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  5. AI Voice Assistants Revolutionize Jean Louis David Booking Experience

*** Jean Louis David is the largest hairdressing group in Poland and Europe, and the second-largest in the world. The brand manages a network of over 1000 hair salons in 30 countries, constantly developing through a franchise system.

Customers expect the helpline to be always available when they need it, including evenings and holidays. If a business doesn’t provide fast, around-the-clock support, they become unsatisfied and frustrated. And companies around the world are well aware of the link between satisfied customers and revenue. But for hair salon chains, the connection is even stronger, as every customer who can’t get through to the call center means money lost— if they can’t easily book with you, they will book with a competitor.

Provalliance, Jean Louis David’s owner, knew that not providing 24/7 support and making customers wait on hold meant lost opportunities. That’s why they decided to adjust their booking service to their customers’ needs and implemented a voice assistant with the help of Talkie and Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation.

“Customers expect that the helpline is always available when they need it – including evenings and holidays. It comes as no surprise that they also do not want to wait long on hold to make a booking or get information. Therefore, we decided to adjust our service to the needs of our clients and we implemented a virtual assistant, available at any time of the day and regardless of the number of callers.” – Tomasz Bączyk, member of the Management Board of Provalliance Poland.

AI agent customers want to talk to

Talkie is a conversational AI platform that lets businesses build, train, and manage voice assistants. Supported by Vonage, we implemented a voice assistant that eventually took over 100% of the Jean Louis David contact center traffic. Vonage as an expert in contact center solutions provided the necessary telecommunication infrastructure and international phone numbers, as well as SMS support needed for booking confirmations.

Here’s how the voice assistant works. Customers who call Jean Louis David helpline are connected to an AI agent that is able to understand and communicate using natural language. The experience resembles a conversation between two humans, as customers can speak at their natural pace, interrupt, and backtrack whenever needed.

The voice assistant can schedule, cancel or postpone an appointment at any time of day or night as the system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. As it can talk to multiple customers simultaneously, every call is answered immediately, limiting wait time to zero–which is particularly important during seasonal or daily peaks. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence solutions, the virtual assistant is able to:

  • Recognize and greet a returning customer by their name.
  • Understand what service the customer is interested in and can check if it is available in a particular hair salon.
  • Verify available dates, and if the one provided by the customer is already taken, offer alternative hours or hair salons.
  • Provide information about the services offered and opening hours.
  • Make a reservation in the Jean Louis David internal system and send the client a text message confirming the booking.

A fully automated call center is possible

The key to this implementation’s success was that the experience of talking to the AI agent was even better than talking to a live agent. The voice assistant provides consistently excellent customer experience, doesn’t get bored or frustrated, and is available 24/7.

But as we stand behind the product we provide, we also understand that businesses are afraid of customer pushback and don’t want to risk losing revenue if an implementation turns out to be a flop. That’s why when we roll out a voice assistant, we do it gradually. This gives time to train the bot, even more, using real customer data, while the end-customer can slowly adjust to the new experience.

Jean Louis David’s virtual agent went live in March 2018, working only outside of the standard business hours. The following month, it was working alongside live agents. In May 2018, it became the 1st line support and transferred calls to live agents only when necessary. Finally, in August 2019 it handled 100% of calls, fully automating the Jean Louis David call center. Since then, the voice bot has handled all phone communication while providing zero on-hold time and immediate answers and bookings.  Whenever Jean Louis David adds new locations or services, the bot is adjusted accordingly.

In addition to our low-risk approach to implementation, we give our clients complete transparency in terms of the virtual agent performance. Our platform has built-in reporting features that show users quantitative data, like the number of successful interactions, and qualitative data, so users have access to each call recording and transcript that lets them gain business insight from real customer conversations.

Virtual agents as a part of the client’s ecosystem

While calling a voice assistant is often a preferred way to book appointments, it’s not the only one. Jean Louis David allows their customers to schedule appointments using various channels, for example, through their website. That’s why it’s essential that customer data is not scattered around different apps and platforms but is available to Jean Louis David employees in one central location. That’s why Talkie is integrated with JLD internal systems, so the information collected by the AI agent is easily accessible to everyone, especially employees who work at the salons who often don’t have a technical background.

AI is the future of customer service

A lot of myths have arisen around virtual agents’ capabilities and their impact on customer experience. Jean Louis David’s example is just one of many Talkie implementations that show that strategically used voice AI, can help not only reduce customer service costs but improve customer experience and bring more revenue.

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