Vocodia’s Conversational AI Eliminates Call Center Hold Times – USA TODAY

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Nobody likes being put on hold when on the phone with a call center, as it makes them feel unimportant and it is a waste of their time. After a few minutes on hold, a customer may start becoming annoyed, which leads to an overall worse experience for all parties involved. Unfortunately, because the average person spends around 40 days of their life on hold, many think that being put on hold is something as certain as death and taxes.  


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Vocodia, a Florida-headquartered conversational artificial intelligence company, disagrees. Being put on hold should not be an indisputable fact of life, and Vocodia has developed a proprietary AI solution for enterprise contact centers that eliminates the need to put their customers on hold. This results in quicker resolution of customer concerns and a better overall customer experience. 

Imagine this: a major winter storm hits New York, and dozens of flights are canceled. Hundreds or even thousands of customers will be simultaneously calling the airline to reschedule their flights. The airline’s call center is overwhelmed, and customers have to wait on hold for two hours before getting on the line with an agent who will rebook their flights. The customers, who have already been inconvenienced by the weather and may be stranded at the airport, are wasting even more time on hold. This angers them and they post about it on social media, and it goes viral, creating a PR and reputational nightmare that the airline must solve – incurring additional costs on top of the losses caused by the storm. 

According to Vocodia Co-Founder and CEO Brian Podolak, an airline that uses Vocodia’s solution will be able to ensure that all customers’ rebooking requests are immediately processed. The airline can also be proactive and use the AI to call customers and inform them that their flight has been canceled, while initiating the rebooking process. 

Having managed offshore call centers with thousands of agents for almost two decades, Podolak and co-founder Jimmy Sposato know the importance of quick resolution of customer concerns as hallmarks of good customer service. According to Podolak, there are two KPIs that call centers use in this regard, where Vocodia can help.  

“First call resolution (FCR) measures how many customer tickets are closed within the first call,” he says. “The way most traditional call centers work is that there are tier-1 agents that can handle basic concerns, but for complicated concerns, they escalate the issue to a tier-2 agent, and the customer is put on hold or instructed to wait for a call. Vocodia’s AI combines both tiers, allowing more concerns to be resolved on the first call. The second important stat is average handling time. As the AI is straight to the point, never goes off script, and works 24/7/365, this means things get done faster.” 

How does Vocodia do this? 

Vocodia works by creating Digital Intelligent Sales Agents (DISAs) for its clients, an AI-powered program that can handle all of the client’s sales and customer support channels, whether via calls, emails, or text messaging. This program is specifically trained using the enterprise’s data and recordings of previous calls, allowing it to fit seamlessly into the workflow. It uses a proprietary combination of generative and non-generative AI, such as natural language understanding (NLU). 

By having DISAs, businesses will be able to handle even a large number of calls without putting customers on hold for a long time before they are able to speak to an agent. DISAs speak with natural-sounding voices but will acknowledge that they are an AI. Podolak says that, even if customers know that they are speaking to an AI, it’s still better than being put on hold for hours, since they know that their concerns are being processed and, in many cases, are resolved in a matter of minutes.  

By using DISAs, businesses will always have the right number of staff, regardless of season or situation. Take for example a flower delivery service. For the two largest occasions for flower deliveries – Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day – the company is swamped with orders. Vocodia allows the business to accommodate the increased volume during those occasions without having to onboard temporary staff. Furthermore, Vocodia’s DISAs are available in 55 major languages and are able to distinguish between and support different accents. 

Despite the huge advances that Vocodia and DISAs bring, it’s not a complete 100% replacement for human agents. Instead, it allows businesses to retain their best staff, allowing them to focus on resolving unique and highly specialized issues that require human attention. Because DISAs are hosted on the cloud, it reduces the data theft and fraud risk associated with some offshore call centers. 

The story behind Vocodia 

The initial idea behind Vocodia goes back to 2007, when Podolak was managing a call center in Costa Rica. During one particular campaign, there was rampant employee turnover due to a high number of irate customers. To deflect the customers’ anger, they had the agents pre-record parts of their script and play them by pressing buttons on their keyboard. After a while, Podolak thought about fully automating the process, but the technology wasn’t quite there yet. 

Several years ago, Podolak and Sposato saw Google’s demonstration of its AI technology making a call to a hairdresser on behalf of the user. Podolak recalled their earlier issue at the call center, and the two set to work to create a similar concept, but focused on special use cases, such as sales, customer service, tech support, and surveys. Thus, Vocodia and DISAs were born. 

“Vocodia’s mission is to give our customer’s customers a better experience,” Podolak says. “People are sick and tired of being put on hold or taking several calls just to resolve a simple issue. With the use of our AI-powered DISAs, hold times can now be a thing of the past. If our customers’ customers are happy, then our customers are happy. And that makes us happy, as well.” 

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