Vodafone upgrades customer service with AI and speech recognition technology

Ever get frustrated when you can’t talk to a real person? Vodafone’s answer to this won’t be adding real people but rather AI-powered chat bots and smart speech recognition tools as a way of improving the customer experience.

The new service will be called TOBi and will use Google Cloud’s DialogFlow and Genesys Multicloud to improve the customer service journey and resolve queries in record time.

It is the first phase of Vodafone’s new Natural Language Processing (NLP) speech Interactive Voice Response (IVR) on its customer care channel.

This technology uses AI to comprehend the customer, understand the issue and either solving it or escalate it to a human customer care agent.

Early trials with the technology kicked off in April 2021 with 70 per cent of enquires through Vodafone’s digital channels resolved by directing customers to the appropriate digital service application.

The remaining 30 per cent was handled by real people.

But even those passed on to humans include detailed insights on the customer’s needs and the context of their inquiry which was gathered by TOBi using AI.

With Interactive Voice Response, customers can talk like they would to a real person instead of navigating long and tedious menus.

Vodafone has reported a 94 per cent match rate of a customers to the correct agent or resource despite the variations in accents, tones of voice and pronunciations.

The next phase of NLP will be rolled out later in the year and will enable customers to complete end to end enquiries without even speaking to a human.

This will include customer calls to change their plans and upgrade their handsets.

“By using AI virtual assistants, predictive analytics and natural language processing we are taking out some of the most common pain points customers experience while also delivering a fast, simple, and frictionless digital customer experience,” says TPG Telecom General Manager Customer Care, Virginia Papinyan.

“Every minute of a customer’s time is precious, and that’s why we are committed to doing everything we can to remove the frustration of long wait times or lengthy searching for relevant answers. TOBi and our NLP speech IVR delivers efficient customer support through offering immediate, relevant assistance, 24/7.

“By partnering with Google Cloud and Genesys to deliver these innovations, we are demonstrating that we are at the forefront of using customer friendly, intuitive technology solutions to keep our customers happy and our customer care agents more engaged.”

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