4 March 2021

On the ČSOB customer service line, calls are handled by AI from VOCALLS

At the ČSOB Customer Service Center, customer requests are now handled by a voicebot, that is a virtual AI-based voice assistant. It has replaced selection by voice (IVR) and has resulted in happier customers and operators. Over 120,000 customers have already used the service and the vast majority of them have reported satisfaction. The voicebot is a solution from Vocalls, a conversational AI company which delivers its solutions to multinational enterprises as well as medium-sized and small businesses.

The outdated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system offers pre-defined areas to callers and forces them to select the area they are calling about by pressing a button. The customer thus places himself in a specific group of operators. IVR is a widespread but unpopular method of customer service that has been used by companies since the 1970s.

“We want to be the most affordable bank on the Czech market and the first choice for our clients. We have therefore replaced the traditional automated voice system IVR with an intelligent voicebot. The customer experience is incomparable because the voice assistant responds and speaks as if it were alive,”

says Jan Sadil, member of the Board of Directors of ČSOB.

How can we tell that IVR is not working for our customers?

  • They're pressing the option buttons before they listen to all the options.
  • They choose the wrong option because they can't place their request correctly, and they are transferred to the wrong operator.
  • Sometimes they have trouble viewing the keypad on their smartphones during a call.
  • They choose to be transferred to an operator without selecting a request category.

How does the voicebot work?

Unlike the IVR system, a voicebot can understand human speech and can hold a conversation with a person. On customer service lines, it can handle the customer’s request all by itself, or it can listen to the customer’s question and transfer them to the correct operator. For customers, this makes communication much more natural and also saves time. This is why you will hear virtual assistants on customer service lines more and more often.

What makes a voicebot better than IVR

  • It’s actively listening. The caller doesn't have to think about what area their request belongs to, they just need to express their request or the problem they are calling about.
  • It refines reporting. In the case of the ČSOB line, it can distinguish more than 120 different types of requests.
  • It saves costs and time. The voicebot can resolve some routine requests completely on its own, giving operators the space to deal with more complex queries.
  • It even understands inaccuracies. For example, some people call a debit card a “credit card”. With the right conversation design and artificial intelligence, the voicebot can handle this.

“In the case of the open-ended question ‘What can we do for you?’ we are reaching a success rate of around 90% with the voicebot across 120 different types of product areas. Even so, we are constantly improving the virtual assistant.”

Martin Čermák, CTO of Vocalls.

Result of deploying a voicebot in a customer service center

The deployment of the virtual assistant has reduced transfers between operators. When a caller is transferred from one operator to another, both operators are blocked unnecessarily. At the same time, one of them could handle the call of another caller. Also, it saves the cost of the call itself, which is shorter, as well as lowering the stress levels of the customer, since they are connected to the right operator faster.

ČSOB has also expanded the number of product areas about which people call from the original 30 to the current 120. This allows them to understand their customers’ thinking and problems much better and respond appropriately to them, for example by adjusting necessary processes as needed. This allows them to continuously improve the customer experience.

The virtual voice assistant works on the free information line 800 300 300 or when a verified call is made from Smartbanking, ČSOB’s online banking. Over 120,000 customers have used the virtual assistant’s services and the vast majority have reported satisfaction.

March 2021

When to automate a voicebot call?

Experience from Vocalls shows that 30 to 70% of incoming calls can be automated. Typically these are routine calls such as blocking a card, setting up a loan, checking the status of an order or reporting an insurance claim. Outbound calls can also be automated. Companies use virtual assistants for customer experience surveys (NPS), payment reminders or job interviews.

1st place

Czech Contact Center Awards

Technology, 2019

1st place

Czech Contact Center Awards

Clients, 2020