Human-Like AI Robots Ring Your Phone -- Are Brands Ready?

With Google unveiling Duplex, the artificial intelligence (AI) technology that helps its virtual assistant schedule appointments in a human-like voice, varying speech patterns and dialects may no longer be a consideration for any business receiving phone calls from a mobile phone, an online ad or search extension. But for now, here's some analysis to consider.

Marchex released a report on Speech Analytics this week, examining America’s speech patterns. The study analyzes more than 6.8 million calls placed by consumers to businesses across the United States. The insights reveal how conversation patterns vary, and the need for businesses to optimize phone interactions with customers.

People from Wyoming topped the list for most talkative, followed by Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Maine. In fact, Wyoming residents talk 38% more than New Yorkers, who are the least talkative. Those in New Jersey, Nevada, Maryland and Illinois follow.



Now, as a Wyoming resident, I can confirm that people in Wyoming are talkative, but they are also polite and helpful. 

People from Wyoming, Vermont, Maine, Montana and Michigan regularly use “please” and “thank you” on calls. People from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas use these phrases the least.

Residents of Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska, New Jersey and New Hampshire speak the fastest, based on words per minute. On average, the fastest talkers are from Vermont, who speak about 148 words per minute. On the other side of the spectrum, Hawaiians speak an average of 134 words per minute. New Mexico, Colorado, Georgia and South Carolina follow.

In analyzing the rate of abandoned calls after being put on hold, Washington state and Oregon demonstrated the least patience, along with Arkansas, Kansas and Mississippi. Residents from states in the Midwest and Northeast demonstrated the most patience, including Vermont, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York.

I have not personally heard this, but people in Wyoming, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont -- states that are the least populated and the most rural -- curse the most. The states with the lowest rate of cursing on calls include Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah and Minnesota.

The likelihood of cursing increases as the day progresses. Profanity is least likely to be used before 4:00 p.m., but then the curse rate on calls doubles after 6:00 p.m., jumping from three percent to six percent, signaling increased impatience later in the day.

The study intends to provide helpful hints for how brands should address callers on the phone. I found the results helpful for marketers to begin thinking about how their call centers and businesses will interact with AI-powered callers. Or how they will manage an AI-powered call center to support when AI-powered robots call in. 

1 comment about "Human-Like AI Robots Ring Your Phone -- Are Brands Ready?".
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  1. Patrick Stroh from Brunner / data science, analytics, May 10, 2018 at 4:36 p.m.

    It's an impresisve display of technology (including mmms and huhs - naturalistic interjections), but can we possibly imagine the reaction of people who "discover" (maybe even ask) they are talking to a robot.  "So, are you a robot?"  I presume Duplex will answer "Yes, I am ... [followed by some statement about convenience]."  The "Press 1 for customer service" tangle will become even more interesting.  

    But then of course the brand robot willbe talking with the customer avatar/robot ...

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