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Handling interruptions: Key to near-human experiences with voicebots

Updated: July 28, 2023
Handling interruptions: Key to near-human experiences with voicebots
Handling interruptions: Key to near-human experiences with voicebots

Introduction

In our daily lives, interruptions during conversations are common occurrences. As humans, we adapt to these interruptions, seamlessly shifting between topics while maintaining the flow of the discussion. Now, as technology advances and voicebots become an integral part of our interactions, the ability to handle interruptions is crucial for creating natural and human-like conversations with these AI-powered bots. 

Why is interruption handling critical for voicebots?

In the world of communication, interruptions are not disruptions but rather an essential aspect of dynamic and engaging conversations. They reflect active listening, a desire to seek clarification, and an eagerness to share additional information. As conversational beings, we naturally expect this ability in our interactions, even while engaging with voicebots.

In this blog, we will explore the two different types of interruptions, and how Yellow.ai’s voice AI agents based on its dynamic architecture seamlessly handle different kinds of interruptions to enhance user experience.

Contextual interruption

Contextual interruptions occur when a user interjects during a conversation with a voicebot and the interruption is relevant to the ongoing topic. The voicebot, like a skillful human conversationalist, shall recognize the importance of the interruption and promptly respond to it before resuming the original discussion.

For example, imagine a user calling a voicebot to inquire about their loan eligibility. While the bot is responding, the user interrupts and asks, “Can you please first tell me what’s my account balance?” The voicebot recognizes the relevance of the interruption, provides the account balance information, and then seamlessly returns to discussing loan eligibility.

Non-contextual interruption

On the other hand, non-contextual interruptions are unrelated to the current topic of conversation. These interruptions do not contribute to the ongoing discussion and can include random phrases or words that do not pertain to the voicebot’s purpose.

If the user suddenly interrupts the voicebot discussing loan eligibility by saying “Bangalore” or  if they speak to someone in parallel like “Let’s meet for coffee at 4 pm,” these are non-contextual interruptions. The voicebot intelligently filters out these interruptions, disregards them, and continues with its original response, without losing conversational flow.

Effective interruption handling by dynamic voice AI agents 

Yellow.ai dynamic voice AI agents are embedded with the intelligence to effectively differentiate between contextual and non-contextual interruptions. It enables them to pause or respond only to relevant interruptions, thereby enhancing the user experience. Moreover, this intelligent architecture eradicates other non-contextual background noises, ensuring that only meaningful interruptions are addressed. 

Example 1: Handling contextual interruptions

Click on the play button below to listen to the sample.

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In the attached sample audio recording, the user receives a call from the internet service provider regarding his payment due, and while the bot is speaking, the user interrupts to say, “I already made the payment.” The voice AI agent, recognizing this as contextual interruption relevant to this conversation, pauses its response, listens to what the user is saying and proceeds with a relevant response.

Example 2: Handling non-contextual interruptions

Click on the play button below to listen to the sample.

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00:00
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In the same example, during the conversation with the bot, the user starts speaking to his friends in parallel saying, “You guys carry on. I got a call from my internet service provider.” The voice AI agent recognizes this as a non-contextual interruption and doesn’t stop to listen, instead continuing its current response.

Benefits of effective interruption handling

By incorporating the ability to handle interruptions, voicebots offer several benefits:

  • Human-like interaction: Users feel more comfortable and engaged when conversing with a voicebot that emulates human conversational patterns, including the acceptance of relevant interruptions.
  • Enhanced user experience: The seamless handling of contextual interruptions leads to a smoother and more enjoyable experience for users.
  • Efficient communication: Recognizing relevant interruptions allows voicebots to address users’ immediate needs without dismissing their inquiries.
  • Time-saving: Filtering out non-contextual interruptions prevents unnecessary deviations from the primary purpose of the conversation, saving time for both the user and the voicebot.

In summary

Interruptions are not obstacles but opportunities for enriching conversations, even in interactions with voicebots. With its intelligence in recognizing contextual and non-contextual interruptions, Yellow.ai dynamic voice AI agents can now provide customers with near-human, natural, and immersive experiences. 

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