What do YOU think AI is?

Have you ever asked anyone the question “What is Artificial Intelligence”?  You may get a wide variety of answers.  I recently spent a few days asking some friends and colleagues about AI; the first response from most people, was “Terminator”. I guess Arnold Schwarzenegger had quite an impact on his viewers!  I also heard “it’s futuristic” and “robots that think like humans.” The perception of AI varies yet people know more about it than they think they do.

Mike, a Material Handler, says he doesn’t use AI at work but it’s all around us. “I think of it as machines that figure things out themselves.  It’s scary and exciting at the same time. Somehow my phone always knows what I’m doing next.” He wonders how far AI can go, “can a machine have feelings in the future, can it really become more humanistic?”

Gabe, a Trainer at a manufacturing facility provided his perspective. He says “It’s a computer that takes data it has observed and deducts its own answers from the information it has gathered. Similar to internet search results, it takes what other people have done and decides what to show you”. When asked if he uses it at work, he replied “probably, but not directly. There are possibilities, we have sensors that read material dimensions and decide when to stop a machine and cameras that read printed documents and determine if the material is positioned correctly for the machine.  We also have a system that provides similar products and substitutes, but I’m not sure these programs really use AI.”

After a few days of interviews, it became clearer, people identify with AI in their personal lives – movies, smart phone apps, internet advertisements etc. They didn’t seem to think of AI in terms of work or business interactions or they weren’t sure if they were using it at work.  So, how can AI help you at work?  Simple … AI can improve your customer and employee experience while reducing costs.  AI can be a win-win for everyone.

There are Artificial Intelligence platforms available today, such as IBM Watson, that provide a full suite of AI services or those that provide niche services such as Genesys’s Kate for Contact Center and Marketing.  Both platforms support AI functions such as:

Virtual Assistants, Chatbots, Conversational Bots and Language Translators

  • A bot can communicate through traditional SMS channels, messaging applications (such as Facebook Messenger, email and social sites), or through voice making it easier for customers to self-serve across channels.
  • Bots can be stored as contacts in your smartphone. Every time you need to place an order, you can chat with your bot contact, place your order, send payment, receive confirmations or invoices, links to related content and more. Reducing customer effort increases the value of each interaction.
  • Bots can make it easier to work with multiple languages. Some bots can translate on the fly so your customers can converse in their native language even though the agent may not understand it.  Improve your customer or patient acquisition rates as well as improve relationships with existing customers.

Sentiment Analysis

  • Is your customer happy, frustrated, confused, angry? Maybe they cycle through these emotions during an interaction.  By identifying and analyzing sentiment, the system can notify a supervisor to join a call, automatically record a call or determine whether to ask the customer for feedback.  In an era where customers are asking for high-touch personalized service, it pays to proactively engage based on sentiment.

Predictive Routing

  • Did you know that you can combine AI programs for more effective outcomes? For example, using sentiment analysis, the system can decide to route an angry customer to an agent who is high on the empathy scale.
  • Use the customer’s behavior or history of behavior to determine the best agent match.
  • Have you ever had more work than your team can handle? Too much work in one group while another has capacity? These scenarios cost you money in staffing, overtime fees and in customer disappointments. Predictive routing is adept at controlling service levels and costs through workflow balancing and the management of priorities, ensuring that the right agents have the right work.

Intelligent Automation

  • Customers want the same level of service across channels and you strive to provide it for them. However, you may find customers move from channel to channel regularly. Often times they may call and then switch to chat or social because they are hoping for a faster response or a higher level of service. Combining processes, including self-service, across channels can give your customers a complete omni-channel experience where the channel they choose can provide the same great service as another.
  • Identify priority changes and escalate work to a higher level to ensure you meet your customer demands.
  • Consolidate processes and create a more seamless experience by integrating to other tools such as Salesforce or marketing automation systems such as HubSpot.
  • Processes and communication can be automated together. For example, you might automate your order entry, analyze your orders and then proactively communicate with customers based on their order behavior. Improve sales by offering to re-order or calling out the last few orders that could be combined for a bulk discount in the next month, or offer to sign up for subscription buying.
  • Influence cross-channel automation within a customer journey by starting in one channel and ending in another. For example, a customer can start online, and finish with talking to an agent.  Or, a customer can call an agent and you can send them information or secure links via SMS to finalize the interaction.

Predictive  Engagement

  • Through analyzing customer information, digital and voice behavior, journey patters, visits and more, you can learn how to personalize engagement for each customer.
  • Determine when and how to proactively engage with each customer to specifically improve satisfaction and increase sales conversion rates.
  • Analyze data across systems including CRM, ERP, eCommerce, and your contact center. Using AI/machine learning, you can predict the behaviors that will drive the most successful website outcomes.
  • Learn persona insights that are valuable to marketing such as prospect and customer segments, interests, shopping preferences, buying behaviors.

Intelligent Identification and Authentication

  • How much time do you spend asking the customer who they are (identification) and then manually authenticating them before discussing the reason they reached out to you? In some organizations this can take several minutes. AI will allow you to systematically identify them and authenticate who they are, so your customers (or patients) can completely self-serve.  If they choose to work directly with an agent, the agent does not have to perform the identification and authentication steps saving them minutes per interaction.
  • Additionally, the identification process can be used to personalize a greeting or play a marketing campaign unique to the customer.

Analysis of Big Data to Drive Business Outcomes

  • The heart of AI, customer experience and optimizing operations is data. When you gather and analyze data across channels and systems you can continually learn from it, gleaning insights that provide value to your business.

Whether you’re new to the world of AI and curious about the possibilities or well on your way to implementing some of these strategies, EDCi is here to help you. Our team of experts is passionate about artificial intelligence and what the future has in store for us. If you’re looking for insights to optimize your contact center, give us a call. AI is moving fast, don’t get left behind!


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