AI voice assistants for customer service have become a popular tool for businesses to handle customer inquiries. With advancements in conversational AI technology, these voice assistants can do more than just answer basic FAQs. They use natural language understanding and machine learning algorithms to understand customer inquiries and provide personalized responses.
In this blog post, we’ll focus on how conversational AI enables voice assistants, also known as intelligent virtual agents, to manage more than just basic FAQs. We’ll also explore the costs associated with implementing and training AI customer service agents, as well as the potential benefits of doing so.
Market data shows that the demand for AI virtual agents in customer service is increasing significantly. According to a report by Grand View Research Inc., the global virtual assistant market size was valued at USD 17.17 billion in 2020, and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.5% from 2021 to 2028.
Businesses are seeking to improve their customer service and engagement, which is driving the growth of the virtual assistant market.
By deploying intelligent virtual assistants, businesses can automate basic inquiries in their contact centers, allowing live agents to focus on more complex issues. This not only reduces the workload on human agents, but it also ensures that customers receive faster and more efficient service.
Furthermore, voice assistants or virtual agents can handle a higher volume of inquiries than live agents, reducing the need for businesses to hire additional staff during peak times.
Here are a few of the main benefits:
Since the pandemic, the ability to divert calls is an increasingly vital money savings tool. It also improves the customer experience and empowers your agents. High call volume leads to long wait times, which customers dislike and is expensive for brands.
Beyond traditional call diversion, a new wave of deflection is emerging. As a consequence of Covid-19, this deflection model aims to divert customers from phone, email, and live chat channels and encourage them to engage with a virtual assistant.
It is proving to be highly attractive for businesses as it offers more opportunities for automation.
According to Harris Interactive, 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a human agent.
The cost of implementing an intelligent virtual assistant platform that includes conversational AI can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the artificial intelligence solution, service costs, the size of the business, and the level of customization required.
If building a platform from scratch, these are some of the costs to consider. Keep in mind, however, that AI vendors such as SoundHound that have built libraries of pre-built domains can dramatically lower these costs.
These include the initial setup and development costs for the voice assistant. Depending on the complexity, this can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Once the voice assistant has been developed, it will need to be trained to understand and respond to customer inquiries. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the assistant and the amount of training data available.
The cost of training can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
Even after the voice assistant has been developed and trained, it will need to be continually optimized to ensure that it is providing the best possible customer experience.
This includes monitoring and analyzing customer interactions, identifying areas for improvement, and making necessary adjustments. The cost of optimization can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Content domains are programs that allow the SoundHound server to respond to queries on a certain topic. For example, the “Weather” domain allows SoundHound to understand weather queries such as “What’s the temperature in San Francisco?” and then ask follow-up questions like, “How about in San Jose?”
Developers can choose from a library of hundreds of content domains or they can create custom domains to meet the unique needs of their users. Learn more about SoundHound’s public, private, and customizable content domains.
As the leading innovator of conversational intelligence, SoundHound has built extensive libraries of content domains that speed voice AI rollouts and lowers the cost.
Large language models have significantly reduced the costs of implementing and deploying virtual agents by automating the process of creating conversational interfaces. In the past, companies would need to hire a team of developers, designers, and content writers to create a virtual agent from scratch, which could take several months or even years.
However, with the advent of large language models such as SoundHound, Bard, & OpenAI, developers can use pre-trained models to build conversational agents quickly and with minimal coding.
Large language models have also made it easier to deploy virtual agents across multiple channels.
Developers can create one conversational agent and then deploy it across multiple platforms such as websites, social media, messaging apps, and voice assistants. This has eliminated the need to develop and maintain separate conversational interfaces for each channel, which can be costly and time-consuming.
While there are costs associated with implementing and optimizing AI customer service voice assistants, there are also costs associated with not deploying them.
One of the biggest costs is the workload on human agents. Without voice assistants, human agents in call centers need to handle all customer inquiries themselves, which is time-consuming and costly.
Additionally, trained labor resources with expertise to provide high-level customer service consistently are scarce, making it even more critical to use intelligent virtual assistants to reduce the workload on live agents.
By deploying AI-enabled virtual agents, businesses can automate basic inquiries, allowing live agents to focus on more complex issues.
This not only reduces the workload on live agents, but it also ensures that customers receive faster and more efficient service. Furthermore, voice assistants can handle a higher volume of inquiries than live agents, reducing the need for businesses to hire additional staff during peak times.
Voice-enabled virtual agents are becoming increasingly valuable in delivering a branded and differentiated experience consistently across different channels. With more customers engaging via phone, web, and mobile devices, virtual agents can provide a convenient and personalized way of interacting with a brand. They offer a hands-free alternative to typing, allowing customers to multitask while they interact with the service.
At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice. Explore the SoundHound Voice AI for Contact Centers platform to learn more. Want to speak to an expert or request a demo? Talk to us about how we can help bring your voice strategy to life.
At SoundHound, we have all the tools and expertise needed to create custom voice assistants and a consistent brand voice.