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The Advantages of an AI-powered Two-way SMS Conversations over One-way SMS

In the debt collection industry, where effective communication is paramount, adopting innovative technologies like two-way SMS AI bots can revolutionize your approach. Traditional methods, such as one-way text blasts, may have their merits, but the advantages of a two-way texting service are increasingly apparent.

While recognizing the fact that, for effective collection, each communication channel is here to stay, what is important to realize is that each channel undergoes a natural evolution toward enhancement. Take voice communication, for instance, which has progressed from manual dialing to predictive dialing and eventually embraced AI-voice agents for automated consumer interactions.

While SMS has traditionally served as a tool for one-way communication, technological advancements highlight significant potential for improvement. Globally, companies are now shifting from conventional one-way SMS blasts to more intelligent and interactive two-way SMS communication.

In this article, our aim is to explore the evolution occurring within the SMS/text channel. We’ll delve into the differences between the established method of one-way blasts and the emerging trend of two-way messaging. Through this exploration, we aim to provide insight into the functionalities of each approach, offering valuable perspectives for businesses navigating their communication strategies.

Use Cases for One-way SMS

One-way SMS have their place.

One way SMS blast has been historically used to send messages to a large audience at once without expecting or attending to any response to the communication and mainly used the channel as a reminder. This is typically helpful in a use-case where you don’t need any response or the cost of not responding is not too high and is used for record-keeping. For example, the one-way SMS is good for relaying transaction information back to the consumer after they make the payment. 

The Limitations of One-way SMS 

However, these one-way blasts lack potential for the collection use case. With one-way messages, we expect debtors to pay (often when they are not yet ready). Consumers who are not prepared to pay can’t ask questions or respond in any other way but click a link or ignore the text or call a number back.

For debt collection, the intention is to get some action from the consumer and move them closer to the payment. One-way SMS is not effective here as it does not recognize and respond to the consumers seeking help.

As such, the only way to measure ROI with one-way text messaging is to count clicks and opt-puts. But a two-way texting service offers you another way to measure ROI – engagement.

The Evolution of Two-Way SMS Conversations

Initially, companies used two-way text messaging to engage consumers directly, but the manual nature of responding to each message proved time-consuming. However, the integration of AI in two-way messaging has transformed the landscape, allowing for automated responses and significantly reducing the burden on the floor collection teams.

The Paradigm Shift: Two-Way SMS AI Bots

Enter two-way SMS messaging with AI-driven capabilities—a game-changer for debt collection agencies. Unlike one-way blasts that focus solely on pushing information, two-way SMS allows consumers to engage in a more conversational manner, akin to texting a friend.

These AI bots enable consumers to ask questions, seek clarifications, or discuss potential payment plans directly through text messages.

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Shifting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): From Transactions to Engagement

In contrast to the limited choices consumers have with one-way messages—pay, ignore, or opt-out—two-way SMS AI bots introduce a broader spectrum of interactions. consumers can not only make payments but also inquire about their outstanding balance, discuss financial hardships, or negotiate payment terms. This shift in KPIs from transactions to engagement offers debt collection agencies a more comprehensive measure of success.

Compliance

We’ve integrated SMS into our comprehensive omni-channel compliance layer, ensuring cross-channel compliance. Our AI capabilities enable the bot to discern intent, eliminating the reliance on the traditional OPT-OUT keyword typically used in one-way SMS blasts. This enhances compliance beyond the standard SMS blast approach.

Important Assessment Criteria

Although numerous vendors provide 2-way SMS conversation bots, companies should assess services based on their conversational capabilities. Consumers favor systems that offer more flexibility in conversation, as opposed to restrictive ones that limit responses to specific keywords. Imagine being constrained to respond using only predefined terms.

Two-way SMS AI bots empower debt collection agencies to achieve long-term ROI by not only facilitating payments but also addressing consumer concerns, gathering feedback, and enhancing overall customer satisfaction. The ability to retain consumer engagement over time opens avenues for targeted communications, promotions, and personalized interactions.

In Conclusion

While one-way text blasts have their place in debt collection, embracing the potential of two-way SMS AI bots is crucial for staying competitive and maximizing results. Authentic engagement, powered by AI-driven conversations, holds the key to fostering positive consumer relationships and achieving sustainable success in the debt collection industry.


Mail us at info@skit.ai to book a demo or learn more about Skit.ai’s Conversational AI solutions.

Roundtable on AI in Debt Collections: The Experts’ Predictions

Some technological tools and solutions, once adopted, become a seemingly indispensable part of a company’s operations, to the point that it’s hard to remember how things were before the advent of these technologies. The integration of artificial intelligence and large-language models appears poised to follow a similar trajectory across various industries, including the accounts receivables sector.

The debt collections industry has traditionally been slower at adopting new technologies in the past—likely due to the strict regulatory landscape and the nature of the industry itself. But a notable shift seems to be underway. We are seeing so many collections executives and companies proactively engage with AI providers, eagerly trying to figure out how different AI solutions can simplify processes and save them money.

