LIVE WEBINAR! Contact center staffing in the midst of great resignation: How voice AI can help

Register here
  1. Blog
  2. /
  3. Virtual agents
  4. /
  5. When to use voicebots vs. chatbots

When to use voicebots rather than chatbots should be based on how customers will use your automated services.

Both voicebots and chatbots can employ conversational AI to automate customer interactions. With chatbots,  customers use a GUI (graphical user interface) to interact with a bot, whereas customers interact with a voicebot over the phone or any voice-enabled device.

Automation offers many benefits that can help improve customer service. Automated services can :

  • help reduce call waiting times
  • handle many repetitive tasks
  • freeing up human agents to deal with more complex customer issues at the call center
  •  offer customers 24/7 service.

So when should voicebots be used over chatbots? From a user experience design perspective, the answer lies with what type of user interaction model applies to your service or business.

What’s your user interaction model?

A user interaction model describes the way your customers interact with a service provided by your business. Your service could offer multiple ways for your customers to interact with it.

For example, hair salon group Jean Louis David uses Talkie.ai virtual assistants to allow customers to make and change appointments 24/7, 365 days a year, automating the most frequent customer phone transactions.

Customers expect that the help line is always available when they need it – including the evenings and holidays. It comes as no surprise that they also do not want to wait long on the line 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

Automation provides a way for customers to reach your business and its services at any time. And not doing so may lead to customer attrition. As this report shows, not being able to speak to a customer service representative and not being able to resolve an issue using self-service both rank in the top 5 list of the most frustrating aspects of poor customer service experience.

When customers prefer to talk, use voicebots

For many businesses, customers simply prefer to call rather than navigate to a webpage or app service to use a chat interface. Voicebots offer a good way to quickly answer a call and route the customer to an appropriate human customer service agent. This is especially useful for large or complex organizations where there are multiple departments or services attached to the contact center where waiting times to connect to a human agent can be lengthy.

As this article reports, the average time to pick up a customer call in 2021 is 8 seconds. For many industries, the waiting time is much longer, having a significant impact on how customers perceive the service and therefore the brand.

Poor customer service experience

There are situations where a customer simply might not have access to the hardware they need to use the chat. They may only be able to call. An example would be for an emergency contact service. A customer can call in their emergency situation and immediately be connected to a virtual agent who can log the call and connect the caller to a responder as soon as they are available.

If you do want to use chatbots as a new channel of communication with your customers, you will need to invest in motivating your customers to use it. If they have previously contacted your business by phone, more effort will be required to transition them to using a chat service. Depending on your business needs, voice assistants might be an easier way to automate the way customers use your services.

The case for chatbots

Voicebots offer a great way of automating the phone lines for your contact center but there are situations where your customers might prefer to interact with a chatbot.

If, for example,  your service usually requires longer interactions where the customer might need to go look up information away from a call, a chatbot might be more suitable than a voicebot. A chatbot allows for asynchronous conversations where a customer can continue the chat at any point rather than staying on the line.

Another situation where chatbots might be more helpful for your customers is when they need to copy and paste information such as licence keys or policy numbers. While a voicebot can parse these, it is quicker, more convenient and more accurate for customers to paste that information into a chat.

Better automated customer service with voicebots

For businesses where customers either prefer (or need) to call rather than use a chat, voicebots offer better automated customer service. When powered with conversational AI technology, voicebots give customers a way to interact naturally with a service over the phone while benefiting from the same kinds of customer service automation offered by chatbots.

And voicebots offer many of the same benefits as chatbots. Voicebots use a text-to-speech engine that creates transcripts of the conversation between the customer and the voicebot which can be logged and reviewed later by the customer service agent or used in global data analysis by the contact center for quality control and management.

To make the best decision about which automation solution to use, work with a UX or CX designer to create customer journeys. Look at the types of things customers are looking to do or achieve at each of your touchpoints. A detailed customer journey will suggest which interaction model is most pertinent, enabling you then to decide which automation solution is most appropriate for that touchpoint.

  • When to use voicebots

    • Customers prefer to call or talk
    • Synchronous interaction with the service preferred
    • No access to a graphical user interface
  • When to use chatbots

    • Customers have access to a graphical user interface such as a chat panel
    • Customers prefer to use the service asynchronously

Start automating your customer service

Talkie.ai is a leading provider of advanced voice automation solutions for businesses.