The future is here, and it has Artificial intelligence (AI) written all over it! What once was a plot point for science fiction movies is currently THE hot trend in technology. While most people imagine robots and massive machines when they think of AI, you’d be surprised at the broad range of ways companies are utilizing AI to streamline and optimize business operations. One area that has seen explosive growth in the use of AI recently is the contact center. When integrated into the contact center, AI has proven to be highly successful in its ability to seamlessly give customers the right information they need at the right time.
One company that has been at the center of this digital technology disrupter is Google. Recently, we spoke to Shantanu Misra, Product Manager at Google, about new and innovative things Google is doing to optimize the contact center and improve customer experience.
Shantanu: In the last 20 years, Google search has gotten really good at understanding a user’s natural language and gauging the customer’s intended outcome. We have some of the most sophisticated research available on automatic speech recognition, as well as text to speech. We specifically leveraged this research when developing our Dialogflow platform, a Google-owned developer of human–computer interaction technologies based on natural language conversations that utilizes AI to provide great customer service.
One of the keys to the success of Dialogflow is Google’s access to a rich ecosystem of developers. Currently, Dialogflow has more than 850,000 active developers and has been elevated to the platform of choice for creating automated conversations. The robustness and maturity of the platform allows it to handle different scenarios and fulfill a broad range of requests. As a result, Dialogflow provides a strong value proposition for enterprises looking to integrate AI into their contact centers.
Shantanu: When customers call or text a company’s contact center, more often than not, they are seeking quick answers, immediacy and minimum repetition in the conversation. Traditionally, the contact center has been notorious for forcing a natural language conversation via Interactive Voice Response (IVR). One of Google’s core objectives was to figure out how we can improve IVR and build flow and fluidity in our customer conversations.
We use natural language to make it easier to identify what the user is trying to achieve when calling the contact center. Once we have figured out what the user is aiming to accomplish, Dialogflow can process the request and automate the customer end to end conversation.
Naturally, there are bound to be scenarios where automation doesn’t resolve the user’s issue. In those cases, we push the call to a human agent. Thanks to the automation process, the entire context of what has happened so far is passed on to the agent, thus saving the user time by not having to repeat information. The waiting time is also reduced since live agents are only servicing requests that are complicated enough to require human intervention. This ultimately leads to a much better user experience.
Shantanu: The nature of the job has evolved significantly in the last few years. Agents are no longer just a voice on the other end of the phone – they are greater brand agents and ambassadors. They have become an important extension of the brand that doesn’t just provide conflict resolution, they are integral to upselling and cross-selling for the business.
Additionally, the contact center agent is increasingly acting as a differentiator for companies. While automation and AI are able to address simple questions and other “low-hanging fruit,” the agent is becoming more and more responsible for reshaping and redefining customer service – a major part of a company’s brand. The agent is fulfilling a sophisticated task that transcends basic customer service.
Shantanu: One exciting thing we’re doing with Dialogflow is Topic Modeling. When customers call into the contact center, Dialogflow builds a unique model that learns what data points should be extracted from the customer’s dialogue as well as what actions should be executed. For example, if a company launches a product before the holiday season, Dialogflow can listen to the customer feedback and ensure that the product is not only functioning as intended but is providing a positive user experience. The ability to get immediate, strong feedback can help gauge user sentiment and ensure that agents are interfacing with customers in the most useful way possible. In addition to gauging the nature of customer feedback, Dialogflow can also assess a user’s mood. This has proven effective in empowering the agent to have better answers and be more educated. When you can detect emotion and sentiment, it makes it far easier for contact center and the business teams to work cross-functionally to make a better customer experience. Building that dialogue between the contact center and the business provides a powerful value proposition for companies that are looking to elevate their brand.
Shantanu: It was a great event and provided excellent networking opportunities. As a speaker, I really enjoyed interacting with the different speakers and the knowledge exchange that transpired. Additionally, the diverse audience provided an excellent learning experience that I really enjoyed.
Click here to experience the 2018 Toll-Free User Summit Session: Signs of the Future with Google’s Contact Center AI.
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