Skip to main content

Work with locked Answers in voice conversations

In both messaging and voice, locked Answers keep conversations moving smoothly. But it's important to understand how locked Answers can work differently in voice conversations, so you can avoid common pitfalls in your bot.

Greeting

Every voice greeting needs to make two things clear:

  • An automated voice assistant is speaking, not a human

  • The call is being recorded

It's also useful to let callers know which kinds of input work best with it, and to ask an open-ended question to let them tell you what you want, as opposed to using a more restrictive capture type like a List Option block. Otherwise, callers can feel trapped with a set of options that don't apply to them. Here's an example:

Hey there. I’m CompanyName's automated voice assistant. I can help with order issues, refund tracking, account status, and many other things. Note that this call is being recorded to make sure I’m treating you right. What are you calling about today?

Not Understood

Just like in messaging conversations, the Not Understood Answer comes up when your bot isn't able to understand what the caller asked for.

If you have a main menu, the Not Understood Answer is a good place to put it. That way, if your bot can't connect a caller with a trained Answer, it can instead serve them with a list of options to choose from.

Needs Clarification

Like in messaging conversations, the Needs Clarification Answer comes up when your bot thinks it might have an idea about what the caller wants to know, but isn't confident enough. This happens if the caller asks:

  • A vague question or statement (e.g., “Help!” or “I have a question”)

  • A double-barreled question with more than one intent that the bot is trained to answer (e.g., “How do I pay my bill on the website or by phone?”)

When this happens, your bot presents the potential Answers that it thinks the caller might be interested in as quick replies. Just like when you use the Quick Replies block, your bot reads out the full list of potential Answers, and the caller can interrupt your bot to select one at any time.

Handoff to Support

When building a handoff in voice, make sure you set expectations with the caller, by saying something like "Please stay on the line while I connect you with an agent." If you have ways of including additional information like wait times or alternative paths like submitting a ticket or scheduling a callback, make sure you provide those options as well.

Repeating Too Often

The Repeating Too Often Answer comes up when the bot has repeated the same Answer back to the caller multiple times. Your bot might repeat Answers if, for example, it's waiting for an input from the caller but hasn't received the input in the amount of time it expects, or if the input is improperly formatted.

When this happens, the best practice is to put in a handoff to a human agent. When you do this, make sure you follow best practices for a handoff, particularly by saying something like "Please stay on the line while I connect you with an agent" to make sure the caller's expectations are clear.

Configure how many times an Answer can be repeated in a voice conversation

You can choose how many times your bot can repeat an Answer in one conversation. After it has repeated the Answer that many times, the next time it would otherwise repeat the Answer (for example, if it still hasn't received any input), it will redirect to the Repeating Too Often Answer instead.

  1. On the Ada dashboard, go to Settings > Integrations.

  2. Under Channels Integrations, beside Voice, click Configure.

  3. Under Maximum Answer repetitions, enter the maximum number of times you want a caller to be able to hear the same Answer.

  4. Click Save.

Long Silence

If you're on the phone and you don't hear anything from the other end for a while, you might say, "Hello? Are you still there?" This Answer does the same thing. After a set amount of time where the caller hasn't said anything, your bot serves this Answer to check if the caller is still there, and to encourage them to ask a question.

If the Long Silence Answer is triggered three times, instead of serving the same Answer a third time, your bot assumes that the caller isn't there anymore, and serves the End Conversation Answer instead.

Configure how long a caller can be silent before serving the Long Silence Answer

You can choose how much time your bot will wait for callers to speak before it serves the Long Silence Answer.

  1. On the Ada dashboard, go to Settings > Integrations.

  2. Under Channels Integrations, beside Voice, click Configure.

  3. Under Maximum caller silence (seconds), enter the number of seconds you want your bot to wait before serving the Long Silence Answer.

  4. Click Save.

End Conversation

With great power comes great responsibility. This Answer serves up any content blocks it contains, and then disconnects the call - and if it's served inappropriately, that can result in a negative experience.

In general, you should always always let the caller hang up first, except in these two cases:

  • After the Long Silence Answer has been served twice, and the caller doesn't speak up after a third consecutive period of silence

  • If the caller confirms that you've resolved their issue and that they don't need any more help

Note that you don't need to put the End Call block into this Answer - it ends the call for you.


Have any questions? Contact your Ada team—or email us at .