initial stages of Voice AI’s evolution, in an epoch where well-functioning vertical Voice AI solutions will be instrumental in helping companies transform customer support and gain customer loyalty. But to a significant faction of CXOs, the understanding of Voice AI technology, its capabilities, and nuances remain obscure. Our earlier articles have tried to elucidate voice technology and how it can prove instrumental in transforming contact centers. In this article, we further that conversation and move on from discussing the Voice AI ‘product’ to the ‘platform’ and why companies looking to automate their contact centers must consider platform capabilities as a factor that will impact their long-term success.

The platform question holds greater gravitas when the top priorities are ROI, time-to-live, control over performance, and market leadership. In this blog, we deep dive into the core questions: what does a Voice AI platform look like, why does having a capable platform matter, and what are its far-reaching implications?

A Deep Dive: Unique Advantages of a Voice-first Voice AI Vendor 

Why Having a State-of-the-art Platform Matters

Today, voice technology has advanced sufficiently to deliver intelligent voice conversations. The wait is finally over, and companies can transform their CX with voice-first Augmented Voice Intelligence platforms.

Voice AI is the most significant automation trend of 2022.

Here are a few core considerations that CXOs must deliberate over while evaluating a Voice AI solution:

  • Intent Accuracy
  • Speed or Latency
  • Time-to-Live
  • First Call Resolution Rates
  • Integration Capabilities
  • Data Security, Privacy, and Storage

Know more about KPIs while deciding on a vendor

Even coming to the correct conclusion about a Voice AI vendor capabilities is not easy. But let’s assume the product is good, but before signing up, look into the vendor’s platform capability. It is the next big and most important task because, in the long run, the performance will depend mainly on the platform’s capabilities.

Explore More: The Ultimate Voice AI Vendor Selection Guide

Before we go deep into the topic, let us, distinguish a product from a platform. 

  • A product is essentially an application that solves a specific use case.
  • The Platform is the underlying structure that provides the core building blocks and the infrastructure for the functioning of one or many products.

In other words, a platform is an enabling environment over which many products run. The architecture of a chat-first voice-capable platform will be very different from that of a voice-first platform because the latter is built and optimized for voice, giving it a distinct performance edge. Here is a glimpse of a purpose-built Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform:

The Platform View of a Vertical Voice AI Company

From the above diagram one thing comes out clearly: that for smooth functioning of a Voice AI solution, its various constituent parts must work in perfect synchronicity. Hence, beyond the product, i.e., the voicebot, various other platform features are needed for an ideal Voice AI solution.

Let’s deep dive to answer the questions: why should companies look for platform capabilities in their potential Voice AI vendor?

At the core of this issue is the increasing realization that voice as a medium of customer support will see an irreversible rise in the coming years, led by Voice AI technology. In the long run, any company that wants a firm hold on its market share or leadership must look into the Platform capability of its Voice AI vendor to enhance the probability of sustainable success and competitive advantage. Here are the five core advantages of a robust Voice AI platform:

  1. Long-Term Success: The performance, strength, and sophistication of the Platform, not the product, determines the success of the company in the long run. Choosing the right Platform will help contact centers mitigate the risk of changing the vendor and starting from scratch mid-course.
  2. Replicating Platform Technology is Challenging: Platforms can not be built  overnight. Creating a state-of-the-art platform technology takes vision, resources, capability, and time. Over time the benefits multiply due to network effect and learning curve advantages associated with AI models. This initial advantage creates a remarkable difference as years add on.
  3. Leveraging Modularity: A robust platform always aces modularity as it provides diverse and latest technology options for contact centers to create their solution the way they want. It allows for ease and diversity of integrations. This gives the company flexibility in cherrypicking integrations.
  4. Multiplier Effect: In the extended run, contact centers, Voice AI providers, and other application providers benefit from a robust platform as it harnesses the multiplier effect by leveraging the presence of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of third-party vendors. So, any company using the platform to deploy a voicebot will have not only a multitude of choices, but they will also benefit from the innovation they bring in, as it can be easily incorporated into their voicebot. 
  5. Faster and Agile: A strong Voice AI platform will make it easy for companies to create and upgrade their voicebots. Reduction in time-to-go-live and ease of creating, maintaining, and enhancing the voicebot makes it easy to change and maximize its effectiveness. 

