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AI vs Human Operator: can robotic systems replace operators in Indonesia and the Philippines?

An "intellectual revolution" is brewing in the world of contact-centers

Transformation of usual communication channels and automation of many processes is happening today all around us. We live in a world where technology is developing rapidly, replacing many routine processes with intelligent bots. And first of all, this affects the work of contact-centers.

Contact-centers are rather expensive

Today, contact-centers increasingly interact with customers not only by phone, but also through social networks, instant messaging, video conferences and web chats. How is it possible to cover these additional communication channels without losing the quality of services? One option is to constantly increase the number of employees. But this is by no means the cheapest, and often not the most effective way.

And the determining factor here is the real cost of services:

  • Constantly growing salary fund;

  • Taxes;

  • Additional costs for training and adaptation of new employees;

  • Provision of a 24/7/365 work schedule;

  • Human factor (mood, mistakes, vacations, and sick leaves).

Virtual employees undoubtedly require investment. But if you analyze each cost item, it turns out that bots are 3-4 times cheaper. Therefore, many companies are considering an alternative path: the introduction of automated solutions with artificial intelligence elements.

Virtual Voice Operator by Hi-Tech Smart Solutions

Let's look at the regional contact-center market: for example, in Indonesia, about 2 million people work as operators. The Philippines is rightfully considered the world capital of contact-centers – 1.2 million people work here as operators, serving not only local companies, but also the markets of the United States, Australia, and other English-speaking countries. At the same time, the outsourcing market is actively growing now, and the need for high-quality services through contact-centers is rising rapidly. Accordingly, it can be expected that local companies will have to further increase the number of employees to ensure business development, which will significantly affect the costs of companies.

But most of tasks that contact-center operators perform don’t require special qualifications or education. The main criterion for working as a contact-center operator is the ability to speak correctly and follow the logic of the conversation in accordance with existing scripts. Companies train their employees to properly interact with customers. All this can be taught to a robotic system based on AI. Therefore, the most profitable solution is the robotization of routine tasks.

"We have created the perfect solution for the financial sector - a Virtual Voice Operator. This is a full-fledged robot with artificial intelligence, which is able to replace an entire staff of operators," said HTSS representative.

The Robot synthesizes human speech, so it is indistinguishable from a human being. He is able to conduct a full-fledged dialogue, make pauses, analyze the answers of the interlocutor and observe the intonation of a human. The uniqueness of the Robot is that it is constantly learning: the algorithm allows to train the Robot by creating new dialogue scnearios. In the future, this will allow to charge more complex business tasks to Robot.

"In my opinion, the market has not formed a clear understanding of what a virtual operator is and how it actually works. We have several clients who asked us to test the Robot on their own: set up dialogs, scripts, train the necessary functionality, etc. Meaning, the market does not fully understand yet that this is not a simple bot with several prescribed answer options, and not a CRM system, the functionality of which can be quickly customized to the company needs," said Alina Fedotova, the Head of business development in SEA region.

A robot based on AI technology is a very complex system, the logic of which we created for a long period of time. And it requires a special approach and constant support from development specialists to introduce such technology into business processes of any company.

To understand how unique the product is, HTSS offers its clients to test the Robot:

  1. A simple test. The client can communicate with the Robot independently and evaluate its work. To do this, we upload the client's phone number to our system, the Robot contacts him and works out a possible dialogue scenario. At this stage, the client can understand how well the Robot synthesizes human speech, how it answers and asks questions.

  2. Checking the Robot's logic based on conversation scripts and the client data. We load the client's conversation scripts and employee phone numbers. This way, the client can test the Robot within the framework of his company.

  3. Testing the system on real cases. When choosing this option, we are ready to conduct a test based on a comparative analysis - a kind of a “champion-challenger”. For example, the Robot against the client's internal service. The client provides the same sample of cases for calling by the Robot and by the internal team, and then we compare the data: cost and effectiveness of the test participants.

Case study (AI vs client’s internal service)

The client (a P2P lending company in Indonesia) reached out HTSS to test the Robot and compare the effectiveness of the robotic system versus the client's team. The pilot project involved: Virtual Voice Operator by HTSS, 2 vendors with similar robotic solutions and an internal client's service team (human contact-center operators).

The purpose of the test was to check the effectiveness on the segments:

  • Reminder (a reminder of payment a few days before the appointed date)

  • Dueday (a reminder on the day of payment)

  • Overdue (a notification of the arisen debt)

Efficiency evaluation metric: receiving payment after a call from robotic system vs. human operator.

The selection of cases for calling is equivalent for all participants of the test.

Test time: 1 month

Test results:

  • HTSS Robot outperformed other vendors in all segments;

  • The client's internal service was a little more efficient on Reminder & Dueday segments;

  • On Overdue segment, the internal service and HTSS Robot showed the same efficiency – 28%.

"Our Robot showed very good results in all segments, slightly conceded to the internal client's service. And the equal efficiency on the Overdue segment shows that the Robot can completely replace contact-center operators in work with an early delay of up to 90 days, " commented Alina Fedotova.

Client's opinion

"We see that the Virtual Voice Operator by HTSS really shows high efficiency when interacting with the company's customers. I am absolutely sure that this is the best solution that is available on the market today," said the Head of the contact-center of the P2P lending company.
Business growth is inextricably linked with the complexity of services provided and the increase in volume of work, which leads to a constant recruitment of staff. But we see that in some segments the Robot is able to completely replace operators and helps to significantly reduce the operating costs. According to the pilot results, for 1 month of using the Robot on a segment where we got comparable results with human operators, we saved about 40%. Herewith, we took into account only the operators' wages. But if we include the cost of HR, training and adaptation of new employees, control quality, office rent, etc., then the company's resource savings will be much higher.
It is obvious that these technologies are the future. And we, as market leaders, want to be among the first to introduce robotic technologies into our business processes.

Contact-center of the future is a tandem of artificial intelligence and human beings

"Our goal is to free an expensive specialist from performing trivial tasks and give him the opportunity to focus on solving complex issues. At the same time, the role of the operator and voice communication with customers will not decrease. On the contrary, it will become more and more important. Working in close conjunction, systems with artificial intelligence elements and qualified specialists will become the basis of future contact-center, in which advanced data analysis and an individual approach to each customer will bring service standards to a qualitatively new level," noted HTSS representative.


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