Artificial Intelligence

A new window into the very soul of your Customers and Business

man with steel artificial arm sitting in front of white table

I’ve previously written about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used to improve the quality and accuracy of customer interactions within companies of all sizes. Read more here.

As AI and machine learning gain more widespread understanding, development advances, and use, through a range of business applications, I’m particularly intrigued and interested in the use of Speech and Text analytics applications to deliver previously unknown insights into the daily interactions between customers and sales and service representatives. This new technology will provide companies that care a real window into the souls of customers, their workers, and their business model.

We’ve enjoyed call audio recording for a long time but, listening to the calls has been limited by the cost to hire enough people to listen to enough calls to provide meaningful data. So, only a portion of calls were ever reviewed and scored by human Quality Analysts. In my experience, this feedback has always been very useful and valuable in correcting performance and gaining new insights into both our customers and agents. We just couldn’t get enough of it fast enough. For the most part, we were reviewing historical data. AI offers real time data and alerts to aid in managing performance while it is happening rather than trying to go back and fix things that happened already.

With AI based applications, used properly, businesses can analyze EVERY call and text-based interaction from channels like Chat, email and Social media. Call audio is transcribed and analyzed along with other text-based interactions and the results area a treasure trove of manageable data and information being delivered in actionable formats in real time and near real time.

This will transform the way we manage businesses because we will have first-hand knowledge of what customers and representatives are really saying, and, in what context they are saying these things.

Even after direct interactions with your company channels, AI can track customer actions which will give business leaders unprecedented intelligence. For example, if a customer ends a call with your representative and immediately takes to Twitter and  mentions your company, AI tools will allow leaders to be alerted on their smartphone, so they can act more quickly to counteract negative comments or promote positive comments.

Over the years, so many business leaders have expressed their desire to me to know more about their company’s overall performance. Reading daily tallies of call reason and result codes never really delivered a full view. But, AI and Machine Learning will now give business leaders “eyes and ears” in virtually every place your customer lives.

Workers who interact with customers will have more information about the customer at their fingertips, but will also be under increasing scrutiny because every contact will be recorded, transcribed and reported upon.

How much of these new data insights will  put to good use by businesses will remain to be seen. We have the tools to gather these data and smart business leaders should be researching and reviewing options with vigor.  Using this new technology successfully is another topic.

Want to know more about the options for Speech and Text Analytics? Contact me to schedule a call. You will be amazed at what you can learn.

Mike

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Artificial Intelligence is no longer the Future for Contact Centers

iStock_analytics122334673.jpg.800x600_q96AI is already here and is being implemented by companies across the world.

Call ATT about your Cell service and you will be talking to an Artificially Intelligent agent. This is a computer generated person talking to you. Not a real agent. And that robot is verifying your identity and answering questions in a conversational manner. The quality is stunning. No button pushing required. You can answer questions and the system understands you and either answers or directs you to where you need to go to get help. This is a big advance from the days of a robotic voice chopping its way through some basic commands and asking you to press 1 for yes and 2 for no.

Surveys show consumers like getting answers, information and service without having to deal with other humans. Great news for company bottom lines…not so good for Call Center agents across the world.

Dozens of companies like SmartAction, Afiniti, and IPsoftAmelia, to name a few, are developing AI applications to integrate with Contact Centers that are capable of totally disrupting operations in a good way. These companies are moving quickly and producing some very impressive products that will transform omni-channel Customer Service.

Google, Amazon, Apple and Tesla are pushing AI to new frontiers and the residual learning and technology wave is raising all ships and leading to amazing breakthroughs in quality.

The programs that are being developed are so sophisticated that they are learning on their own and improving their performance. This “machine learning” is the key leg to explosive growth. AI is providing insight on customers and building profiles using interactions, call audio and other contact data that are compiled from multiple sources and can be made available in real-time or for historical reporting. Sales and Service teams will have access to amazingly detailed and useful data about their agents and customers.

The what, when, where, and how of AI should be a key focus for all Contact Center leaders and those who utilize contact centers to service their customers. The “Why” is easy. Because AI leads to increased cost savings, more loyal customers, more buyers, longer retention of customers and employees (the human ones); reductions to infrastucture spending; better use of collected customer data, and, unfortunately for workers but good for company bottom lines, reductions in human workforce costs.

I spoke to a Venture Capital Group today and I can tell you that they are taking a very conservative approach to valuing the ROI on AI implementation. AI seems to have snuck up on everyone quietly, event the smart money, but it is here and it is growing fast.

The Contact Center industry is beginning the journey through major changes and improvements with AI and I’m very excited to be along for the ride.