Voice service is back on the agenda – innovate now to capitalise on the opportunity

It turns out that people want to speak with something more than they want to just use a website. The interesting thing is that they are happy to speak to chatbots and voice assistants – but more complex demands require humans. Gluing automated platforms and service agents together is a significant opportunity for telco innovation

We recently wrote about chatbots and the way in which they can facilitate interactions with customers through AI processing to create natural dialogues. This is a topic to which we will return in the future but, for now, it’s also worth noting that the benefits are two-fold.

First, retailers and other service providers will benefit from optimising their operations to deliver more effective customer service. By reducing the number of first-level interactions, they can both lower costs and also improve service by providing agents that are skilled in deeper-level interactions. In other words, they’ll be able to put resources where they are really needed.

Second, consumers will benefit because, it turns out, this is what they want. According to research from Forbes, and cited at the recent Voice and Advanced Summit, 23% of today’s consumers would prefer to use a voice assistant instead of a website – rising to 40% in three years’ time.

In other words, people want to talk to something to obtain a service. Voice assistants and chatbots are part of this mix, but they will also need to be supplemented by people. While they are growing in sophistication and capabilities, there will still be many points of interaction which will demand the intervention of a real person.

This creates an opportunity for telcos. They can provide the point of intersection between automation and distribution to the right people. This applies not only to their own interactions with customers (some are already introducing voice assistants to help with billing and service issues) but also for connecting businesses with customers via speech platforms and chatbots that can be accessed over multiple channels.

Providing speech as a service and handling the complex interplay of different media is a job telcos are well-equipped to perform, particularly if a dialogue then results in a conversation that may take place over multiple media, but which ultimately is tied to the device and user identity in the form of a phone number – and, specifically, a mobile number. Managing this interplay and taking the right decisions in terms of routing calls upon a number of key telco capabilities that have evolved from IN and ACD technology.

These are capabilities at the heart of Gintel’s solutions. Making sure the right person can be reached at the right time, in the right place is fundamental to how today’s call distribution platforms operate. It’s a logical next step to connect them via APIs to chatbots and voice assistants, so that people can open up another communications channel. Telcos need to be able to evolve their platforms to support the emerging voice-enabled economy – and they need to do so soon, before others colonise this space.

To stay in the game, telcos need to be able to explore new forms of interaction so that they can build more B2B partnerships If you want to explore innovation in voice, it’s time to speak with Gintel.

B2B, ACD solutions, Voice and Advanced Communications Summit, AI

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