At Skit.ai, we recently sponsored a webinar hosted by Accounts Recovery on this very topic. The quotes in this article are excerpts from the webinar; you can watch the recording to listen to the entire conversation and get the full context. The experts who spoke are Brandon Huisman of State Collection Service, Nate Kalnins of The Stark Agency, John Kelan of Hunter Warfield, Jeremy Mapes of Mapes Consulting, Alec Tilley of Goal Solutions, and Amit Ambre of Skit.ai

How AI Is Changing the Way We Collect Debts

Voice AI adding self-service option and preventing volume handling challenges: “One thing we’ve seen on the Voice AI front is putting self-service on the forefront, and yet, offering that smart call routing back to the call center where it’s needed. So rather than clogging up the inbound lines, Voice AI allows the caller to really navigate and self-serve and hopefully prevent a phone call to the call center.” — Brandon Huisman of State Collection Service.

A more effective and efficient workflow: “Letting the Interactive Virtual Assistant (or Voice AI solution) handle the bulk of the conversations and prescreen interest for resolution, especially on low-scored accounts so that the agents can shift more towards helping the people that want to be helped and have a much more effective and efficient workflow in general. We’re also seeing benefits a little bit less directly operationally, but also in the way that the collection departments are being managed, like using transcription tools to create meeting minutes and direct takeaways to take stakeholders in different departments or even generating SOPs and things like that via loom and screen recorders, where you can dictate exactly what you’re doing and have that transcribed into something that essentially serves as a readymade SOP to make our processes more repeatable and easily trainable.” — Nate Kalnins of The Stark Agency.

Filling the staffing gap left by COVID-19: “You could go on Google right now and you’d find easily 25, 30 different types of AI groups. Additionally, during COVID-19 and afterward, a lot of agencies have been challenged with finding employees, so they’ve been looking for what to do. AI is starting to fill a large part of that gap, besides just the outsourcing that they might potentially do. I think the opportunities are limitless.” — Jeremy Mapes of Mapes Consulting.

Finding the right combination and calibration between channels: “I think the next bit will be trying to find the sweet spot across all the multiple tools and all the multiple AI platforms and figuring out how to maximize them for your own use case and your own kind of debt.” — Amit Ambre.

Are Machines Ever Replacing Collectors?

Don’t forget consumers’ preferences: “I don’t think we’ll ever fully replace humans doing the job, nor should we. I think we would be foolish to not account for consumer preference. And there will always be consumers that prefer to deal face-to-face or directly with a person. At the end of the day, I still think that skilled labor is a precious resource and one that we can use to differentiate the quality of the services we provide. So, we tend to view Interactive Virtual Assistants (IVAs) and bots as something that we can use to scale our services without adding additional staff and lean more on developing the skillsets and retaining the staff that we do have.” — Nate Kalnins of The Stark Agency.

How is AI changing the agents’ skills? “The question is not just the percentage [of work that is being automated with AI], but what is the agent skillset that’s required afterward? So if the AI is handling a lot of easier tasks, does that mean that the agents have to be higher-skilled and have more training and more access to information for more complicated use cases that aren’t easily handled by technology? I think that’s likely.” — Alec Tilley of Goal Solutions.

The industry is constantly evolving: “I definitely don’t think we’ll ever be able to get to 100% reliance on AI, but I think definitely 80-90%, I could see feasible. Even looking at right now versus a year ago, how much is in this industry that wasn’t there before. It’s evolving constantly. There are more vendors out there. The price points are coming down. It’s easier for companies like us to get these types of technologies in place. If we can manage 80% of our business with AI, I think that’s a huge win for the industry, but I think there will always be a place for the reps themselves in our business.” — Brandon Huisman of State Collection Service.

What Will the Industry Look Like 5 Years from Now?

Ask the tough questions: “Fundamentally, we have to ask ourselves: What problems can we foresee that exist today that would also be a problem five years from now? I think you just have to pose some questions that you think will be there in the next two to three years and ask yourself, why are you trying to solve these with technology? You have to weigh out the pros and cons of using it based on cost, FTE changes, and shifting culture. Those types of things are what weigh on us when we’re looking at any kind of new products, like chatbots. When we were first trying to determine why we would want a chatbot during operational hours, [we] realized there are a lot of repetitive things that chat agents have to go through constantly, that are just basically a copy-and-paste or a quick-link response. So you start saying, what if we start hitting off that at the forefront? What technology can you bring on today that you can evolve over that next period to hopefully help you combat what might still be there in the near future?” — John Kelan of Hunter Warfield.

Don’t wait for the perfect solution: “If you wait until the perfect solution exists—one; you might be left behind. And two; when it presents itself, you may be knowledge-deficient because it’s just so overwhelming. There’s so much to bring on that you’re not in a good position to bring it on and use its full capabilities responsibly. So for us, it’s more [about] constant progress and really understanding how this works and tailoring and how we can use it for our use cases.” — Nate Kalnins of The Stark Agency.

