Many business owners employ telemarketing. Whether you belong to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) or large and established companies, telemarketing is found to be one of the most effective strategies to boost sales.
With the consistent advancement of technology paired with the availability of their resources, large enterprises have started utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and big data as a part of their day-to-day telemarketing operations. On the other hand, AI is starting to get utilized as answering service for small businesses at a reasonable cost. These SMEs have also joined the bandwagon of using big data to know more about their companies and how to serve their clients better.
We have talked about the use of call center analytics in the past. However, there are even bigger ways that big data and AI are changing the future of the telemarketing industry.
To fully understand the relationship among these variables, it’s important to understand some of the key concepts first.
What Is Telemarketing
Telemarketing is the direct marketing of goods and services to prospective customers. It’s marketing that is typically done over the phone. Due to the advancement of technology, however, there has been a shift in telemarketing through video conferencing and other similar approaches. Besides, telemarketing can also be done in the form of information gathering through surveys.
What Is Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a computer or a machine learning technology to simulate or replicate the capabilities of the human mind. The main difference between the human brain from those of AIs is the speed. The AI machines can perform tasks faster because they can process a large amount of information in a short period.
If you’re wondering what are real-life examples of AIs, you don’t have to look any further. Bots on messaging applications are considered AI. You might have also interacted with digital assistant tools which can provide answers to your questions and recommendations and even perform simple actions for you. Thus, it’s generally safe to say that artificial intelligence is already a part of a human’s everyday life.
What is Big Data
Big data is not new to the AI community. It’s a term used to describe a large volume of a variety of data. These data can be structured, semi-structured, and unstructured. It has its own pros and cons, depending on the analysis to be done. All forms of data can be collected by companies and organizations to be mined and used for machine learning.
Big data is also considered the fuel of artificial intelligence. This happens as AI processes data to produce an output. Thus, companies that utilize big data in conducting all their processes treat it as their backbone. They can use it as their baseline in creating marketing strategies, workforce management, and product development.
It has been established that artificial intelligence and big data have useful roles in various areas of different industries. But, how does it impact the telemarketing field exactly? Below are some surprising ways in which AI and big data contribute to the telemarketing efforts of small and growing businesses:
1. Provide A Wealth Of Information
You probably have heard a recorded message or a telemarketer telling you, “This call may be recorded and monitored for training and quality purposes”. This approach served its purpose years back in helping employees get better at what they do. Trainers and coaches would usually use recorded phone calls to assist telemarketers in hitting their target goals and sales.
Because of artificial intelligence, businesses have come to realize that those recordings are more than just a source of helping them improve their calls’ quality and customer service handling skills. Recorded phone calls fall under the variety of unstructured big data that can be fed to artificial intelligence for analysis and processing.
What exactly do phone calls have which artificial intelligence can process? For starters, phone calls contain data fields such as phone numbers and time of calls. However, they also contain sequence numbers, fault conditions, and similar attributes. Phone calls also contain a large amount of data that small businesses can use to understand further their customers’ behavior.
2. Provide Better Customer Satisfaction
The SMEs can also use big data in creating automated phone calls to connect with their customers. Through automated phone calls, small business owners can deliver recorded messages to their prospective clients to pitch and introduce their brand. Automated phone calls are also used to send notifications and reminders to customers, minimizing the need for a live person to do the job.
Artificial Intelligence is also used to decrease the chances of customers giving their information repetitively to a telemarketer. This is one way that AI helps in providing cybersecurity measures to protect their users from Internet fraud or identity theft scenarios.
Aside from this, AI can also eliminate the process of transferring callers multiple times due to dialing an incorrect number or options. The AI system can store contact information. Whenever you feel the need to make a phone call, it can just route you over to the person you need to talk to. All you need to do is provide the information asked by the automated system, get specific on your concerns and queries, and the AI will take care of the rest.
By providing a self-service opportunity to customers through machine learning, you no longer need to call or seek a live telemarketer as the information needed is already accessible online.
All the mentioned benefits will give a positive impact on your customers. As an SME owner, customer satisfaction should always be a priority, and artificial intelligence can help you to achieve it.
3. Understanding Customer Behavior
Today’s artificial intelligence can act as the telemarketer’s virtual assistant. Through the analysis and processing of big data, telemarketers get information about the prospective customer before and during the call. This helps telemarketers prepare for any surprising call they might receive in a day.
Artificial intelligence is also used to help telemarketers analyze customers’ moods during the call so that the former can respond properly. The system can notify telemarketers if they’re talking too fast for their customers. Algorithms measure the customers’ tone of voice and determine if they sound interested or disinterested. These track pauses and interruptions by agents which can also be used to improve customer experience.
Artificial intelligence, through big data analytics, helps businesses to improve their telemarketing strategy by understanding and analyzing their customer’s information and emotional state in real-time.
4. 24/7 Responsive
Artificial Intelligence can give real-time answers to customer’s queries. Unlike human telemarketers who can be silent for an unreasonable time, you can trust that an AI can give you the answers you need, without you getting interrupted and put on hold. Some customers also like their telemarketers to sound knowledgeable and trustworthy, and it’s most likely that AIs can answer all customer’s queries during a call.
Another great thing about artificial intelligence is that the more it’s used, the more it learns and provides accurate answers based on the data previously fed to it. The more accurate information the customers get, the more they feel that they could trust your brand identity.
Many small businesses have claimed how artificial intelligence is helping them know their prospective customers. Through analyzing the collected data, SMEs get to understand their customers’ needs and queries leading to a higher conversion rate.
Is Artificial Intelligence Ready To Replace Humans In The Telemarketing Industry
Years ago, no one would have ever thought that machines can take part in an enterprise’s telemarketing strategies. However, with AI and big data becoming a part of SME operations, no one can deny that machine learning is changing the way they market their products and services nowadays. The integration of AI processes and big data across many businesses shows that is one of the best options for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs to consider for their growth and sustainability.
The ways machine learning improve small businesses are countless. Be it in making phone calls, analyzing data, and all other mundane tasks, it has proven its benefits in making a huge impact that humans alone won’t be able to do on their own.
In spite of this, the argument on whether or not artificial intelligence and big data can replace humans in the telemarketing field remains an interesting topic to be answered. While they make it easier for humans to understand and process a large amount of data available, they have limitations too. They aren’t perfect and are still prone to errors, depending on the fed data. One wrong algorithm and everything else follows.
Another thing to consider is that there are still customers who prefer to speak with human beings to get their problems resolved. Some customers get annoyed whenever they need to speak with an automated system because there are times that it can’t capture their words. This happens when the customer’s voice isn’t clear or if there’s too much noise in their background. Robots or an automated system can’t recognize the sound if there are distractions.
That being said, the integration of artificial intelligence and big data analytics is a great help to achieve the growth of many SMEs. But, as of today, it can’t replace human skills just yet.