Voice technology: Making Conversational AI even better

What customers want most today is a choice between conversational alternatives

Jessica Raggio

March 21, 20225 minutes

voice technology schematic

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen massive growth in digital engagement. From web messaging to social media to email, consumers have shifted, though sometimes begrudgingly, more and more of their interactions with brands to digital channels. By the end of 2021, our LivePerson customer engagement preferences survey showed that a whopping 85% of consumers want the ability to message with brands.

So, is the traditional phone call with a human representative a thing of the past? Not by a long shot. Research from Contact Babel indicates that, while call volumes have seen a slight decline, 63% of inbound contact center interactions are still done over the phone with a live agent.

In reality, the shift to digital showed us that what consumers really want is choice. There are those who want to message, but there are also those who want to use good old voice technology. Not to mention those who go back and forth between the two.

Voice technology or messaging, that is the question

While preferences for voice tech or text-based engagements may often vary by generation, other important factors impact the decision to call or message, like the complexity of the need, the value or potential ramifications, or the sensitivity of the scenario. In fact, 40% of customers are more likely to want to talk to a real person on the phone to resolve a more complicated issue, like a payment dispute (American Express). 

Even for consumers who consistently gravitate to messaging above all else, there are times when they just need to pick up the phone.

To stay competitive, brands need to give customers the choice they’re looking for by supporting engagement options across a variety of digital channels, in addition to voice. And, it’s not as simple as just having a presence in those channels.

Whatever you do, make the consumer experience seamless

older woman using voice tech

Consumers don’t care what’s happening behind the scenes of a conversation. It doesn’t matter to them if your systems work well together or not. They want a seamless and easy experience that feels personal to their needs. They expect that each agent or automated digital assistant has the context of all the information they’ve shared or questions they’ve asked already, so they don’t have to repeat themselves over and over again. Beyond that, they want to know that your brand values their time, getting to resolutions quickly so they can get back to their busy lives. 

Every interaction needs to be exceptional, whether on the phone or in a message, automated or human. If it isn’t, consumers will seek out alternatives and leave, directly impacting revenue generation. In fact, a study by PWC showed that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience.

4 ways to unify voice technology, messaging, and Conversational AI

Here are some ways you can set your brand up to create incredible, Curiously Human™ conversations across every channel.

1. Make sure you’re capturing audience insights from every interaction, especially voice technologies. 

Gaining insight into common questions, issues, inquiry topics, and trends creates a number of opportunities to improve experience. It may be easier to lean on the data that is only collected from digital conversations, but with so many engagements still happening on the phone, don’t forget to pull in voice analytics, too. It is critical for brands to get a full view of what their customers are saying in order to truly optimize interactions. 

2. Break down data silos in voice technology and across your organization

Your customers don’t segment their customer experience by your brand’s different departments. To a consumer, your brand is your brand. Every engagement across their entire customer journey, from discovery and consideration to support and re-engagement makes up their relationship with your brand. When data and insights from all of those conversations are accessible and easily digestible across departments, the whole company benefits. All conversational analytics, including voice analytics, can inform future interactions with better personalization, faster and more effective support, and improved customer experience, ultimately increasing business results. 

3. Automate for efficient, streamlined interactions across voice technology, messaging, and all channels 

Gathering and sharing insights from every conversation will also surface opportunities to improve natural language processing and reduce friction that can inhibit agent productivity and create a poorer customer experience. With a full view of the voice of the customer, you can continuously optimize and automate common, low-complexity inquiries with AI-powered digital assistants, while quickly getting consumers with high-touch needs to the best qualified human agent. You will also be able to arm agents with more approved responses at their fingertips to quickly address complex issues. In other words, you will reduce the time it takes for automated digital assistants and agents to understand and resolve an individual consumer’s need, no matter the method of communication.

4. Set agents up for success by ensuring your backend systems work together 

While digital transformation may take time to achieve within an organization, your tech stack doesn’t have to define how consumers engage with your brand. Look for ways to connect your systems of engagement, both legacy and cloud, with your conversational and voice analytics. By giving agents a unified view of each consumer in a single pane of glass and delivering relevant context and automation in the moment of interaction, you will empower your brand representatives to build better relationships and create efficient, personalized experiences at scale.

The expectation for personalized and flexible consumer engagement is at an all-time high, which brings with it significant opportunities for brands, alongside some big challenges. Integrating your messaging and voice technologies and analytics is a powerful step toward meeting those expectations. Once you get that full, unified view of the voice of the customer, it’s much easier to create the best possible experience with every conversation.

After all, at LivePerson we believe in delivering incredible customer experiences through the power of AI and automations that are not just built in the lab, but created in the contact center, marketing department, or sales floor where the engagements actually happen.

Check out how our voice technology solutions, VoiceBase and Tenfold, help brands create better conversations, modernize their customer experience tools without replacing legacy systems, and improve customer experience with voice analytics.