Investing Time and Resources to Implement New Tools

Plan short and long-term: “You can’t just assume that you’re just going to buy something and turn it on out of the box. I think it’s cool that you can do some things in two to three months, but I would view this as a car you’re going to be driving for a long time and have resources that are constantly pushing towards using these tools, more and more. Can you get up and running in a few months with a flat-file kind of situation? Sure. But then how do you get better API integration? How do you add more use cases? How do you figure out why they’re calling in the first place? I think the right approach is a long-term commitment with some resources dedicated to it.” — Alec Tilley of Goal Solutions.

Try with pre-set models. “Solutions like Skit.ai have pre-set models that can be used; so that’s a very short time to go live. I know a lot of us in the industry like to see anything that we’re testing, anything that’s new, be out there for six months to a year just because we don’t want to be the first ones to get sued. I think the Voice AI solutions that are coming up now, they’ve been out there for six months to a year; so you can trim that down.” — Jeremy Mapes of Mapes Consulting.

What’s Your Vision for the Future of Collections?

Meet every consumer’s preferences: “The vision we’re focusing on is being able to have a seamless interaction with a consumer using the channel of their choice and the technology of their choice. We just want the consumer to be able to have, 24/7/365, any tool, any technology to allow them to resolve their debt with the simplest, least complicated process possible. It also to take some of the repetitiveness or the stressfulness off the agents.” John Kelan of Hunter Warfield.

AI will become the baseline expectation: “We see, among our clients, a tremendous interest in these same topics we’re discussing here. And many of them have already deployed this type of technology themselves. So they’re looking long and hard at it, and at some point, it’s going to become the expectation [to offer] those seamless interactions for consumers – that’s just the baseline expectation and no longer a differentiating factor of work.” — Nate Kalnins of The Stark Agency.

Focus on alignment: “At the end of the day, from a collection agency perspective, the three stakeholders are obviously your clients, the consumers you are interacting with, and your agents. Irrespective of whether with AI or without AI, we need to ensure that there’s an alignment in terms of the results that we want to achieve for all three different stakeholders. In terms of AI, the whole perspective has to be how things can work together to ensure that you make this experience as smooth and as easy for the stakeholders as possible.” — Amit Ambre of Skit.ai.


Want to learn more about Conversational AI and how it can benefit your business? Use the chat tool below to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts!

What Is Call Automation and How Can It Impact Debt Collections?

Let’s face it: debt collection agencies often sit on high-volume portfolios of accounts, as they lack the capabilities and resources to contact all consumers in a timely manner. Ultimately, some agencies give up on reaching all those accounts to focus solely on the larger ones.

ARM companies usually handle thousands of new accounts each month, but many of those accounts might be left untouched due to the lack of bandwidth. For each account, agents need to establish right-party contact (RPC), remind the customer of their outstanding balance, and offer ways to help them pay off their debt, such as a payment plan. More often than not, customers are not available right away, and the agent has to call them back at a different time.

What if I told you that you could automate this entire process?

Yes, you heard that right. A conversational voice AI solution can handle your collection calls on your behalf. In this article, we’ll explain how this type of solution works.

What Is Call Automation?

Nowadays, 88% of consumers expect organizations to offer a self-service support portal. Contact centers in all industries — from banking to e-commerce and, of course, accounts receivable management (ARM) — are turning to automation as a strategy to overcome the challenges of managing both inbound and outbound calls with customers.

In this rapid-changing environment, marked by the surge of generative AI, conversational AI has emerged as a key debt collection software to solve automation challenges. These tools are capable of handling conversations with consumers from start to finish, without the need for any human intervention.

Voice AI technologies may sound “new” to you today, but they are set to become the industry standard in the collections and payments space within a few years. Early adopters are already reaping the benefits as they are ahead of the learning curve.

When they hear “call automation,” many people tend to think of IVR (interactive voice response) systems. Think, “To make a payment, press 1…” In recent years, voice automation, AI, and speech recognition technologies have significantly evolved, also with the emergence of conversational voice AI and large language models, delivering a much more sophisticated technology than IVR. You can think of IVR as the “grandfather” of voice AI.

A conversational voice AI platform delivers a human-feeling and effective two-way conversation with a consumer, answering questions and providing context-specific information.

Once you upload data for a collection campaign, the solution can initiate thousands of calls to consumers, establishing RPC and reminding them of their outstanding balances; the solution then helps them pay via select payment gateways or negotiates a payment plan.

What Does an Automated Collection Call Sound Like?

Because Skit.ai’s technology is powered by AI, no interaction will be identical to the other; every customer is different, and each call is personalized. The technology is built to handle a natural-sounding back-and-forth conversation with the consumer following their responses, cues, and questions ad hoc.

If you want to learn more about our approach to customer experience (CX) and how we build a persona for our voice AI solution, read our article about how Skit.ai elevates CX in collection calls.

The voice AI platform handles these scenarios:

Is an AI-powered Collector Compliant?

Compliance is one of the most common pain points and concerns for executives working in collections. There are many regulations at both federal and state levels, and sometimes consumers may file lawsuits against ARM companies, causing major expenses on the agencies’ part. Additionally, regulations often change, and collectors sometimes struggle to keep up with the new developments.

