Kore.ai is an all-in-one chatbot platform (as a service) provider. The company provides an end-to-end platform for designing, building, testing, and managing the lifecycle of chatbots or intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) for use across various channels. With specific relation to the telecom industry, Sairam Vedam, Chief Marketing Officer at Kore.ai, in an interaction with VoicenData, will explain why chatbots are going to belittle the traditional IVR system and are going to help in transforming solutions for increased customer satisfaction. Few excerpts:
VoicenData: Solutions to boost customer satisfaction and customer experience is now the much talked about demand. What are those solutions that the telecom industry wants to do away with and upgrade to a technology that is cost effective and result oriented to keep customers happy?
Sairam Vedam: The telecom industry is a highly capital-intensive industry that’s seeing rapid changes over the past decade with advancements in technology. The advent of 4G, wearables, smartphones, and mobile apps have changed the way people consume telecom services. However, such disruptive innovations are posing challenges for the telecom giants as they are looking for means to stabilize their revenues.
Among the many challenges that the telecom industry is facing, two major ones relate to customer support and services management.
Growth of new technologies has led to a proliferation in the variety and quality of services from telecom companies and internet service providers (ISP), decrease in profit margins, and slow overlap of telecom companies and technology vendors.
Telcos are having to focus on ICT innovation more urgently than before and adapt their organization to digital transformation by creating strong cross-functional interfaces and by seeking tools for maintaining organizational flexibility.
Telecom giants typically have huge subscriber base (running into millions), with a variety of new products, bundled and customized solutions. There are huge productivity issues because of this, as managing operational support services like service configuration, order fulfillment, customer care, and billing become increasingly complex. The cost of handling these operations pile up requiring resources and different tools and increases the financial overhead.
AI-powered chatbots and messaging platforms can digitize customer support for telecom companies and help cut customer service calls by 90%. Among the many AI applications in the telecom industry are customer service chatbots, speech and voice services for customers where they can explore or buy content, traffic classification, network optimization, and orchestration, and predictive network maintenance.
In the particular context of conversational AI, chatbots are transforming the telecom industry by improving customer service, reducing churn rates and minimizing the cost to serve. Overall, telecom companies can ensure:
- 30% reduction in customer service costs by deploying chatbots and automating support functions
- 80% of routine questions are answered by chatbots, freeing up agents for more productive work
- 50% decrease in call volume by implementing chatbots across multiple touchpoints
VoicenData: How has Kore.ai placed its products in line with the emerging need in customer experience?
Sairam Vedam: Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. AI, Chatbots & automated self-service technologies will free up call center employees from routine tier-1 requests for complex value-added tasks.
First, at Kore, we have developed solutions that can handle queries at Level 1. The level 1 customer support requests are often basic and repetitive, tying up resources that could be better put to use solving level 2 and level 3 requests. Chatbots built on the Kore.ai platform can quickly and easily handle level 1 inquiries, such as providing billing details, processing payments, and helping customers address potential discrepancies in their plan. Our chatbots can even be used to help address more complicated support requests by collecting information about the issue and automatically creating a ticket for the support team. This has the added benefit of eliminating human biases from the ticket creation process.
Our chatbots, when integrated with the IVR system, can simplify and humanize this experience for customers.
Second, customers often have to go through multiple IVR options before they can resolve their issue or reach a live agent. Such experiences can be frustrating for customers, especially if they are in a hurry or the request was relatively simple. Our chatbots, when integrated with the IVR system, can simplify and humanize this experience for customers. Instead of navigating through multiple menus and DTMF rules, users can simply talk to the IVR and get their issues resolved quickly. This results in more streamlined and positive customer experience from beginning to end.
Third, Kore.ai chatbots can help increase conversion rates by automatically upselling and cross-selling products to customers and by reducing cart abandonment rates. Chatbots, for example, can be used to provide existing customers with personalized offers on data packages, subscriptions to partner services, or other similar products based on past conversations, user profiles, and purchase history. Our chatbots can even be used to generate new leads for the sales team.
Kore’s chatbots can provide a wide range of account services through the web, mobile, and social channels of choice, making interactions with the brand simple and convenient for both customers and agents.
