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Combining Chatbots and Voice for Omnichannel Experiences

By Liam Ryan, Sales Director

Last week Creative Virtual joined our partner Spitch as co-sponsors of The European Chatbot & Conversational AI Summit. The event was 100% virtual this year and featured two afternoons of various presentations, workshops, and panel debates. While being virtual is never quite the same as talking with someone face-to-face, it was great to see so many thought-provoking exchanges on the Discussion board and interesting questions asked by attendees during the sessions.

I teamed up with Gary Williams from Spitch to present on Day 1 of the Summit. Our session, The Omnichannel Solution: Chatbots + Voice, explored combining natural language chatbots with speech recognition capabilities to create powerful voicebot solutions. We shared some industry research from ContactBabel that showed 85% of CX professionals identified creating omnichannel/connected journeys as very or somewhat important to their strategies in the next two years (download the full report here). It’s no secret that customers want and expect an omnichannel support experience.

The tight integration of chatbots and voice creates a seamless journey as users switch between channels to help you deliver that connected experience. Gary and I shared two example voicebot use cases, one for customer support and one for employee support, that showed how the user could start a process on one channel and complete it on another in a smooth, seamless way.

For those interested in getting started with their own voicebot project, we ended our session with three important tips:

  1. Work with experienced vendors – Today’s market is crowded with new start-ups and inexperienced providers. You want to work with vendors that already have proven experience with both deploying and maintaining these solutions in your industry or sector. By partnering with experts, you immediately benefit from their experience. They can help you avoid common pitfalls, guide you on best practices, and ensure compliance with industry requirements and regulations.
  2. Select reliable technologies – This is why Creative Virtual and Spitch have partnered on voicebot solutions. We both bring years of expertise and documented results for each of our respective technologies. Be cautious about vendors that have attempted to tack on their own poorly developed chatbot or voice technologies to their main solution just so they can shout ‘Me too!’ You want technologies that are secure, can scale to current and future requirements, offer the hosting options you need, and will give you reliable results.
  3. Understand the integration options – When it comes to integrations, you need to first make sure there is a deep, seamless integration of the chatbot and speech technology to have a successful voicebot. Then consider what other integrations you are going to need to create a personalised user experience. You want a solution that can easily integrate with any existing content sources, backend systems, CRMs, other communication channels, etc. so that you can create a custom experience and connected journey.

If you’re interested in learning more about voicebots, schedule a demo to see these solutions in action and discuss possible use cases. You can also read more about the Creative Virtual and Spitch collaboration in our integration overview.

Thanks to Gary and Spitch for their event partnership and to The European Chatbot & Conversational AI Summit organisers and attendees for two days of great virtual content!

Customer Service and the Voice of Your Customers and Team

By Katrin Zieren, Business Development Consultant

V-Person from Creative VirtualThe communication habits of your customers have changed and are changing yet. They are increasingly using voice for entries rather than typing. They are speaking into their mobile devices to create messages on apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram, asking their search engine for information or giving commands to smart speakers like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Or – wow, this is amazing 😉 – they are using their mobile phone to call your service centre.

What’s the impact on your customer service? It’s not complicated. Just consider voice as part of your strategy when you want to offer self-service, whether if it is for your clients or your team.

The good news is that the natural language understanding (NLU) solution of Creative Virtual, or let’s say “the brain of your self-service supply”, does not really care about the input type. It is processing text and there are different possibilities to convert speech to text (STT) and text to speech (TTS).

Now, let’s take a look at the different possibilities of speech conversion:

mobile virtual agentOn mobile devices, speech recognition and language generation are built-in features under full customer control and no further integration is needed.  So, if you have, for example, a chatbot on your website, users can use the voice capabilities of their mobile device to ask their question. You don’t have to consider anything. The device converts speech to text and the outcome is the same as if the user would type into the entry box.

 

smart speaker chatbotA variety of smart speakers, like Alexa, Cortana or Google Home, can be integrated with our self-service virtual agents. For example, Virtual Agent Roger for Rest is available on the web as well as through Google Home. The Virtual Agent for Transport for NSW uses Alexa to let the user know if there are any issues on their commute at that time.

 

contact center agent assist

If you want to offer phone as a contact point for self-service, you need STT and TTS. We have a very big partner network for this technology, and can integrate with any other third-party system of your choice, provided they have a full featured API. Also, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and avatars with lip synchronisation are covered by our partners.

 

So this Customer Service Week, make sure your support strategy fits with your users’ communication habits. Are you enabling them to self-serve within their channel and language modus of choice?

If you want to learn more about our voice solutions, just schedule a live demo with us.

A Partnership for Industry-Leading Voicebot Solutions

By Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy UK and Ireland, Spitch

When Mandy Reed invited me to do a guest blog, I was quite honoured and of course jumped at the chance, so Thank You once again Mandy. The significance of this post is that it coincides with the announcement of a partnership between Creative Virtual and Spitch, something that I am very proud of to say the least.

…but just who on earth are Spitch I hear you say …

So, for those of you, like me, who hate overblown corporate presentations, here is the miniaturised version:

  • 6 years old, HQ in Zurich with offices in Milan, London, Madrid and Moscow
  • Technology – Speech Recognition, A.I., NLP/ NLU, Voice Analytics, Voice Biometrics
  • Solution areas – Omnichannel, self-service, IVR call steering, compliance monitoring, voice identification and much much more
  • Cloud-based OR on-premise (Spitch OR partner hosted)
  • High level, easy-to-use full suite of development tools
  • Multi-language support

That’s just a flavour, but I hope you’ve taken it all in as I will be asking questions later! 🙂

Of course, a glance through the above resume will show that we are a business focused on delivering solutions based upon speech recognition technology and although the word ‘synergy’ is overused in this day and age, it exists in abundance between our two companies. Both are strong innovators who constantly drive their businesses to provide solutions which are simple to use but packing a punch in terms of ability to solve real world business problems whilst delighting the end users – that magical CX factor that so many companies drone on about but few manage to harness with their offerings.

“Sweet Sixteen” was how Chris Ezekiel recently referred to Creative Virtual’s latest anniversary and what a sweet sixteen it has turned out to be with significant numbers of high-profile customers and accolades to match along its path to success. Spitch is young by comparison but already punching way above its weight with some customer profiles that even our largest competitors would be more than proud to showcase. What we lack in years of existence as a company we can more than compensate for – sadly – in age. Joking aside, many of the team having racked up half a lifetime of experience in aspects of speech technology including business, support, development and R&D.

Hopefully by now you’ve got the gist of my tone that I am very excited about this partnership and looking forward to working with Chris, Liam, Mandy and the wider team.  The same is echoed from the Spitch side who are very keen to get fully engaged on the opportunities that have already started to emerge.  Watch this space…

Check out our V-Person™ and Spitch integration overview to learn more about how we’re bringing our technologies together to deliver industry-leading voicebot solutions.