Skit.ai’s conversational voice AI solution fully complies with the current laws and regulations related to collections and phone calls, such as Reg F, the TCPA, and more. We ensure that the solution initiates calls only at the permitted times of the day and within the correct frequency. We prioritize information security; we have, among others, ISO 27001:2013 and PCI DSS certifications and use AES-256 encryption.

It’s actually easier to ensure that an AI solution rigorously complies with regulatory requirements; this is because the solution:

  • never goes off-script
  • always provides identity disclaimers
  • only calls customers at permitted times
  • always honors do-not-call registries
  • never resorts to threats or aggressive language.

Do you want to learn more about call automation for collections and payments? Are you looking to adopt a Conversational AI solution for your business? Schedule a call with one of our experts by using the chat tool below!

Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform Takes a Giant Leap with Generative AI

Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice AI Platform is now powered by Generative AI. With the incorporation of Generative AI, we are taking a giant step forward and boosting the capabilities of our Conversational Voice AI solution. The interactions with consumers are about to become more natural-sounding and complex, leading to an improvement in customer experience (CX) and better results for collection agencies using Voice AI.

At Skit.ai, we embrace the future and go beyond industry standards and expectations.

How Generative AI Impacts the Capabilities of Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform

With the ongoing application of large language models (LLMs), we are seeing a big jump in the conversational capabilities of our solution:

Higher Conversational Accuracy: LLMs are capable of understanding consumer interactions through an improved understanding of context, sentence parsing, and response accuracy, leading to significantly higher conversational accuracy.

Better Handling of Complex Conversations: Generative AI enables our voicebots to better handle more complex interactions that were earlier escalated to human agents. This improvement can reduce the percentage of call transfers from the Voice AI solution to the company’s human agents.

Out-of-scope Calls: The LLM’s ability to grasp a wide range of questions and topics enables our voicebots to better handle out-of-scope utterances and calls.

Natural Utterances: The Voice AI solution is able to express a wide variety of natural-sounding utterances that improve the quality of the interaction.

Faster Voicebot Creation: Incorporating Generative AI give a big boost to the speed at which new voicebots can be created as the inherent complexity and effort involved in the design, and creation is a fraction of earlier effort.

Massive Performance Gains with Generative AI Springboard

In addition to the massive gains we are seeing thanks to LLMs, we intend to take this exercise even further and enable our voicebots to outperform human agents and collectors.

Going Beyond Human Agent Performance

An agent’s performance rests on two things: the ability to communicate and technical skills. At Skit.ai, we’ve seen that, with current LLMs, we can achieve superlative communication skills, and by training extensively with end-user data, we can achieve a high degree of technical skills. Hence our solution can excel on both fronts.

To share a rough estimate: the best-performing agent finds success on 5% of the calls (out of all connected calls), while low performers convert about 2% of the calls.

With Generative AI, we take a big jump. From the current voicebot conversion capability of around 1-2%, we expect the performance to jump 3-4 folds. Beyond this, our Reinforcement Learning platform learns from outcomes to personalize the conversation to figure out the ideal strategies, learning from thousands of daily conversations.

Better and More Natural Spoken Conversations

Generative AI, with its unparalleled conversational capabilities, needs to be complemented with equally capable speech synthesis and understanding systems that produce the right speech given the output from LLMs. And that is one of the major areas from the many below:

  • A more natural-sounding TTS (text-to-speech) voice
  • Conversational context handling prosody of generated audio
  • Full duplex and backchannels in speech conversations

Ultimately, we will be able to deliver the most engaging conversations that delight consumers by solving their problems faster and better than human agents.

The Business Outcomes of Incorporating Generative AI

Below are five major impact areas we will move the needle on:

Higher Collection Rate, ~5%: This is a difficult number to quantify, but as the incorporation of Generative AI matures, we expect its collection capability to move beyond 5%, surpassing even the best of human agents.

Lower Agent Dependency, reduction by 50-80%: As the voicebot will be able to handle more complex queries, we expect a 50-80% reduction in agent touch points.

Higher Resolution Rate, ~100%: Better accuracy and conversations with higher engagement will help us achieve a conversational resolution rate close to 100%.

Creating New Voicebots: The effort to create new voicebots will see a significant dip, as the complexity will be remarkably lower.

Entering New Markets with Ease, 15X faster: Entering new markets and training for new use cases and applications will require less effort and resources. We are estimating the process to be 15X faster.

What’s Next

Though the improvements in our Augmented Voice Intelligent Platform are visible and clear, we will further our efforts to achieve greater performance gains and stay ahead of the curve.

To learn more about how Voice AI can help support your collection efforts through call automation, schedule a call with one of our experts using the chat tool below.

An Unbiased Look into the Positive Side of Voice AI

Artificial intelligence is experiencing exponential innovation. Generative AI, ChatGPT, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and other AI models have captured popular attention, but they have also raised serious questions about the issue of ethics in machine learning (ML).