Fourth, agents are often asked for account details like how much of their data has been consumed, how many texts have been sent, how many minutes they have left, and more. Businesses, likewise, often need to know error rates and overall network utilization to ensure they can, in turn, meet SLAs with their customers. Kore’s chatbots can provide a wide range of account services through the web, mobile, and social channels of choice, making interactions with the brand simple and convenient for both customers and agents.
Fifth, customer service teams often handle calls from irate customers about the whereabouts of field service technicians. This is complicated by the fact that they often don’t have the most up-to-date information. Changes to these customer requests happen frequently, making it hard for the customer support team to keep track of and juggle customer needs and technician schedules. Our chatbots can streamline field operations by gathering customer requirements and automatically finding the nearest available technician to handle the request. By automating this process, organizations can save, on average, close to 70% of a customer service agent’s time and 40% of a field technician’s time – allowing them to focus on more productive work.
By automating few processes, organizations can save, on average, close to 70% of a customer service agent’s time and 40% of a field technician’s time – allowing them to focus on more productive work.
Lastly, customers tend to prefer personalized services over one-size-fits-all offerings. Our chatbots make it easy to provide personalized recommendations based on a user’s behavioral patterns and content preferences. Bots can also proactively help customers by integrating with and monitoring backend systems for problems, such as errors flagged by IoT devices, and by alerting support staff via an automatically generated ticket or other methods. Field service technicians and other support staff could then examine the ticket and fix any potential issues before they impact operations and your customers.
Bots can also proactively help customers by integrating with and monitoring backend systems for problems, such as errors flagged by IoT devices.
VoicenData: Subscribers are quite irate about the existing IVR system. How does Kore offer an improved solution to help operators increase their call center services?
Sairam Vedam: Traditional touch-tone and dialog-based IVR systems with complicated and long-winded menu trees typically fail to meet the needs of savvy consumers – often frustrating more than helping. This results in more calls being routed to live agents and higher contact center costs – despite being deployed for the exact reason.
To further complicate this, social media gives individual voices and experiences great power to influence the purchasing decisions of others – such that a single bad experience can reach thousands, or even millions, of current and potential customers.
Kore.ai allows organizations to automate customer service by leveraging voice-enabled, Natural Language powered conversational chatbots. Bots built on our platform can be easily integrated with virtually any conversational IVR by simply enabling an IVR channel for the bot.
Kore.ai allows organizations to automate customer service by leveraging voice-enabled, Natural Language powered conversational chatbots.
Kore.ai bots work side-by-side with contact center service teams, assist agent workflows by automating routine post-call functions, and give agents the information they need when they need it. Using advanced NLU and AI, our bots work quickly and tirelessly to identify, catalog, and analyze the customer’s intent, including multiple intents within a single request, to map relevant topics to the conversation and to help get the answers customers want and need, fast.
The bot then determines if relevant customer data already exists based on current or past context, such as identifying if they are a repeat caller, and shares all relevant information with the live agent to guide the interaction in the right direction. Plus, they’re always there to lend a helping hand, ensuring agents never hit a stopping point and empowering them to focus on customer care.
Using bots built on Kore.ai, companies can answer more phone and chat requests without investing in additional headcount.
VoicenData: Despite the advent of chatbots, human connection is still important. Why?
Sairam Vedam: Live or automated, demand for chat backed by phone support is growing by leaps and bounds. It is what customers want and expect. While bots can and do automate many important support functions, there are going to be times – unforeseen or otherwise – when it needs to hand off a conversation to a human being, regardless of how smart or how well trained it may be. Escalating conversations in a manner that is quick, seamless, and non-intrusive is critical for reducing response times and for building the kind of great experiences that customers tell each other about.
Using bots built on Kore.ai, companies can answer more phone and chat requests without investing in additional headcount. Voice and text bots can act as the first point of contact for all requests by gathering all necessary information and either solving the customer’s request completely or transferring the conversation to an agent. By integrating humans with chatbot technology, Kore.ai provides enterprises with a powerful customer service differentiator.
The platform will select the appropriate escalation path to seamlessly transfer the conversation to the support agents. The agent transfer node, which facilitates this transition, acts as a relay service between the user message and agent response until the agent signals the close of the conversation. The transfer takes place in the same chat window and channels the user started the conversation in – ensuring a seamless handoff from virtual to a human agent.