Voice Summit Madrid 2019 - Voice Assistant and Call Center, the perfect couple

Our colleague's Elena Martínez and Rocío de Torres attended last Friday's Voice Summit 2019 event in Madrid and they have undoubtedly taken a lot of a very intense day.

They presented a real case of an important client hotel chain which both technology and design were combined to generate a product that met the needs of the client.

The challenge: implement a virtual assistant with the aim of improving it’s customer service and optimizing costs of its call center. For this reason, when we first started with the  development of the Voice Assistant, we worked with those cases of use that didn’t generate a direct income to the hotel chain (for example: calls asking for a hotel telephone, addresses or availability information or even price ) and thus be more effective and save costs.

We faced two major challenges

Technological:  we created and developed what we call the "orchestrator", that black box that is responsible for, among other things:

  • The natural language processing that is bidirectional: Speech to text, text to speech.
  • The assistant is the new first point of contact with the client and we leave behind the IVR system that call centers usually have.
  • Integration with a Salesforce CRM or similar to maintain traceability and so, if we jump to an agent in the conversation, have all the history.
  • The integration with the telephone management system of the call center.
  • The training of intentions.

Design of conversational flow: It was challenging because we had to merge both the design and the technological development, but also because of the adaptation process that all the design teams had to make, from graphic design to a voice experience design was in a way challenging.

On the design side, we have the presence of our UX designer, UI & CX Designer, Rocío de Torres. Her personal experience as a designer and the constant evolution that the sector has suffered has meant that she has to adapt to the new needs that have arisen. In addition, she has relied on agile methodologies promoted by Emergya Digital, such as Design Thinking.

The Keys of Conversational Design

By completely eliminating the visual part of the equation and focusing on the "conversation" part with the user, the approach seems to be totally different. However, the foundations of the design are similar or follow common patterns that allow that agility, if the knowledge base on which it is based is adequate. That is, the pillars remain the same because we keep trying to communicate what changes are the channel, which goes from being visual to being verbal and we go from designing with boxes to designing with words.

"What changes is the channel, which goes from being visual to being verbal"

To build a good product we need 3 main characteristics:

  1. Personality guide: is the document that describes the general rules that the assistant has to fulfill. It describes, for example, the personality of the assistant, the type of tone and voice, the structure of the messages, the good or bad uses, etc.

  2. Diagram: is the diagram that describes each flow and considers all the possibilities of the conversation. It is divided by user stories and by sprint and is the main communication tool with the development team next to the script.

  3. Script: is the document where the specific phrases that the assistant will use in each case are specified. They are linked to the diagram with labels that list the user stories. In this document, we also consider all the possible training phrases for the assistant to learn.

Based on them, we began to design the product with a workshop in which we looked for the definition of the needs of the assistant, the empathy with the client and with the business and the understanding and knowledge of the behavior of our target audience: the final user of the product.

Before this workshop, we work on our own the diagram flow of the most relevant case and we present it during the session, which facilitates the conversation of the stakeholders, allows us to devise different ways that the conversation can take place and allows the user to be placed in the focus of conversation with stakeholders.

We use archetypes, we ask ourselves how those people would communicate with our assistant, and we define the different use cases, flows, epics and a backlog that we keep alive sprint to sprint, building little by little as we go deeper into each specific use case. For that more specific process of definition and polishing of each concrete flow we are constantly getting to know the user through two tools in collaboration with the call center:

  1. The eavesdropping or recorded conversations

  2. The interviews we do with the agents who currently handle those calls.

If you have any questions or want to tell us about a project, do not hesitate to click here and we will be happy to help you.

 

 

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