Here are some of the capabilities of an evolving Voice AI platform:

  • A Unified View: It should give a unified view of the entire voicebot, from stats on conversational design to integration to ASR.
  • Voicebot Creation: It must allow companies to create conversational flows and test and deploy them with minimal help from the Voice AI vendor.
  • Collaboration: It must allow the users to collaborate and comment at any point of voicebot creation.
  • Enhancements and Testing: Changes in policy, customer preferences, or offers must reflect changes in conversational design. The users must be able to easily do these upgrades and modifications and test them before deployment.
  • Campaign Management:  The effectiveness of the voicebot depends on the capability of the user to run campaigns with complete control. It must allow them to upload data, run campaigns, and modify them real-time. 
  • A Wide Range of Tools and Integrations: Creating a voicebot with autonomy requires giving a choice of a wide range of tools. A robust platform would provide that to its users along with a great variety of integrations.

A Voice AI vendor can have a great product and a short time to market. But if it is missing a great platform, then, in the long run, its clients will lose their competitive advantages. A CXO can indirectly identify the signs of a weak platform. Here are a few major red flags of a weak platform:

  1. Opaque: The creation of the voicebot will be opaque to the contact center.
  2. No Clear Visibility:  The elementary constitution of the voicebot and its functioning will have no visibility.
  3. Lack of Agility: For every minor tweak, the user must catch hold of the engineering team to code and execute the change. This is a waste of time, resources, and money.
  4. Operational Friction: Constant and copious communication between the user and the Voice AI vendor will decelerate the pace of implementation of changes. 
  5. Slower and Patchy Delivery/Updates: Delays in deployment, updates, and upgrades
  6. Absence of a Marketplace Advantage: A robust platform grows rapidly, and with its growth comes the network effect, i.e. the presence of third-party solutions that can augment performance in many dimensions.
  7. Lack of Control on Quality: Giving absolute control over the creation and deployment of the voicebot helps the users engage more deeply with their voicebot and mold it with their vision. The outcomes are much better and are sustained for a longer period.

Some great ways to identify these telltale signs is to engage in a free-of-cost pilot or to ask relevant questions during detailed demos.

The essential thing is, a Voice AI vendor must possess a great product that can converse intelligently with consumers or callers. Additionally, this product must be facilitated by a robust underlying platform that enhances its capabilities, adding to the overall experience of creating, deploying, and improving the voicebot.

To learn more about Voice AI solution and what it can do for a contact center, book a consultation now: www.skit.ai 

Why Every Company Must Have a Voice

Voice AI is one of the most transformative and consequential technologies for Generation Alpha—the first generation raised with voice assistants and unaccustomed to life without them.

The Internet is dazzling with data and stories on how businesses and consumers 

are embracing voice technology; no wonder smart speakers are the fastest-growing consumer technology since smartphones. We are witnessing a voice revolution, as the cutting-edge Voice AI is reinventing the way we shop, and seek customer support. Voice AI will also fuel our undisputed robot-centric future in which the younger generation will converse with smart devices to learn, the elderly will voice-command diagnostic devices, and enterprises will deploy Voice AI agents to answer every customer call.

The Potential Impact: 

A Forbes report revealed that major publishers lost as much as $46,000 a day — for a total of $17 million in 2019 due to the failure of common voice assistants to identify the books consumers intended to purchase. The report makes three things very evident:

  • The voice support stakes are high
  • Disruption is evident
  • Voice-first solutions with cutting-edge capabilities are becoming the need of the hour

With the rapid penetration of edge computing, voice will be used to communicate with IoT, smart devices, and other innovative applications. Business leaders must consider – how the voice movement will affect customers’ support expectations, and the way they interact and shop. And how should their businesses, in turn, reinvent themselves?

Voice truly offers a blue ocean of possibilities!

The Rise of Vertical Voice AI Support and Troubleshooting

A significant transformation is currently taking place on the business side. Every customer call is a chance to either strengthen the relationship with the brand or repair it; Voice AI is empowering companies to answer and resolve every query and develop that much-needed bond with consumers.

Voice AI is enabling call center voice automation – that means answering customer queries in a multi-turn, intelligent conversation without human agent intervention.

The impact is significant in terms of cost, productivity, performance, agility, and top and bottom lines. There is an incredible potential for Voice AI support. Here are a few prominent examples of outcomes contact centers have been able to achieve:

  • 70% automation of customer support efforts
  • 40% reduction in average handling time
  • CSAT scores of over 4.0
  • 50% reduction in operational cost
  • Better CX with 24/7 intelligent support
  • Better customer loyalty due to proper support throughout the customer life cycle 

Organizations can also analyze call center recordings to look for sentiment and tone, deploy voice-enabled surveys, and more. Voice is therefore a treasure trove of value and competitive advantage. 

Voice-First Technology and its Cross-Industry Ripples 

By 2023, nearly 80% of consumer apps will be developed with a “voice-first” philosophy, according to Gartner’s AI and ML Development Strategies Study. This marks a significant shift towards placing voice capabilities at the center of every customer interaction.

Every industry, from gaming to tourism has seen the adoption of  Voice AI. 