AI can make several micro-decisions that impact such real-world macro-decisions as authorization for a bank loan or be accepted as a potential rental applicant. Because the consequences of AI can be far-reaching, its implementers must ensure that it works responsibly. While algorithmic models do not think like humans, humans can easily and even unintentionally introduce preferences (biases) into AI during development and updates.

Ethics and Bias in Voice AI

Voice AI shares the same core ethical concerns as AI in general, but because voice closely mimics human speech and experience, there is a higher potential for manipulation and misrepresentation. Also, people tend to trust things with a voice, including friendly interfaces like Alexa and Siri. 

Call automation for call centers and businesses is not a new concept. Unlike computerized auto dealers (pre-recorded voice messages) like Robocall, Skit.ai’s Voice AI solution is capable of intelligent conversations with a real consumer in real-time. In other words, Voice AIs are your company representatives. And just like your human representatives, you want to ensure your AI is trained in and acts in line with company values and displays a professional code of conduct. 

Human agents and AI systems at any given point should not treat consumers differently for reasons unrelated to their service. But depending on the dataset, the system might not provide a consistent experience. For example, more males calling a call center might result in a gender classifier biased against female speakers. And what happens when biases, including those against regional speech and slang, sneak into voice AI interactions? 

In contrast to human agents, who might sometimes unintentionally display biases, Voice AI follows a predetermined, inclusive script while strictly adhering to guidelines that prioritize consumer satisfaction and compliance. This level of professionalism eliminates the potential for misbehavior and creates a positive consumer experience. 

Our team is always potentially looking out for any potential bias that accidentally seeps in, as ‘biases’ as constantly evolving. One thing can be acceptable today, but may bee seen as a bias tomorrow. At Skit.ai our skilled team of dedicated designers meticulously construct the dialogue patterns to guarantee balanced responses. Following these predefined scripts allows our Voice AI solution to offer consistent, unbiased interactions, thus establishing an inclusive user experience. This emphasis on conversation design aids us in overcoming potential biases that may surface in human interactions, thus securing a more balanced and impartial user experience.

Consumer Convenience and the Growing Preference for Voice AI

Consumers increasingly prefer interacting with Voice AI rather than human agents due to the convenience it offers. Voice AI allows users to communicate naturally through voice commands, eliminating the need to type or navigate complex menus. This convenience aligns with the preferences of many individuals who find it easier and more natural to speak rather than type. Furthermore, Voice AI is available 24/7, providing round-the-clock support without the need to wait for human agents. 

This instant access to information and assistance enhances consumer satisfaction and can lead to faster issue resolution. Additionally, voice interactions can be personalized and tailored to individual preferences, creating a more personalized and engaging consumer experience. The convenience and preference for voice-based interactions make Voice AI a valuable tool for meeting consumer expectations.

Building Ethical Voice AI 

Empathetic conversational design eliminates bias. At Skit.ai, we’re dedicated to developing leading-edge Voice AI technology. Our mission is to facilitate communication that is equitable and devoid of bias. Through conversational design, biases are eliminated, ensuring fair and inclusive interactions. A significant part of our strategy involves refining the conversational capabilities of our systems, striving for a natural, seamless exchange of speech that ensures equal treatment for all and eradicates discriminatory tendencies. As we navigate the future of work, Voice AI stands as a valuable tool, empowering enhanced communication, fostering seamless consumer conversations, and further elevating customer satisfaction.

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.

Entering a New Era of Debt Collections with Conversational Voice AI

Debt collection companies have been automating various parts of their operations, much like companies in other industries. However, one of their core problems—the inability to automate complex conversations with consumers—has impacted their ability to solve their core challenges.

Connecting with consumers to recover payments is at the core of what a debt collection company does. According to a new survey by TransUnion and Datos, communicating with consumers is a top priority for collection agencies. A growing number of agencies are exploring new methods of communication for debt collection, focusing primarily on AI-powered chatbots and voicebots, as well as text messaging.

Conversational Voice AI, with its capability to automate collection calls, solves all significant challenges and ushers in a new era of debt collections. In this blog post, we’ll learn how this technology is dramatically changing the landscape of collections.

How is Voice AI Changing Debt Collections Forever?

100% Account Penetration: A Voice AI solution can initiate and handle millions of calls within minutes, covering an agency’s entire debt portfolio in an impressively short amount of time. This level of automation has never been possible until recently; it’s important to note that over a third of an agency’s files often remain untouched.

Less Dependence on Human Agents: It is hard to recruit a skilled collector, and having a consistent team that can scale up when needed has been extremely challenging for agencies, especially the smaller ones. AI provides the benefit of instant and infinite scalability, making the issue of staffing less concerning. Thanks to end-to-end automation of consumer calls, agencies can scale up and down as needed.

Augmenting Agent Productivity: Voice AI enables live agents to focus on more complex and revenue-generating tasks. Without call automation with Conversational AI, this would be impossible, as live agents would have to spend a lot of time establishing right-party contacts (RPC) and handling time-consuming, repetitive tasks that should be automated.

File Segmentation for Better Recovery: For the first time, collectors can now see the entire picture of their portfolio. As the Voice AI solution goes through the entire portfolio, collectors can see the set of right-party contacts (RPCs), the propensity to pay, and other crucial data that can inform a more strategic and data-driven recovery strategy, ultimately improving collections.

