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Conversational Commerce

All you need to know about voicebots

Today’s customers are demanding more autonomy. They don’t want to call you to answer simple questions, to change their account details, or to follow up on an order. In fact, most customers don’t want to call at all. Business Insider confirms that 73% of consumers want to be able to solve product/service issues on their own.

You’ve got a great website, perhaps you already have a chatbot set up and you’re taking advantage of the awesomeness that is WhatsApp. But do you have voicebots?

Here’s what you need to know about voicebots and what benefits they bring to the digital table.

What Are Voicebots?

“Siri, what is a voicebot?” 

Yes, we are all familiar with Siri, Alexa, and Google’s helpful and professional AI assistant. Voicebots are software powered by artificial intelligence (AI). In the same way that we use chatbots to answer our questions or send us to the right person or online space, voicebots do the same. However, they do it with voice commands.  

IVR (interactive voice response) systems accept voice commands and can be as simple as answering Yes or No to questions, or more complex and incorporating natural language processing (NLP), guiding the user to a satisfactory solution. 

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It can be, but when done right, voicebots offer another layer of superior customer service that growing companies need.

Voicebots Limitations

As with any emerging tech, voicebots are constantly evolving. Linear IVR systems that make use of simple, menu-based software have been a helpful springboard for the development of their AI-powered counterparts.

Smart voicebots are constantly learning programs that have been created to make improvements and refine their responses. Logically, that means that at some point the voicebot will be less than perfect, a fact that can cause consternation for your customers. 

After all, they are opting to use the voicebot to facilitate a faster solution, and don’t want to spend time listening to a polite machine voice saying, “I’m sorry, can you repeat the question.”

There is also the challenge of designing a voicebot that represents your brand voice. Yes, it needs to be efficient, but it also serves as a digital brand ambassador 24/7, so this factor needs to be considered.

Moreover, voicebots need to be able to access information about the customer who's asking the question - such as their gender, age, purchase history, and other details from their profile - so they can provide more relevant and personalised responses as well.

Admittedly, none of this is simple, which is one of the reasons why voicebots come with a higher price tag than for example, chatbots.

Why Do Customers Love Voicebots?

Once you get your voicebot system up and running, and you trust that it is offering an excellent customer experience, you can look forward to a host of benefits. 

Hands-free

We are a generation of multi-taskers who listen to podcasts while cycling and call our friends while driving (hands-free, of course). That makes voicebots both a safe and convenient option as your customers will no doubt be doing a couple of other things at the same time.

Faster Interaction

We can speak at around 145 - 160 words per minute, but we can only type around 30 - 40 words per minute. This makes voice interaction both faster and easier - a double win for your busy audience. 

Always On

Any time is a good time to get in touch with a voicebot. Using voicebots, customers can contact support at any time and from anywhere. As a result, there is no waiting in line to speak with a customer service agent or having to call in during business hours. Customer service can be improved dramatically through the immediacy of these bot-driven conversations. 

Constant Learning

AI allows the voicebot to constantly upgrade its responses based on the history and behaviour of the customer. Even when they cannot provide the customer with the response they need, from these interactions they learn and contextualise future responses accordingly. Their goal is to increase customer satisfaction by constantly improving their services.

A Focus on Intent

This is where NLP really shines. By decoding context and intent from user queries, natural language processing enables voicebots to simulate human conversations and provide first case resolution.

Human communication is multifaceted. How often do we determine uncertainty, anger or frustration based on non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, or simply from word choice? What about our use of word-whiskers such as ‘um’, ‘like’, or 'I think’ that form part of our everyday speech?

Determining the intent behind the question and noting the context of the interaction has been one of the main challenges in effective voicebot development. Without deep-diving into the nuts and bolts of NLP, we know that voicebots make efficient use of processes such as:

  • Topic analysis
  • Context extraction
  • Sentence structure
  • Personal identifiers
  • Semantics
  • Sentiment

Immediacy

The “I want it all and I want it now” sentiment shows no signs of abating. In fact, 98% of customers admit that calling a service center takes too long and they will actively source a quicker approach. Voicebots do that, being able to simultaneously handle multiple requests that all but eliminate hold-times.

Self-Service

Voicebots offer customers a self-service tool. In other words, they allow customers to contact customer service via email, chat, or phone less frequently. In addition, certain disabilities can be accommodated, including people who cannot read small types on a screen or type on their keyboard or phone in order to easily locate what they need.

Handing Off

Voicebots know when to pass a user on to a human agent. However intelligent and advanced voicebots may be, there will inevitably be times when they cannot provide all the answers. While voicebots excel at providing simple, FAQ-based answers, such as business hours, return policies, and the like, the customer query may be more complex, in which case a human agent can pick up the call.

Can You Leverage Voicebots in Your Business?

When it comes down to it, the benefits of voicebots cannot be interpreted only in cash. More efficient and consistent customer service provides real, long-term benefits. 

Who are your customers? Are they young? It’s clear that voicebot use has been driven by the expectations of an audience that grew up in a digital age. Typing in queries is fast becoming outdated as this demographic choose the ease and instant gratification of a super-fast voice query. Brands that answer this call are making it possible to engage with their customers in their preferred way, even allowing them to make purchases via voice-enabled technologies. 

As the online landscape continues to shift we see the effects of voice technology in other areas, such as SEO. The coveted position zero in Google’s search results will go to the single most relevant, contextually accurate result from a voice search. We’re seeing a surge in results for local businesses based on the more than 46% of voice searches

Let’s Chat

To stay competitive, companies need to digitalise their customer service strategies. This includes making good use of voicebots to satisfy the shifting need for autonomy and immediacy.

A revolution in customer service is underway with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). In the near future, voicebots and conversational AI are set to surpass chatbots as the new standard of customer service. Have you considered the possibilities of incorporating voicebots into your customer service?

If you have questions about this complex topic, our team is more than happy to answer them for you. Please feel free to get in touch with us.

For more information around voicebots, the history of the technology, the benefits and how to get started with your own deployment. Download our guide.

Download the guide

For more information around voicebots, the history of the technology, the benefits and how to get started with your own deployment. Download our guide.

Download the guide
is the Snr. Digital Marketing Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at CM.com. She is passionate about digital marketing and customer experience. She is dedicated and committed to enhancing the CM.com brand locally using strategic marketing campaigns via various channels.

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