Banking:

Several banks are shifting to Voice AI-powered automation for 24/7 intelligent customer support at a fraction of the cost. Even the debt collection space is seeing a rapid uptick in adoption. Big names such as Capital One, Barkleys, and others have been using Voice AI for support. Various large Indian banks in NBFCs are also leveraging the technology for cost-effective and 24/7 customer support. Many smaller players are also adopting Voice AI and have seen remarkable business outcomes.

Consumer Durables: 

CX rules this industry. Millions of customer support calls are made every day. The cost of the support has constantly been rising and consumer durable companies have been scouting for an ideal solution. Many voice AI companies have adopted Voice AI, with huge success. Voice AI has delivered true 24/7 support through intelligent conversations that are cost-effective. With rising use cases such as – inbound call support, feedback and reminder calls, product update calls, and more; Voice AI will see a substantial increase in adoption.

Healthcare

Today, Voice AI is helping adults–in nursing homes and senior living facilities–manage loneliness, isolation, and depression. It is helping patients with Parkinson’s with exercise regimes (Triad Health AI); even ambulances in New England have gone voice-first, eliminating paperwork during emergencies.

Automotive:

The automotive industry is much more voice-first, with all major players from Ford, and BMW to Tesla offering voice assistance. 77 million adults in the U.S. use voice assistants in the car, compared to 45 million adults using in-home smart speakers. With cars increasingly becoming tech-driven, automotive companies will use voice AI more aggressively as the preferred modality of choice.

This is essentially a laundry list; from hospitality to space, voice is all the rage.

The Rise of Smaller, Secure, and Specialized Vertical Voice AI Companies

Google Assistant or Alexa are not the only choices; companies, in addition, prefer small companies with voice tech that supports multi-turn conversations along with a tighter security architecture. Also, when it comes to effectiveness, many Vertical Voice AI vendors specializing in niche use cases outperform tech giants. Debt collection, feedback, rescheduling flights, answering customer FAQs, or sending reminders, new voice AI startups are moving the needle in a big way.

What makes voice appealing: 

  • User Experience and Satisfaction: Nothing comes close to an intelligent and quick conversation that sorts out problems. If a Voice AI-powered agent can work with subtle nuances, and behavior modification to match customer personality, well, customer delight is unparalleled. 
  • It is Faster and Natural:  Not only is speaking natural, it is 3-times faster than typing. Many companies, across industries, have been able to reduce the average handling time of support calls by 40%. Virgin Trains, UK, for instance, reduced their average booking time to 2 minutes from 7 minutes with Voice AI.  
  • It’s frictionless: Instead of opening different apps for different needs; with voice, everything is just an utterance away.
  • It is Your Intelligent and Always-on Mate: New innovations are changing the way products are sold. Talk to a virtual assistant/agent when you drop by your liquor store and Voice AI will help you select wine. British alcohol beverage company, Diageo innovated by investing in voice-led applications and Alexa skills, The Bar. It is created to serve as a user’s personal bartender by recommending cocktail recipes and teaching mixologist techniques. Reimagination is already making its way.
  • Multi-modal Voice Experience: With voice at its center, the future is multimodal. Consumers can use voice commands while they are shopping via TVs or an Alexa device with a screen.

Here are some big challenges retailers and customers will face with voice:

  • Data Privacy. When businesses use Alexa or Google Assistant, in essence, they are giving them access to their offering and that is compelling competitive intelligence. Other challenges such as cloning and data can be mitigated with proper regulations in place.

  • Browsing Difficulty. It is easier to go through a list of search results on a screen, making common product research challenging with voice. But hybrid devices such as smart devices with screens, or navigating shopping with voice on TV can notch up the CX further. 
  • Information Availability: To shop or engage with a brand it is essential to know if it is available in the 3rd party ecosystem. The lack of options/info is a challenge. 
  • Technological Capabilities: Tech is still evolving, and quite a few challenges hamper the experience. Noisy environments, varied accents, pronunciation, languages, and dialects are common challenges that impact conversation quality. On the tech front – barge-in capability, advanced paralinguistic capabilities, processing speeds, and a lot more are required to have enjoyable, human-like conversations.

But even with these given challenges, the strides of voice tech are giant and brisk.

Looking Ahead

Given the ubiquitous nature of voice tech applications, organizations must think of creating a voice interface to cover all of their customer touchpoints. Be voice-ready on smart speakers, voice assistants, websites, apps, customer support, and even in-store experiences. Create a voice that is always present to help your customer; it will help your company be present in new avenues to serve, personalize, and leverage data.

Every company must have a voice!

To learn more about Voice AI and the significance of Voice in coming years book a consultation: www.skit.ai