The development of voice agents powered by conversational AI, also named callbots, is an opportunity to automate simple and repetitive customer service phone calls in the contact center. What concrete impact can be expected from implementing this type of initiative?
Since 2016, a new technology based on conversational AI is increasingly common in contact centres: voice agents. These voice assistants are able to interact with callers in natural language to understand simple requests and provide the appropriate answer. New allies of call center agents, their goal is to automate the processing of level 1 calls.
But between promise and reality, what concrete impact can we expect from the implementation of a voice agent? What effect on contact center KPIs? In short: what are the concrete results of implementing conversational AI in call processing?
For call centers, three main benefits can be highlighted: improved quality of service, lower cost of low-level call handling, and elimination of waiting time for callers.
1. Conversational AI allows a 100% quality of service (QoS)
The absorption of customer contact flows remains a major issue in customer service. Many contact centres receive too many calls for their capacity. The equation between budgetary constraints and ambitious service quality objectives often seems difficult to solve.
Yet, 40% of contact centre calls can be automated with conversational AI. Deploying a voice agent to handle these simple requests autonomously can considerably increase the processing capacity of the Customer Relationship Centre.
On automated lines, the average call off-hook rate is almost 100%: available 24/7, the voice agent responds immediately to incoming requests, even in case of call overload!
The time savings associated with the automation of these level 1 calls allows agents to save a lot of time, and to be much more available to handle more complex incoming requests. By automating only a part of the calls, it is possible to achieve a 100% quality of service.
2. Conversational AI cuts the average cost of handling level-1 calls by 80%
In UK, US or Canada, the average cost of a one-minute communication with an advisor is around $0.75. In other words, the average cost of handling an incoming call in a contact centre is $3.
In comparison, a minute of communication with a voice agent costs between 5 and 20 cents, depending on the context and the technology used. Automating the processing of simple calls allows for a very significant reduction in the cost of handling these calls, by around 80% on average.
In a context where many contact centres are looking for new solutions to increase the productivity of their agents, automation makes it possible to achieve this objective. Advisors' expertise can be mobilized for more complex interactions, where they can make the best use of their skills to improve the customer experience.
Not all calls are equally complex. It makes sense that costs should be proportional to the nature of the customer request. Your agents' time is precious. Save it for tasks with real added value!
3. Conversational AI means zero queue time for callers
The last KPI impacted by the implementation of the voice agents is the time on hold for callers. Nowadays, customer satisfaction rhymes with instantaneity. According to the customer service observatory, the majority of callers have already hung up after only 60 seconds of waiting. Yet in 2019, the average queue time in U.K. is still over 3 minutes. Telephone queue time is one of the main irritants in customer relations by telephone. By reducing queue time, the customer experience improves and customer satisfaction increases.
With a voice agent, callers are assured of an immediate response to their simple requests, including evenings and weekends. In addition, agents with fewer requests to process are more quickly available to handle complex requests, which also drastically reduces queue time.
In conclusion, the implementation of a conversational AI voice agent solution improves three KPIs at the contact center level: service quality, cost control and queue time. The use of artificial intelligence makes it possible to improve the operational efficiency of customer service, while respecting the challenges of cost control. By optimizing the way calls are handled in the contact center, a voice agent project allows to best serve the primary ambition of customer service: to increase the level of customer satisfaction!