Optus’ Amazing New AI Voice Assistant

Optus is leveraging Artificial Intelligence

With the launch of ChatGPT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a mainstream technology that many Australians have used. Now, AI is becoming even more mainstream with Optus’ new in-call Voice Assistant, which allows customers to vocally state their reason for calling Optus’ customer care line, and get routed to the relevant department.

Optus Voice Assistant uses AI to detect the customer’s complaint or issue without having to select from a phone menu. The telco claims it has witnessed a significant decline in abandoned calls since its in-call Voice Assistant launched.

This post will discuss the benefits of Optus’ new AI voice assistant and how the telco is leveraging AI technology to improve SIM plans.

What is Optus Voice Assistant?

Optus Voice Assistant uses AI technology to determine customers’ needs from speech and route them to the appropriate expert for support. The feature leverages in-house capabilities and partnerships with Google Cloud’s AI platform, Dialogflow. 

Instead of the usual phone menu where customers select the option which closely matches their reason for calling Optus support, the Voice Assistant requires customers to verbally state their reason for calling.

After listening to the customer’s description, the AI feature routes them to the right expert without lengthy menus.

How does Optus Voice Assistant benefit customers?

Optus says customers save over 30 seconds when using the Optus Voice Assistant, compared to typical phone menus. The telco claims the number of customers who abandon its phone menu has reduced significantly since the February launch of its Voice Assistant.

In a press statement, Optus Managing Director of Customer Success Maurice McCarthystated that, “By enabling customers to speak instead of selecting from pre-configured menus, we’re taking a customer-centric approach rather than asking customers to fit to a one-size process. Optus Voice Assistant allows us to gain a greater understanding of the specific reason for the customers’ call and make more suitable routing decisions.”spec

The AI feature also benefits Optus by helping the telco gain information about customers’ complaints. The feature can draw trending issues based on what customers seek help for, alerting Optus on what areas to prioritise.

Other Optus AI features – Optus Call Effects and more

Optus’ recent developments indicate the telco’s interest in AI. This is most evident in its Living Network, which has launched several innovative features to boost customer engagement and simplify several tasks.

The latest Living Network feature is Optus’ AI-powered Call Effects. Optus’ Call Effects allows users to call up several “skills” during phone calls by waking up Call Effects with the phrase, “Hey Optus.”

After triggering Call Effects during a phone call by stating “Hey Optus,” users can choose from four “skills”:

  • Crystal Ball answers any life questions you might have during a phone call. For instance, ask Optus’ Call Effects whether you should go on vacation with the person you’re on a phone call with and get an answer from this AI feature.
  • Coin Toss imitates a coin flip whenever it is summoned. For instance, trigger Call Effects to flip a coin and decide who should pay for dinner.
  • Dinner Roulette can help you decide what to have for lunch, for instance. Just summon Call Effects to spin a wheel and help you determine your next meal.
  • 21 Questions is a great icebreaker for those first phone calls. Just summon Call Effects to come up with questions to help keep the phone call flowing smoothly.

Optus Call Effects uses Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to colorise your phone calls. The AI technology wakes when summoned and responds to users’ requests live during the phone call.

Optus Living Network boasts of other AI features, including Optus Call Translate and Optus Call Notes. Both features also use NLU technology, translating and transcribing calls in real time, respectively.

Final words

Optus has been working on this support enhancement for some time. One of the first attempts was when Optus tried inventing voice recognition technology using in-house skills three years ago. Since then, they’ve adapted their approach and sensibly worked with Google and others to implement a better third-party solution.

Of course, AI is all over the news now, and ChatGPT represents a completely new tool, the ripples of which have not yet begun to be felt in the millions of ways they soon will be. Soon, we will think of AI assistants in support apps as commonplace – and we hope that solutions can be rolled out by companies like Optus in timeframes much quicker than three years.