Making customer service smarter through Conversational AI


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In today’s connected world, none of us can imagine a day without our smartphones, smartwatches or smart cars. ‘Smart’ technology has become integrated and arguably, an essential part of our lives. To me, it seems there is a correlation between a product being crowned ‘smart’ and its efficacy in reducing human input or effort. The idea of having a product or a system take action on its own is what has catapulted technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the mainstream. This includes using Conversational AI technology to help understand and direct conversations

Following on the heels of AI being implemented with text-based data, Conversational AI continues to make giant leaps forward as more enterprise organizations are exploring options in the emerging category of Conversational Service Automation (CSA).

Conversational Service Automation essentially leverages AI and Automation capabilities to reimagine the full stack of the customer service experiences and make interactions quick, efficient and pleasant for both the customers and the company agents. You’re probably wondering how? The answer lies in the list of Conversational AI features, which enhance the interaction.

Conversational Service Automation can help at multiple touchpoints during an interaction. It can retrieve customer details at the start of a call, so the interaction is immediately personalized to make the customer feel valued. It can then aid the agent in understanding their requests and provide a delightful customer experience.

Some of the additional features of Conversational Service Automation are:

Greater Understanding of Emotions

While humans are generally equipped to detect, understand and respond to different types of emotions, the fact is that emotions are highly variable and sometimes even we fail to understand them. This is especially true when agents miss subtle clues while dealing with different details of the call, including understanding the reason for their call or the intent.

The ability to quickly understand a caller’s ‘Real Intent, is crucial to running an efficient and effective customer-contact center. Some of the best solutions in the industry analyze customer-agent conversations to better understand their intentions through not just their words but take into account the tone, cadence, and pitch of their voice.

Here’s an example: While having a conversation with a client about a new bank loan, an effective Conversational AI solution will be able to provide insights about the customer’s level of interest and potentially whether he/she is generally a happy and satisfied customer. This helps the agent understand the genuineness of the customer and if he should follow up with him/her or not.

It is on the basis of this intent recognition, that conversational AI is able to suggest the best ideas and solutions to the agent. This aids the business in providing effective and empathetic solutions in real-time and perhaps even cross-sell/up-sell, thus leading to higher efficiencies and lower costs.

Multiple Languages and Dialects? No Problem!

A company often deals with customers who belong to different cultures and speak different languages. Now, imagine your customer, who is not fluent in English, having a conversation with your company representative. Your customer mixes a few words from, say Hindi, to English thereby speaking in ‘Hinglish’. However, your customer service representative does not speak Hindi and hence does not understand your customer’s request for support.

Clearly, this could cause frustration for both the agent and the customer and could escalate into an argument. This would be counter-productive for your company.

In a situation like this, Conversational AI can be deployed to allow the customer to interact with the enterprise in a language that they are comfortable with. Conversational AI uses Natural Language Understanding, Natural language Processing, Machine Learning alongside AI and has evolved to be able to process the variances in language, speech patterns, and even slang. This, in turn, helps make the whole client-company interaction faster, smoother and smarter.

Regardless of their geographical origin and cultural backgrounds, every customer expects great customer service because smart products have led to the creation of smart customers. From our phones to homes, we humans are increasingly leveraging Conversational AI and automation in our lives. As modern people, we have progressed from typing text messages to dictating them to our smartphones. We have transitioned from manually turning on the lights to commanding our automated homes to do it without touching a switch. In terms of customer service, CSA can automate a large part of the interactions between an agent and a customer. It can also generate an automated summary of the call, thus saving valuable agent time resulting in huge ROI, especially when viewed in the context of scale.

All of us users of technology have taken the opportunity to get more done with ‘smarter’ technology and have really grown accustomed to automation systems.

Smart (and better!) customer service is fast becoming an inevitable and integral part of our lives. Just like smartphones are the benchmark of the telecom industry, Conversational Service Automation or CSA is becoming the new benchmark for the field of customer services. Our homes, cars, business’ technology and products are smart and automated but is our customer service smart and automated too? That is the question for enterprises to mull over.

Is your enterprise geared toward ‘smart’ customer service? If not, maybe it’s time to explore Conversational Service Automation.

Umesh Sachdev
Umesh Sachdev, Co-founder, and CEO of Uniphore, is a modern-day entrepreneur with a passion for technologies that have massive societal impact. Umesh co-founded Uniphore with Ravi Saraogi to bridge the communication gap between man and machine using voice and speech. Umesh was globally recognized in 2016 as one of the ten ‘Next Generation Leaders’ by Time Magazine. The MIT Tech Review recognized him as one of the ‘Innovators Under 35’. He has been conferred with the title of ‘Innovative Entrepreneur’ by the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Technopreneur Promotion Programme (TePP).


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