In human terms about voicebots. How to communicate with the client?

Aleksey Vasiliev

How to approach the topic of voicebots? Our content manager, Agnieszka Wiącek (PhD), reveals how to approach communicating this technology. Read and find out what are the most important aspects of her work, what are the challenges in communicating with clients, and what prospects does conversational AI have.

What do I do at Apifonica?

To put it in one sentence, I create and implement customer communication strategies using content – that is, I plan what, when and how to say about our solutions, and then… I do it. In my daily work, I mainly deal with Apifonica’s flagship product, which is the voicebot.

The main challenge is to translate this not so obvious field into human language, or rather the language of business. That is, to show what the capabilities of voicebots are and present their benefits for smaller and larger organizations from all industries that involve telephone communication with customers. I also indicate the place of this solution on the map of increasingly popular tools based on artificial intelligence.

In this job, I try not only to simplify and condense the message, but also creatively approach a topic that at first glance seems serious and quite technical. I draw on my previous experience, because for many years I worked for the so-called knowledge industries, dealing with business and new technologies.

Is now the right time for conversational AI?

Yes, in my opinion, now is the time for it, for several reasons. Firstly, it is generally related to the growing popularity of solutions based on artificial intelligence, which in turn is connected to its increasing capabilities.

I think that more and more companies will use voicebots, among other things, because it will give them a competitive advantage – so it is worth implementing this technology before others do it.

Today’s voicebots are much smarter than they were in the beginning – they can understand the client much more precisely, handle a wider range of issues, speak in a more natural voice and learn from issues they have already dealt with before. However, certain concerns remain a barrier to mass adoption of this technology.

What are the concerns about voicebots?

First of all, it is the fear of lack of understanding and, consequently, of ineffectiveness. But even though machines are not people, thanks to NLP technology you can talk to them in a very natural way. Because they are based on artificial intelligence, they are able to understand our intentions and respond accordingly. They are also effective – 80% of issues handled by our voicebots for clients are handled from A to Z – only 15% require call transfer to a consultant (usually more complicated and non-standard matters). The voicebot has been programmed to solve many categories of customer problems, so it knows the issues it deals with well.

The next question is whether the voicebot will replace employees. In my opinion, artificial intelligence – not only voicebots – is used to relieve people from the most repetitive and tedious tasks. A voicebot takes over what would be impossible (due to the lack of resources) or frustrating for a human – e.g. instantly calling the customer base with a certain information or answering the same question thousands of times, which leaves the employee with more time and energy for creativity and their core competence.

Some people also wonder about more “technical” matters – regarding data security, the cost of the voicebot or its implementation time. As for security, our voicebot operates completely in accordance with the GDPR and other legal regulations, and is not used for unwanted product sales, but only for communication with the company’s current customers. The rule is also that one voicebot serves only one specific company, and no one has access to this data from outside. We also have various price packages tailored to the needs of specific processes and client sizes – they are flexible to some extent. The implementation of a voicebot can take place in just 3–5 days if it is standard, while building and implementing a tailor-made one is usually a matter of several weeks.

How do people really react to voicebots?

We can look at it from the point of view of research – most of them prove that approximately 40 to 50% of interlocutors do not mind settling their business using a voicebot. These numbers continue to grow year over year as technology adoption increases.

It is worth adding that some of our voicebots are integrated with ChatGPT, which makes interaction with them even smoother. However, we try to limit the unbridled “creativity” of ChatGPT, because we must remember that the main task of the voicebot is to solve the customer’s problem – conversational AI is not made for fun. 

How to talk about voicebots?

Everyone has their own recipe for this, but I will mention a few things that are important from my perspective.

First, diversity of viewpoints. Voicebots have a wide range of applications in various industries and have many aspects that should be discussed – including business, technological, quality and economic. I try to communicate their advantages from various perspectives, ensuring not only a compelling but also structured approach to a given aspect. However, sometimes I go back to the basics because to appreciate the benefits of a voicebot, you need to understand what it actually is (and what it is not).

And speaking of benefits, there are many more of them than it seems at first glance – and they are slightly different for each industry. I’m talking about both direct technology advantages (such as the fact that the voicebot never sleeps, answers the phone immediately, processes 5,000 calls per minute, doesn’t forget anything, inserts data into CRM, speaks 150 languages, doesn’t make mistakes, can personalize the message, understands people well and so on), but also about long-term consequences for a specific business – from the point of view of solving the problems of its employees, customers and the company itself. As we showed in our last webinar about customer service, the voicebot itself is able to solve as many as 9 important problems of service desks. The long-term consequences of which are better quality of work, lower turnover, savings, taking advantage of business opportunities, and in short – development and profits. So I try to raise awareness of how much smart automation can bring to business.

In communication, I often use the most interesting numbers regarding the achievements of our voicebots and success stories, because you can talk a lot about the advantages of the product, but the numbers don’t lie.

Finally, I will add that I try to warm up the image of the voicebot so that it is not associated only with “soulless” technology – it is not without reason that our brand hero that we use in communication is a green cartoon robot that decorates a large part of our materials. However, I am aware and convinced that voicebots will not replace people – quite the opposite! Their task is to assist and help people, freeing the world from repetitive and frustrating tasks (this applies to any type of artificial intelligence). I hope that with AI our mutual communication will not become more technical, but more human, because there will be more space for creativity and empathy.

What tools do I use to communicate with the client?

I focus on a few selected customer communication channels and tools. First of all, it is LinkedIn, because this is where our clients are – voicebots, however, are a purely business proposition, not a lifestyle one. I publish various forms of content here, such as educational carousels or infographics with numbers, and I also present the life of the company and events in which Apifonica participates. We also have a blog where we discuss more complex issues and share knowledge in a broader scope. In addition, we promote knowledge about voicebots through webinars conducted by our specialists and thematic ebooks. And I assure you that there is a lot to talk about and listen to, read and watch! Therefore, I cordially invite people interested in everything related to conversational AI to our communication channels.

What is the essence of the voicebot revolution?

I will not list all the benefits of voicebots here, but I will say briefly: this technology allows for achieving things that once seemed impossible. Calling 10,000 people in one day? No problem. Answering the phone right away, even at 3 a.m., from a client from the other side of the world? It can be done! Thanks to voicebots, companies can achieve more in less time (even things that would never have been possible with the given resources) and develop faster. I’m not even mentioning the savings – this is the first thing noticed by our clients who have implemented a voicebot.

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