Thanks to recent breakthroughs in AI, deep learning, and voice synthesis technology voice bots are more accessible and deployable than ever. It’s up to businesses that want to stay ahead of the CRM curve to begin developing and deploying their automated customer service team of the future, i.e. voice bots.

SwissCognitiveIBM and Oracle both forecast that by 2020, 80% of interaction between businesses and users will be automated. Although that prediction may be a bit too optimistic, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is currently widely used across industries to speed-up mundane processes and improve customer relations in the form of virtual assistants, such as chatbots. The next logical step is the implementation of RPA-assisted “voice bots”, however adoption has been slow. So, why don’t more organizations and businesses deploy voice assistants to further automate customer interactions?

The perceived problem with using voice bots

Although there will be eight billion AI-powered voice bots by 2023 (meaning nearly every human on earth will interact with AI), many businesses currently fear that voice bots will frustrate and repel customers for multiple reasons:

Users might hang up because they get frustrated communicating with a robot;

The robot could be “dumb” and unable to comprehend complex verbal questions and answers;

The robotic “iron voice” might annoys users;

Why call when everyone prefers to communicate via text/chat these days?

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These fears mostly seem to stem from consumers’ interactions with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology that is based on Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) touchtone user entry. IVR via DTMF has been widely employed by the communications industry for decades, but superior technologies that automate customer services and interactions are rapidly becoming more capable and accessible to businesses of all types.

The actual problem of not using voice bots

Voice assistants, or “voice bots,” have the potential to provide numerous advantages to businesses in retail, hospitality, financial services, and really any customer-facing industry – so practically all businesses serve to benefit from the implementation of voice assistants.

Most businesses who currently employ bots of any nature (chatbots, text-reading bots, voice bots) cite several major advantages provided by their automated assistants. First – The bot can work 24/7 and never needs to take a vacation (bots are also available on holidays when the rest of the workforce is largely unavailable). Second – bots never tire or become stressed out – meaning they can handle large quantities of tasks and requests in a timely fashion. Many businesses are subject to peak loads, and bots can quick and efficiently notify customers of any changes such as cancelled flights, new products, deliveries, etc. Third – bots don’t nearly require the same amount of human resources employee’s time as hiring a new employee. Training a bot may take several days but once fully trained, a bot can be used for as many simultaneous requests as possible. Bots also don’t need to be managed or paid – meaning their deployment is up to three-times faster than onboarding a new employee.

Most businesses’ major fears regarding voice bots are related to the bots’ ability to comprehend information and communicate responses in an effective manner. As mentioned above, some businesses fear that voice bots will be too “dumb” to understand complex questions and formulate answers.

Ironically, “dumb” bots are often more effective than “smart” ones. A smart bot can ask and answer open ended questions, often requiring the bot to operate beyond the parameters of its given algorithm. A dumb bot only understands “yes,” “no,” “I don’t know,” or similar short, pre-programmed answers. While the smart bot has a wider range of capabilities and customer interactions, it takes much longer to train and costs a great deal more to implement than a dumb bot. In addition, when a smart bot is presented with a phrase or request that its algorithm does not recognize, the bot can get confused and lead the conversation in erroneous directions – meaning live agents must be available to handle any out-of-bounds requests. […]

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