Remarkably Lower Collection Costs: Calls handled by Voice AI cost approximately one-third of a traditional collection call handled by a human agent.

Voice AI Comes with Other Remarkable Benefits. Here Are a Few: 

Lower Compliance and Legal Risk: Voice AI has the potential to improve compliance and reduce the risk of legal issues for agencies. The debt collection space is heavily regulated, and collectors must follow strict compliance rules. With our Augmented Voice Intelligence platform, compliance rules and guidelines such as call frequency, the Mini-Miranda, and other important regulations — both at the federal and state levels — are built into the technology to ensure the Voice AI solution follows them. Voice AI never goes off-script and never has a bad day, protecting both the consumers and the agencies.

Better Decision-making with Data Analytics: Artificial intelligence can analyze consumer data and make informed decisions on the best course of action. For example, Voice AI can use data on a consumer’s payment history, income, and expenses to determine the best payment plan for them. This data-driven approach can lead to more efficient and practical debt resolution outcomes and a better customer experience (CX).

Unprecedented Automation: One of the main benefits of Conversational Voice AI in debt collections is that it automates much of the manual work involved in the recovery process. Debt collectors can use Voice AI to automate tasks such as calling consumers, sending out payment reminders, and recording consumer interactions. This saves time and allows collectors to focus on more complex tasks, such as negotiating payment plans and resolving disputes.

How to Choose the Right Conversational Voice AI Solution Provider for Your Company

The most important thing to remember about a Voice AI solution is that it either works and satisfies the consumer, leading to positive outcomes and recovery, or it will lead to consumer frustration and significantly adverse outcomes. Hence the choice of vendor is highly vital. Here are a few things to consider:

Proven Track Record: To ensure a successful implementation, working with a Voice AI provider with a proven track record in the accounts receivables industry and who can provide a comprehensive and integrated solution is essential. Collection executives prefer to adopt solutions that have been in business in the accounts receivables industry for at least six months.

Ease of Integration: Another priority when implementing Voice AI in debt collections is ensuring the technology is integrated with existing systems and processes. The provider’s capability to integrate with existing systems and other vendors—such as payment gateways—is one of the significant factors that must be considered while selecting a Voice AI vendor.

Ease of Deployment and Use: One of the critical challenges in implementing Voice AI in debt collections is ensuring that the technology is user-friendly for debt collectors and consumers. Make sure that your vendor’s solution is easy to deploy and to use.

Speed of Deployment: The solution must be ready. No promise of building a solution in a few months should be considered, because no viable, working product is ready. Select a vendor who is ready to go live immediately after a series of well-defined tasks required on your end.

Positive Business Outcomes: Look at the results the AI vendors have been about to achieve in the recent past with companies similar to yours. See if these business outcomes and success metrics align with the outcomes you’re hoping to achieve.

Make the Right Choice 

Conversational AI technology is remarkable and has proved its worth in our industry and beyond. The only thing left for debt collectors is the selection of the right Voice AI vendor. Select the right vendor, and it will help you gain a competitive edge and show your tangible positive outcomes in a matter of weeks.

Voice AI technology is about to change debt collections forever; don’t miss out!


To learn more about how Voice AI can help solve your staffing challenges and improve your recovery strategy, use the chat tool below to schedule a call with one of our experts.

Voice AI: The Biggest Contact Center Automation Trend of 2023

The Ongoing Boom in Voice-led Technologies Across the Globe

Voice has always been the preferred means of communication for human beings. That’s why a shift toward voice-based technologies is making its way across generations and geographies, in particular when it comes to contact center automation trends.

In 2022, there were an estimated 123.5 million people using voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa in the United States. A survey conducted by Statista in early 2021 showed that nearly one in three (32%) U.S. consumers own a smart speaker. Consumers are using voice features for online searches, shopping, dictation, and more.

This phenomenon is noticeable across the globe. In India, for example, the number of people using voice queries on Google on a daily basis is nearly twice the global average. With higher consumer adoption of voice-led searches, the incorporation of voice technologies in CX strategies is now a business imperative.

A Deloitte study revealed that, by 2030, there will be a proliferation of voice-led technologies around the world, with 30% of sales happening via voice. Additionally, given the ongoing economic uncertainty, there is a risk in not investing in new technological capabilities during a downturn, as stressed by MIT research.

The Growing Challenges of Customer Support and CX

There is a growing demand for new voice-led solutions to deliver better customer experiences.

Until recently, IVR solutions and chatbots have played a central role while not excelling at CX. The traditional bottlenecks limit the ability of companies to properly serve their customers. Among these challenges, the scalability of support teams and cost issues are among the most pressing.

Given the plateaued capabilities of the legacy systems, companies have begun to pin their hopes on new technologies such as Voice AI, hoping to disrupt the status quo once and for all.

Here are some of the most common challenges contact centers are currently facing:

High attrition rates: Even the best contact centers are struggling to retain talent. Agents often quit due to frustration with their jobs or as soon as they are offered a better position elsewhere.

