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Ok Google! How Do I Build A Voice Bot?

The crucial part of developing the bot, happens long before the developer starts creating the bot flow, and the following are three critical steps to keep in mind during the development stage

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2018 kicked off the emergence of the Voicebot; with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant vying for a prominent spot in new-age homes. Their popularity continues to grow every day, what with these technological advancements making life more convenient and speech being the easier and preferred way to communicate. 

Voice bots can also be really useful in a business environment. Especially in contact centers. Voice bots can save a lot of the agents’ time by performing mundane tasks and letting the agents handle the more important tasks which require human interaction. Voice bots can reduce the load of the agents by being the first point of contact and answering customer queries like status of their support ticket or give information about a product etc. 

A voice bot can be defined as an interactive voice user interface powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP). Several features enable human-like conversations. It can help an organisation’s inbound or outbound call center in several ways. In terms of customer support, a voice bot can be used to help provide self-service. In outbound call centers, voice bots can give dynamic, personalized reminders for payments, past dues, renewals or more.

Voice bots can also be used to tackle FAQ’s, act as an auto-receptionist by guiding the caller to the right customer-support agent, schedule appointments with prospects/leads and confirm a prospect’s readiness/interest to take the call forward etc. In simpler terms, a voice bot can be employed for inbound (customer support) and for outbound (lead generation) calls. 

Voice bots suit the modern lifestyle of today’s consumers. Making available an organisation’s services on such platforms is a sure-shot way to entice customers looking to get things done in the most convenient way and at lesser the time. 

Clearly define the problem that the voice bot will solve 

The most difficult and critical task in designing a voice bot is to define the problem. Do not try to force-fit a solution into the organisation’s setup for the sake of being tech savvy. Instead, think of what problems persist and use technology to solve the problem. Clearly outline what are the questions that can be handled by the bot, what details can it glean from the customer, etc. It is also important to analyse certain aspects of customer support, such as what part of the agent’s conversation is repetitive, what part of the agent’s workflow can be supplemented by using a voice bot etc. 

Decoding your target customer

Once the problem that the voice bot can solve has been defined, the next step is to understand the target audience. It is important to conclude if the target customer is ready for a voice bot. Once this has been affirmed, it is important to define the number and nature of questions that will be handled by the voice bot. 

For example, when customers opt for self-service via a bot, they may be willing to answer a few questions, so that the bot understands their problem. When making a sales call, the prospective customer may be willing to answer only a simple, pertinent question asked by the bot. In neither case can it bother people with deep, multiple levels of questioning. Like a well-trained agent, it should grasp the customer’s issue within 2-3 questions.

The answers too should be short and easily understood by the target audience. The framing and formatting of the questions/conversations depends on the successful understanding of the target audience.

Build your knowledge base 

Typically, the self-service bot takes 1-4 questions to arrive at the problem.  Once the problem has been identified, the next step is to provide an optimum solution. 

The bot must have built up a knowledge base. This knowledge base helps determine what the answer is, and how that answer can be customized. For example, in the self -service bot example, mentioned earlier: A bot may have understood that the problem is not with the product, but a third party. If the third party’s contact is easily available, that is useful data to be shared with the caller, rather than a “please contact Mr. XX” answer. 

Developing the bot 

Once all the required information has been gathered, and a series of questions are developed to identify the customers’ needs, building a bot is easy. There are a number of tools such as Speech Recognition and Intent Analysis, that can easily understand the customer and provide answers. 

The developer will essentially create a flow, decide where to use tools such as speech recognition and intent analysis, then add in personality, maybe using humor or designing replies, filler phrases etc. And in about 12- 20 days, an organisation can have a voice bot created, tested and ready for action.

The crucial part of developing the bot, happens long before the developer starts creating the bot flow, and the following are three critical steps to keep in mind during the development stage: 

  • Confirming the problem and ascertaining whether the audience prefers an automatic voice bot 
  • Designing the questions in such a way that it is not tedious
  • Finding the right knowledge base 

Voice bots are a great way for businesses to use automation and yet connect with their customers at a more human level. They allow effortless voice payments, economize business operations and efficiently meet customer demands. The bots are here and they are taking over your business communications.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Chaitanya Chokkareddy

The author is Chief Innovation Officer, Ozonetel

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