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All About Voice Bots, Voice Assistants, And IVR

voice bots, voice assistants, ivr

Since times immemorial, businesses have leveraged technology to handle a variety of business functions, right from marketing to human resources. 

One particular technology that has stood out in recent times is voice bots. They have helped businesses automate a variety of everyday tasks, which, in turn, has helped employees focus more on business-critical activities. 

But what exactly are voice bots? Are they the same as Alexa and Siri, the voice assistants we use regularly? Let’s find out the answers to all your questions in this post. 

What are voice bots?

A voice bot is an AI-powered system typically found in contact centers to automate interaction with inbound callers. It intelligently captures, interprets, and analyzes the caller’s vocal input and responds to them accordingly. It uses cutting-edge technologies like Voice Recognition, Natural Language Processing, and Artificial Intelligence to function without human intervention. 

The best part about voice bots is that they can function without requiring customers to speak specific programmed commands. They can easily comprehend human language. The simplest use of a voice bot is when a caller is looking for an answer about one of your products, they interact with the voice bot, ask the exact same question and receive a relevant response.  

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How are voice bots different from voice assistants?

It’s a very common mistake to use voice bots and voice assistants interchangeably. This is understandable. After all, both of them seem to perform a very similar action – respond to your question in a relevant way. But the similarities end there. 

The simplest and most obvious difference is voice bots are very specific to a business. In other words, they can answer questions that you want them to answer. On the other hand, voice assistants take it one notch higher. They can perform a whole lot of activities to make your lives better. Interestingly, voice assistants are predominantly used for personal purposes. Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa are the best examples of modern voice assistants.

How are voice bots different from IVRs?

This is the next logical question that most people have. Most of you might already have interacted with an IVR before. These are pre-recorded messages when you dial a business number. You can navigate across the menu (determined by the IVR) by pressing the corresponding numbers on your phone. 

Further Reading: What is IVR? [Examples, Best Practices, and Benefits]

The biggest negative of this type of IVR is that it is not intelligent. Customers want solutions quickly. No one wants to wait on the phone, going through a long menu and pressing multiple keys, only to arrive at an incomplete solution. And let’s not even talk about repeating the process in case of pressing the wrong key. 

All these issues are avoided by a voice bot, as you just have to specify your exact requirement through speech. And you will get your response instantly.

Benefits of voice bots 

Here are some of the key reasons why your business needs voice bots – 

1. Improved Customer Experience

As we have highlighted early on, today’s customers don’t like waiting on phones. They want instant solutions. If you’re not going to offer them that, they are going to switch over to your competitors in no time. Long story short, customer experience is the key. 

Voice bots help in improving your customer experience by providing immediate responses to all their queries. And the best part is they are available 24X7, unlike human agents. Whether it is at midnight or during a holiday, voice bots can assist your customer with their queries. 

Also, it is much better than an IVR system because most customers would like to talk rather than input a number multiple times. It’s more convenient and accurate. So, using a voice bot, you can elevate customer experience and win their loyalty in no time. 

2. Maximize your agent’s productivity 

The biggest mistake that most businesses make is overburdening their contact center staff. As a result, most of them lose their motivation and end up offering sub-optimal solutions to the customers. This can take a toll on the customer experience, which, in the long run, can impact your sales. 

A voice bot reduces the burden of contact center agents drastically as it can answer most of the simple queries that the callers have. For example, a human agent is not needed to answer a question on the latest order status when it can be clearly conveyed by the voice bot. This ensures that your contact center staff focuses only on important calls which require human decision-making. Finally, the morale and motivation of your contact center staff will increase, encouraging them to offer a stellar experience to the calls. 

3. Reduced cost of operation

Human capital is expensive. As a result, running a contact center was also expensive as it was run by human agents. Even though many large companies could manage the high cost of operation, smaller ones couldn’t handle it. This challenge was eliminated by introducing voice bots. Thanks to it, companies now had to hire only the necessary staff to handle important calls. This saved huge costs for companies in the form of salaries and benefits they had to pay the staff otherwise. 

4. Scale up the operation

Though this point is linked to the previous one, it needed a special mention due to its importance. Scalability is one of the biggest challenges faced by contact centers. It is directly linked to the availability of human capital and the budget. Due to the shortage of both these factors, many contact centers resist scaling up while their competitors grow rapidly. 

The above obstacles are resolved by embracing voice bots, as you no longer have to depend only on human resources to handle the calls. Your voice bots can answer most of the calls while the human agents focus on the critical ones. 

Further Reading: 5 Mistakes Recruiters Make

Key features to look out for in a voice bot

If you are planning to adopt a voice bot in your organization, you need to keep in mind the following features while selecting a vendor for your business – 

  1. Automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology

This is the most basic feature that must be present in your voice bot. The more advanced this component is, the better will be your voice bot. To the unversed, ASR is a tech that enables humans to use their voices to speak with a computer interface. The technology constitutes a variety of sub-processes like creating a wave file, cleaning the speech by removing background noises, breaking down the speech into phonemes, and then using statistical probability analysis to deduce whole words. The more fine-tuned these processes are, the better your voice bot will be. 

  1. Natural language processing

NLP is a modern technology that blends computational linguistics with the rule-based modeling of human language to understand and interpret voice responses. It uses a combination of statistics, machine learning, and deep learning algorithms to analyze human responses. This is the tech that enables voice bots to understand the full meaning of a sentence after considering the speaker’s intent and sentiment. Ensure that your voice bot sits on top of a strong NLP model with very high accuracy in interpreting and analyzing human voice. 

Read more on NLP and the speech processing Algorithms

  1. Conversation design

Conversational design is all about viewing human conversations as a base for all digital interactions. It uses a variety of algorithms and principles to ensure that it is possible to build a stronger and more natural conversation between humans and computers. It amalgamates technology, psychology, and language to generate human-centric experiences for the callers. So make sure that the voice bot you select is built using strong conversation design principles.

How can Frejun help improve your business?

FreJun is a next-gen cloud telephony platform that transforms all your business communication into productive ones. It comes packed with an array of features to make your life much simpler such as call scheduling, auto-dialer, click-to-call, etc. It is a must-have solution for all contact centers that are looking for smart insights to make better decisions related to different business processes. FreJun makes all your callings device-agnostic, as your teams can make or receive calls through any device of their choice.

Conclusion

One thing is for sure. Voice bots are here to stay. Just the simple thought of your customers talking to a piece of technology to solve their queries seems to be an appealing innovation offering a plethora of opportunities for your business. It comes with a huge array of benefits, most of which have been discussed in this post. Implementing voice bots for your business is bound to make a huge difference and give your company a competitive edge over others in today’s world. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a voice assistant bot?

Voice assistants are apps that use state-of-the-art technologies like voice recognition, NLP, and AI to respond to humans. The app breaks down the user’s voice message, understand it, and offers a meaningful response in return.

What is the difference between Voicebot and IVR?

A voice bot is an AI-powered piece of technology that can capture, interpret and analyze a caller’s vocal message and respond accordingly. In a traditional IVR, user inputs are generally captured via pressing buttons on your phone. Both of them are part of a contact center or a call center to handle incoming and outgoing calls. 

What are examples of voice bots?

Common examples of voice bots include eCommerce voice bots, healthcare voice bots, banking voice bots, etc. As you would have guessed, different types of voice bots are trained based on the industry they operate it.

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