Scalability: Call volume fluctuates, going up and down depending on the season and demand for customer support. It’s very challenging for managers to scale their teams up and down according to these changes.

Weak Customer Experience (CX): The vast majority of consumers will confirm this — IVR is highly unpopular! IVR systems typically reroute customers through nightmarish flows, ending up with long wait times to speak with a live agent who can effectively solve the given problem.

High operational costs: Agent costs, infrastructure, talent hiring, training, and retention all add up, costing companies a fortune.

It’s not a surprise, therefore, that customer frustration is on the rise. Nearly 9 in 10 people say they prefer speaking to a live agent over the phone rather than navigating a pre-set menu (IVR), according to research by Clutch.

Contact Center Automation Trends: The Solutions Available Today

Here are the most prominent tech solutions available today for contact centers to automate their interactions with customers:

IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Systems: IVRs may have been game-changers when they were first introduced decades ago. Today, not so much. Most IVR systems are created to reduce call volumes or prevent callers from reaching a live agent. They do not easily differentiate between customers and their intent, leading to time-consuming flows and frustrating results. Additionally, confusing navigation menus and poor integration capabilities can lead to a big mess for the company. This is not to say that IVRs do not add value, but they do not contribute to a positive customer experience.

Chatbots: For companies looking for a cost-efficient solution, and companies whose products or services have a less linear user journey, chatbots can be an effective solution. Chatbots are particularly popular now because of the increasing demand for self-service customer support solutions. Additionally, they are easier to train than voice-based solutions, and they provide 24/7 customer support at a low cost. Chatbots can also work with audio and visual media.

However, also chatbots have their shortcomings. First of all, they miss out on two core pillars of customer experience—emotions and ease of use. It is impossible to convey emotions over text. Also, it can be challenging for many users to type repeatedly, especially if the users are not tech-savvy, older, or in atypical situations.

Voicebots: This solution, powered by Voice AI, can handle countless, human-like interactions simultaneously, enabling users to reach a time-sensitive resolution without the need to interact with a live agent. Voice AI agents, also known as Digital Voice Agents, are capable of authenticating users, looking up relevant information, and quickly resolving customer queries in just a few minutes.

Voice AI can handle many different tasks and use cases across industries—from changing a flight itinerary to booking a table at a restaurant, from filing a complaint to making an on-call payment; users can get the support they need without waiting in line while having to listen to some hideous tune.

While many people might confuse the two technologies, it’s important to remember that IVR and Voice AI are different technologies.

Augmented Voice Intelligence vs. Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa

Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are considered to be the gold standard for voice automation; yet, it’s important to remember that these technologies are built for one-turn, simple and generic interactions. All they do is answer a question or a request by the user. That is why they are not suitable for customer support, as it requires reliance on context and the ability to handle several turns of conversation.

Digital Voice Agents, powered by Voice AI, are trained for thousands of hours on specific customer issues. They are trained to understand the vocabulary, the decision process, and the solutions to offer. Unlike voice assistants, which are designed to provide a single answer to the user’s question, Digital Voice Agents can handle multiple rounds of questions and answers. These are ideal solutions for customer-centric companies.

Listen to Skit.ai’s Voice AI Agent In Action

Why Voice-led Solutions Will Transform Contact Center Automation

A Stanford Study revealed that speech recognition software writes text messages more quickly than thumbs, stressing the ease of voice-led conversations over typed exchanges.

Chatbots bundled with Automated Speech Regognition (ASR) technology are able to transcribe the user’s speech, but they can’t handle an actual conversation. When it comes to voice interactions, only voice-led solutions can provide the ultimate customer experience.

As organizations pour millions into automated voice support, they want their virtual agents to understand the semantics of a conversation—even sarcasm. Those subtle nuances of human conversations get annihilated when we strap a readily-available ASR over a chatbot. A simple conversion of text to voice and vice-versa does not meet the standards of a voice conversation.

The attrition among call center employees is extremely high. Seamless collaboration of human and machine intelligence — as we call it at Skit.ai, Augmented Voice Intelligence — is the future of work. Voice AI is perfectly poised to augment live agents and enhance their capabilities.

Human beings prefer to do meaningful tasks that create value. By taking away a chunk of repetitive and low-value tasks, a Digital Voice Agent helps human agents focus on significant and complex tasks. Also, a Voice AI platform can provide live agents with the context of previous interactions, helping them perform remarkably better and feel engaged with their work.

Take Your First Step

How does the adoption of Voice AI impact the operations of a contact center? Here are a few examples:

  • Automation of up to 70% of phone interactions with customers
  • At least 50% reduction in operational costs
  • Over 4.5 CSAT
  • Up to 40% reduction in average handling time
  • Actionable insights and analytics to make data-driven, informed decisions

Now ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your live agents busy with zero-value, repetitive tasks?
  • Are you constantly facing challenges related to cost, compliance, or resources?
  • Do your agents feel that they could perform significantly better with the proper tech support?
  • Is customer experience a priority for your business?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s time for you to consider Voice AI for your contact center.

