Today, ‘business as usual’ means adapting to the ‘new normal.’

As much as we have begun to despise these overused phrases, let’s face it – everyday life now versus a few months ago is starkly different. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses across verticals to take on challenges that they had never faced before.

Where does that leave call centers? They want to cater to customer expectations, adhere to public health guidelines, and safeguard their employees. Regrettably, many businesses have shut down their call centers completely. Some have started providing customer support during the pandemic with a remote workforce.

Today, it’s COVID-19. Tomorrow could be something else that could trigger global or regional uncertainty. If there is one important message that the pandemic has given to call centers and the world in general, it is the need for preparedness and agility.

Artificial intelligence and voice automation can offer this and much more, to help the customer support industry sail through the COVID crisis. Agara is an AI-powered virtual agent that enables global brands and contact centers to power autonomous telephonic conversations and offer instant, on-demand customer service.

In this blog, we highlight the five critical issues faced by call center heads to continue offering customer support during the pandemic; and indeed, Agara has the answers.

1. How can I handle the sudden surge in call volumes?
The continuous disruption of daily life has resulted in a 3X-4X increase in the number of inquiries. There is a surge particularly with requests related to payment extensions, stocks, travel cancellations, unemployment benefits, etc., with varying levels of urgency. Some industries are facing new customer intents purely related to COVID-19.

Agara offers 100% autonomous call resolution
Agara does this by intelligently triaging high call volumes and quickly resolves a large number of support queries autonomously. Unlike the previous generations of IVRs, Agara understands natural language and allows customers to converse as if they’re speaking with a human agent.

For queries that require human agents, Agara automates internal customer support processes to free up agent-time to remain more customer-focused.

2. How to redistribute repetitive queries to control call wait time?
Call centers providing customer support during the pandemic face repetitive queries, often connected to the crisis and its impact on the individuals or their businesses. This fact is echoed throughout the industry —the result is extended wait times and annoyed customers. The result of long wait times leads to a bigger disaster: customer churn.

Agara guarantees Zero Wait Time for 100% of the calls it handles.
Customers can phrase questions in any number of different ways, but the intent might be the same each time. Taking the travel industry as an example, let’s say customers are trying to check their flight status. They might say:

  •       Check flight cancel status.
  •       Why is my flight canceled?
  •       Is my upcoming flight canceled?
  •       Is my flight canceled?
  •       Did my flight get canceled?

Agara’s voice automation and advanced natural language processing capabilities understand the collective intent behind all such queries, providing better customer experience without involving a human agent.

3. How to manage customer anxiety?
Customers are understandably anxious and are looking for reassurance and accurate information. Articles suggest that 61% of customers prefer to call for support rather than use other channels like chat. This is because they want to be listened to and have the opportunity to ask, reason, or negotiate.

Agara offers a conversational experience, with the same intent as human agents.
Agara communicates in real-time and responds to complex multi-turn conversations by adapting to a customer’s tone and sentiment, just like well-trained agents. Agara’s advanced NLP engine extracts information from spoken language accurately. It combines the understanding of human intent with customer data offering human-like, personalized responses in every conversation.

4. How can I keep up workforce productivity and operational efficiency?
In a crisis like COVID-19, where running short-staffed is a given, customer-facing businesses inevitably have to hire temps. This creates the risk of providing wrong information to customers, leading to compliance issues and inconsistent customer experience. If another department staff is deployed to handle calls, it naturally takes away the time from their actual job. Providing necessary tools and secure networks for remote workers adds to the challenge of providing consistent customer support during the pandemic. 

Agara’s guided conversations for greater productivity and efficiency
While training agents take time, Agara needs to be trained or customized just once. The voice automation solution can scale up to any requirements, assume the role of multiple agents at a single time, and handle thousands of calls simultaneously. Many global customer-facing brands that use Agara, witness more than a 30% increase in operational efficiency and save up to 80% on support costs.

It guides conversations in the right direction, prompting the callers to get back to the relevant subject in case of deviations – This saves enormous call-handling time. Agara has the capability to transcribe the entire call and takes notes and summaries in real-time. Meaningful analytics and reporting features can help effectively and accurately manage customer service based on relevant KPIs.

5. What are the privacy implications of voice automation?
Although call center business heads understand the opportunity that autonomous calls offer, they are evidently concerned about their data and conversations when handled by the voice bot. They want to know what happens to the voice once the voice AI platform listens, processes and responds. A recent survey indicates that 41% of voice-assistant users expressed privacy concerns.

Agara gives much-needed confidence when it comes to data privacy and security
Agara makes it very clear to users about what it does with their data. Agara adheres to enterprise-grade security and encryption protocols to ensure that customer data is secure, and always remains under the control of the company that uses Agara to deliver customer support.

Agara user experience is one that gives confidence, regardless of the level of the customer’s technical ability or experience. With Agara, users can set their privacy preferences, along with the ability to keep or delete data and history whenever required.


Agara’s ability to handle nuanced conversations and provide highly personalized behavior makes it one of the most advanced Real-time Voice AI products anywhere. Learn how Real-time Voice AI can help you deliver the best experience for your customers. Click here to Schedule a demo. In case of any queries, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]