Q&A with Ricardo Marin, Vozy’s CTO, on conversational AI

Ricardo Marin is the CTO at Vozy, a Colombian voice communication platform that helps companies communicate with their customers at scale using voice technologies and conversational AI. 

In this Q&A, Ricardo highlights the challenges and opportunities for voice technology in Latin America.

Q: How do you think conversational AI is changing different industries?

Across all industries, companies communicate with their customers through different channels, text, apps, telephone lines, among other mediums. These forms of communication have a capacity constraint since there are not enough agents to attend to all customers at the same time. Conversational AI proposes a solution by applying machine learning to develop language-based solutions that allow humans to interact naturally with machines. This opens the door to different types of virtual agents that provide customers with the support needed to resolve issues whenever they want. 

On the other hand, it’s important to take into account that these virtual agents are helpful in basic routine tasks that can be automatically completed, and therefore allowing employees to perform more high-value and meaningful work, such as following up on sales leads and helping customers in more complex situations. 

Company-wide conversational AI can have 15 to 70% cost reduction opportunities depending upon the customer channel interactions deflected into AI-enabled channels. It also can identify the most relevant data insights to automatically create custom content for each user and provide service recommendations to customers. 

Q: What are the main challenges and opportunities for conversational AI in Latin America?

Latin America has very diverse Spanish accents and the system has to be trained and adapted to each one of them. This can become a technical challenge since the data needed to train a virtual agent is not easy to obtain. Even though this can affect the overall cost of a conversational AI solution, most corporate companies outsource their communications to providers that have already gathered the data and are using state of the art techniques to create data artificially to overcome these challenges.

It’s estimated that Latin America represents around one-third of the world’s conversational AI market, which was around $4B in 2019. The contact center market in the region is very rich, serving both domestically and internationally where we believe we can have a great opportunity with our solution.How is Vozy making the most of these opportunities in the region?

We are both reaching our customer base directly through our sales team and partnering with big contact centers to build integrated solutions to customers they have. In each country that we are expanding, we create long-lasting partnerships to increase our customers’ reach. In addition to our commercial efforts, we are pushing our product to be more relatable and friendlier to our customers around the region. Out-of-the-box Vozy has 7 different accents (Colombian, Argentinian, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Chilean, and Mexican) which allow us to handle conversations more naturally and to create better customer experiences. Currently, we are focusing on the Spanish market but we are starting to expand into Portuguese.

Q: What is voice biometric authentication?

Voice biometric authentication is a form of security that measures and matches the biometric features of a user to verify that a person trying to access a particular service is authorized to do so, it relies on the unique biological characteristics of an individual to verify his or her identity. Each of the different types of identifiers is considered unique to the individual, and they may be used in combination to ensure greater accuracy of identification. Because biometrics can provide a reasonable level of confidence in authenticating a person with less friction for the user, it has the potential to dramatically improve security. In our case, we use voice as the main identifier to verify users when they access any of our customer services.

Q: How does it work?

At Vozy, we start by enrolling users in our voice biometric service, where we characterize different properties from their voice, from the frequency to the way the user says different words and phonemes. We base our measurements by taking into account that each voice is different and it has particular shapes in the audio waveform when they speak. Later when users access the system, we take those measurements again and compare them with what we have in our database, giving us a clear and objective verification of the user.

Q: What are the advantages of using voice biometric systems?

Usually, in customer service related calls, users have to interact in one way or another with a keypad or a keyboard to authenticate their identity. Using voice biometrics we have the ability to authenticate users in real-time and during a conversation with a virtual agent, creating a streamline experience for the user. It also provides a more accurate identification system, and there is no risk of losing the authentication method.

Q: How is Vozy transforming the customer experience in different industries with conversational AI?

We are creating the most advanced, enterprise-grade, digital contact center. We are changing the customer service landscape by revolutionizing the way companies interact with customers. On the customer side, we are improving their experience, making it more adapted to their needs with an instant solution to their problems. On the company side, we are automating and integrating a solution that can provide them with a better understanding of their users, and reducing costs on the overall customer service process. We also improve employee satisfaction by automating the most operative tasks.

Sources referenced: Deloitte Digital, Conversational AI

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