Business Automation Using Voice and Chat Bots

In IT environment of a modern company, a special attention is paid to ensuring easy data use between application and data availability to customers via different communication channels. As the result of development of speech recognition and synthesis technologies, intelligent voice and chat bots are becoming a new tool for business communication with consumers. Stanislav Maslov, Head of the Custom Development, has told why intelligent assistants are so relevant today, and the developers focus on speech-powered delivering true advantages to business.

Why the bots are so relevant?

Today, businesses need to exchange data with a customer using any convenient communication channel at any time. This can be usual forms of communication, such as portal, call center, e-mail or voice and chat bots, which allow getting the relevant information quickly and in a convenient way.

As for the call centers, most of the calls do not require specific skills of interaction with customers, and deep understanding of the services. Therefore, now, the development of voice recognition and speech synthesis technologies, enables us to build far more functional solutions and scenarios. In case when we need retrieve standard information, the call center operator is replaced by an artificial robot.

Today’s technology empower us to synthesize speech almost indistinguishable from ordinary human speech, and the communication itself goes to such a level that, when calling the hotline, it is not always possible to understand who is talking — a human or a robot. Since the speed of response, as well as quality of speech synthesis, is high, there is a feeling that you are talking to a real person.

Who could be interested?

The introduction of voice assistants may be favorable for almost any company communicating with customers processing standard requests on a regular basis. And it does not matter whether the customer operates its own call center or uses other ways to exchange information. Voice "operators" can work on both incoming and outcoming calls, and the right approach to implementation will help to build the process even where such channels of communication have not been used before. As for the use scenarios, it may be used by large telecommunications companies, financial, energy sales organizations, retailers, as well as medium and small-sized companies.

Ecosystem of robotics back-office

Since Softline deals with robotics and business automation, the use of chat bots is seen as an entry point for the business process automation. It means providing end-to-end automation and creating a full-fledged ecosystem, which implies not only transformations at the level of incoming operations and communication with customers, but also automation of the back office, which is responsible for processing information recognized in the calls with the customers.

The robotics ecosystem allows for automation of the entire back office, starting from receipt of requests via various channels (in addition to voice chat bots, these are phone, e-mail, external Internet websites) and ending with further processing of requests. This is achieved through the use of various technologies interacting with each other and forming a single environment. In addition to the usual automation in the backend at the level of specialized information systems, we use RPA-technologies, integrate systems based on data bus, create corporate portals and implement BPM-systems (business process automation). Owing to the use of several integrated systems, it is possible to "extend" omnichannel to internal operations and to ensure their continuous performance.

What should voice assistant developers focus on?

In the modern world, time is highly valued, and no one is willing to wait even 5 minutes for the operator to reply. Everyone is eager to get information here and now. The volume of robotic call processing can scaled much easier compared to human operators, and one purchase of additional licenses can eliminate queues and ensure prompt response. As for chat bots, the response comes instantly if it is a common request, while the human operator can focus on processing complicated requests that robots cannot cope with.

Currently, the issue of recognition quality becomes more and more important. And as speech-to-text recognition technologies have advanced, the task of correct understanding and building the logic of robot-to-human communication is becoming increasingly important. However, there are many specific points here.

Due to the specific nature and richness of the Russian language, there can be many answers to the same question. For example, "Да нет" (Yes no) means "no", which is quite problematic to explain to the robot. In Russian, there are also different forms of vocabulary: older people are used to answer clearly, while young people can answer in slang, by shortening words. And all these nuances of teaching a bot to understand speech are solved by analysts who, based on the experience and conversation scripts, accumulate information and enrich the robot's algorithm allowing it to recognize human intentions with a better accuracy. Sometimes it is simple when the reply assumes only "yes" or "no", and sometimes it is more difficult, and then services of the so-called NLP (Natural Language Processing), which allow understanding the essence of the speech, are used to help.

Chatbots advantages for business?

If a customer is served quickly and efficiently (and, what is event more importantly, from the first attempt) and the robot understands him or her correctly and provides him/her with necessary information, it certainly increases customer loyalty to the company. Omnichannelled access allows you getting necessary information in a convenient place and time. The robot recognizes you on the phone or in an instant messenger, when you log in to the website in your personal account, which also helps to bring the level of relations with the customer to a new level.

What about economic effects?

First, it helps to reduce the cost of maintaining call centers. There are direct payroll fund savings due to the fact that you do not need a large staff of operators. Indirect savings are achieved by eliminating the need for regular training of all employees. Only one bot is trained, and then this knowledge is scaled to all other robots. The customer also benefits from the associated maintaining call centers costs, such as rent and maintenance of workplaces.

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Stanislav Maslov
Head of Direction, Technological presale division

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