Voice versus text.

Arguments and discussions on which of the two is more advantageous have been perennial. Preferences for both voice and chatbots are mostly industry and geo-specific. While chat is convenient for emerging markets, voice continues to be the largest contact channel preferred by users in geographies like North America and Europe. But, is there a real winner?

It has been estimated that more than 80% of businesses today have automated their customer service conversations in some way. Chatbots have played a major role in this and, given the rise of advanced speech recognition technologies, voicebots are fast gaining traction to become the most chosen customer self-service tool.

What are voicebots?

A voicebot is a virtual conversational agent that enables communication with a customer only via voice.

Voicebots ingest, analyze, interpret, and respond to customers in natural language, with the objective of answering the customer’s query in real-time, with a meaningful verbal exchange. If the voicebot is unable to answer a customer query, it passes the call to a human agent to deliver additional support.

Unlike chatbots, voicebots require added speech recognition and speech synthesis abilities. Voicebots have to understand customer requests and determine the query’s intent. This critical factor directly impacts the accuracy of a voicebot’s response. To achieve this, voicebots synthesize a voice request, convert it into text for processing, and again deliver an accurate vocal response in return—all within seconds.

Furthermore, voicebots must be able to access caller or user data to provide more pertinent and personalized responses; this data includes the caller’s age, gender, purchase history, etc. To know in detail about the challenges and considerations in designing and building a voicebot, read our previous blog here.

What is the key difference between voicebots and chatbots?

A growing number of companies have started using chatbots to deliver better customer service today. They simulate real-life human communication through chat or voicebots to streamline the customer journey and reduce the contact density. In fact, a Juniper Research study says that chatbots are expected to bring cost savings of more than $8 billion per year by 2022, in the banking and healthcare sectors alone.

The growing popularity of chatbots is simply a precursor to the impending pervasiveness of voicebots in the customer service experience. While both chatbots and voicebots serve the same purpose – to engage with customers in dynamic and extremely personalized conversations – the biggest difference, however, is the inherent accessibility of voicebots: a request can be made completely hands-free, without the need to manually input text. And considering how voice search, for instance, is becoming a bigger trend today, it won’t be too long before voice-based customer service through voicebots will be widely prevalent.

Why are voicebots becoming brand favorites?

The shift towards voice

The key driver of the shift towards voice UI is attributed to the evolving user demands. More specifically, millennial consumers demonstrate increased awareness and a higher level of comfort in using voice technology. Also, the mass adoption of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives is adding to the shift towards voice. The number of IoT devices such as smart appliances and speakers are giving voice assistants more value in the everyday life of a connected user.

The swift evolution of speech and voice recognition technologies has caught the attention of several large enterprises like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. The tech giants anticipate that the voice assistant market will be driven by the extensive adoption of connected devices, which is projected to be over $20 billion in the next five years.

The convenience of giving simple voice commands to get answers or information is a big reason why many brands and businesses are keen to engage with customers—and also allow them to make purchases—via voice-enabled technologies. Also, the growing popularity of voice search and how users find and take action on information clearly indicates that voicebots will hugely impact the overall customer experience in the future.

The impact that voicebots create on customer service experience

Customer satisfaction is a persistent challenge for all businesses. The best way to accomplish it is by offering customer support solutions that meet the needs of today’s customers – speed and autonomy. Users don’t have to wait in line to speak with a customer service agent or call only during call center business hours. The instantaneous bot-driven interactions greatly improve the overall customer service experience.

Voicebots undeniably provide the benefit in terms of speed and immediacy, helping users to avoid typing their questions or requests. On average, we type 53.5 words per minute, whereas we can speak around 161 words per minute—over three times the number of words we can type! Hence, voicebots live up to the promise of engaging in real-time customer service interactions with very little or no downtime.

When it comes to autonomy, voicebots are basically customer self-service tools. They reduce the number of contacts to customer service agents via email, chat, or phone. It also helps customers with special needs — for instance, those with difficulties in reading small type font on a screen can find the information they need in the simplest way possible.

Voicebots are perfect multi-tasking customer service tools. Because of the fact that the commands are voice-based alone, customers can engage in customer service interactions even while going about their everyday routine – say driving or cooking.

Personalized customer relationships

Voice-based customer interactions create new opportunities to deliver better personalization. For instance, with voice recognition, voicebots can determine the caller’s gender. Voicebots can quickly validate the customer and use the information like the customer’s history with the brand to deliver tailored responses.

Voicebots add a user-friendly dimension to the overall customer service experience, given the conversational nature of the technology itself. After all, as humans, we are more spontaneous in verbal interactions when compared to premeditated text-based interactions. Although purely by means of technology, this can create a more positive customer service interaction.

Given the fact that voicebots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, even when they fail to respond well to a customer’s needs, they learn from the interaction and begin to contextualize future responses based on the learning. In other words, they are constantly learning and seek ways to deliver better experiences.

Lower customer service contact rate

This is perhaps the biggest benefit that voicebots bring to brands and businesses: they help optimize resources and reduce the overall customer service contact rate by automating simple customer interactions that do not really require human intervention. For instance, AI-powered virtual collection agents can remind customers about payment due dates and overdue.
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This improves recovery rates, and in turn, frees up human agents to dedicate more time and energy to bigger issues or inquiries.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly revolutionizing the customer service experience. Voicebots, building on the momentum created by chatbots, are well on the way to become the new standard in customer service. Are you prepared to adopt the winner into your customer service efforts?


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.
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