Indian telcos bank on AI to boost customer service

AI indian telcos chatbot
Image by Macrovector | Bigstockphoto

Indian telecom operators have reportedly started leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in hopes of improving their customer experience, and in turn reducing subscriber churn and boosting stickiness.

Market leader Reliance Jio has done away with call centres completely in favor of an AI-enabled chatbot, according to a report by the Economic Times newspaper.

Jio’s chatbot has become the initial touchpoint for customer service and handles all queries on its own. However, once the query is segregated by the bot, a service executive is assigned to address the issue.

Jio also uses AI to monitor the amount of customer data usage, as well as time of usage and user location data, to calibrate its network to ensure better coverage in high density and high usage areas.

The chatbot route

Vodafone Idea has also taken the chatbot route, which not only helps with customer queries but also allows customers to make bill payments. The chatbot, named VIC bot, is deployed over WhatsApp.

Vodafone Idea told the newspaper that AI and data science techniques such as machine/deep learning algorithms helped it in several areas such as customer segmentation, targeted marketing, personalised offerings, churn prediction and retention, predictive analytics, chatbot and digital assistant for customer self-service,

The VIC chatbot also integrates Google’s Business Messages (GBM) to provide 24×7 real-time customer service to all smartphone users, Vodafone Idea added.

AI-powered call centres

Airtel has deployed speech recognition software that detects emotions and reactions on a call using speech patterns and tone. This helps it to improve customer interactions and to reduce the hold time, leading to faster resolution.

Airtel has also partnered with Nvidia to develop software to better understand the interactions between agents and customers in order to train the agents for better performance, the report added.

The software currently covers 84% of customer service calls to Airtel’s call centres, and supports calls in Hindi and English. Airtel plans to add other Indian languages to the mix in the coming months.

“We have around 8,000 agents handling 100 million calls a year. We wanted to understand how we can help the agents serve the customers on these calls better, and artificial intelligence was the answer,” Adarsh Nair, chief executive of Airtel Digital, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Related article: A chatbot is supposed to do what Alexa and Siri do – why don’t they?

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