For more information about how Voice AI can impact your business, schedule a meeting with one of our experts using the chat tool below.

4 Ways AI Voicebots Are Transforming Auto Finance Collections

There have been a total of 13.7 million car sales in the U.S. in 2022, according to an IBISWorld estimate. Car sales have been declining since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to many factors, including the growing prevalence of remote work, supply chain issues, and a looming recession.

As a consequence, interest rates have been rising significantly, hitting over 6.0% and negatively affecting the number of car sales. With higher prices, bigger loans, and higher interest rates, comes an increase in delinquencies. It has become an issue for many auto finance companies to keep up with the high number of delinquent borrowers.

In this article, we’ll discuss how Voice AI (the technology behind a voicebot) can transform auto loan collections in different ways.

What Is Voice AI?

Also referred to as a voicebot, Voice AI is a technology that enables companies to automate calls with customers from start to finish without requiring the involvement of a human agent.

AI-powered Digital Voice Agents are capable of handling intelligent conversations with users. The technology understands what the user needs and helps them effectively resolve the issue in just a few minutes. Voice AI should not be confused with Outbound IVR (Interactive Voice Response), a dated technology that consumers tend to dislike.

Auto finance companies that perform collection calls are now turning to Voice AI to automate many of the repetitive, tedious calls they used to perform manually and allow their live agents to focus on more complex and revenue-generating tasks. The Digital Voice Agent engages with the borrower, verifies their identity, and collects the payment on-call, covering up to 70% of the company’s outbound call volume.

To better understand what Voice AI is, think about Siri or Alexa, but for collections. However, there is one difference. While voice assistants like Alexa can only handle one or two conversation turns, a solution like Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agent is designed to address issues that often require several conversation turns. Just like humans need to gather the context before solving a problem, a Digital Voice Agent might ask multiple questions before proposing a resolution.

What Are the Most Common Uses of Voice AI in Auto Finance Collections?

Voice AI is just one of the many artificial intelligence trends that are taking the auto industry by storm. Its ability to automate collection calls and other common types of outbound calls to borrowers is particularly appealing to auto finance leaders looking for ways to cut contact center costs and maximize profits.

Let’s dive deeper into the four most common uses of Voice AI (the technology behind Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agent) in auto finance collections:

Welcome calls: Lenders and auto finance companies typically deliver an initial “welcome call” to borrowers to let them know that they are servicing the loan or in charge of collecting payments. While these calls are important, they are not revenue-generating and utilize the precious time of the company’s live agents.

Skit.ai’s voicebot solution can easily initiate an outbound call to borrowers to deliver the message and then answer some of the customers’ most common questions.

Payment reminders: Auto finance agents typically spend most of their time calling borrowers to remind them of payments that are due soon or payments that are already overdue. Reaching borrowers is not always a straightforward process! Agents have to establish right-party contact, explain who they are, and remind the borrower about the payment. When the volume of loans increases, it can be challenging for managers to scale the contact center to fit the need of the moment.

Skit.ai’s Voice AI solution can offload up to 70% of the calls from live agents, handling payment reminders automatically. Skit.ai’s clients have even reported that some borrowers prefer to interact with a voicebot rather than a human agent, as it can be embarrassing for them to discuss pending payments and the risk of going delinquent. The voicebot can easily establish right-party contact, remind the borrowers of the due balance, and offer different ways to pay it off.

On-call collections: The end goal for any collector is to recover the payment from the borrower; if the borrower is willing to make the payment on-call, even better. While this part of the process is directly revenue-generating, it still takes time and resources to complete.

Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agent has the capability to collect the payment during the call, making the process significantly cheaper for the company servicing the loan. The collection is processed through a payment gateway of the company’s choice.

Autopay or ACH sign-up: Many auto finance companies servicing loans initiate outbound calls to borrowers to offer them to sign up for autopay. With autopay or ACH, borrowers can automate payments from their credit card or bank account so that they can be processed on a regular basis.

Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agent can easily call borrowers, explain how autopay works, and offer them to sign up on call. This is an ideal scenario for auto finance companies, as it ensures a regular cash flow.

How Do Auto Finance Collections Work?

Now that we know what Voice AI is and the main use cases in auto finance, let’s go over the main steps of a standard collection call handled by one of Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agents.

The voicebot follows these steps:

  1. Triggers the outbound call based on pre-determined criteria
  2. Establishes contact with the borrower (RPC) and reminds them about the payment
  3. Collects propensity data and reasons for potential non-payment
  4. If the customer is interested in making the payment right away, the Digital Voice Agent guides them through the process via a payment gateway
  5. Persuades the customer to pay at the earliest, or offers alternate payment plans
  6. Feeds data to the CMS (collection management software) and provides analytics for further action
  7. Performs auto-callback on request, auto-retries, hot transfer to agent

Are you interested in learning more about how Skit.ai’s Augmented Voice Intelligence platform works and how your auto finance company can adopt it? Schedule a call with one of our experts using the chat tool below!

Tackle Agent Productivity 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.

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.wpenginepowered.com