Deploying AI to Enhance the Customer Experience

Brace yourself for AI, because ready or not here it comes! “Imagine decades of technology progress packed into a few short years. That’s what it feels like to see advancement in conversational AI and generative AI,” said Steve Brock, marketing director, Avaya.

So, what should you do? “Educate yourself, look for areas where AI could improve efficiency, accuracy or customer satisfaction, pilot a use case and develop a longer-term strategy,” said Brock at an Avaya ENGAGE session, “How Conversational and Generative AI are Transforming the Contact Center.” Kevin Howell, data and AI specialist, intelligent cloud, Microsoft, co-presented the program.

Understand the differences

At the session, Brock explained that conversational AI is like a linguist helping you understand the language in a foreign city. It listens to an incoming call or contact and decides on the best response based on the user’s input. In the contact center, conversational AI use cases include automated customer service, 24/7 support, call routing, personalized recommendations and  customer satisfaction surveys. This can free up human agents, reduce wait times and improve overall customer satisfaction, according to Brock.

“Generative AI is like a storyteller with access to centuries of knowledge and experience that decides on the best response to a user’s input,” Brock said. “It can provide dynamic script generation for human agents for personalized service, along with real-time sentiment analysis and response adaptation. It can also provide training simulations for new agents. Combining the two types of AI can add depth and breadth to the virtual agent experience.”

New contact center capabilities

Generative AI tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT can resolve more complex customer inquiries beyond the ability of chatbots, and open the door to creative strategies, said Brock. For example, you could recreate the voices of famous people and deliver chat responses that sound like Elvis or John Wayne. You could also “hire” virtual agents with personalities tailored to specific verticals.” For instance, an AI-powered virtual agent trained for banking might respond more formally than one trained for marketing or creative services.

In the contact center, AI applications can do call summarization in minutes, automate document processing and support semantic searches to see how customers feel about products and services. “Contact center analytics can be fed back to human agents to help them approach their calls differently. You could can look for keywords, pictures, signatures – all things that can help you get a better idea of how your business is doing.

Other ways generative AI can help organizations is through the creation of content, such as outbound emails and service updates. While human oversight is required, AI can be a time-saving co-pilot, as Howell said referring to the OpenAI-Microsoft partnership. “We are very focused on responsible AI principles, including data privacy, security, inclusiveness, accountability and transparency,” he added.

A look at the future

Looking to the future, Brock said AI’s ability to deliver experiences that fit each customer could be a game-changer for organizations. “You can do a better job of reacting, like dancing the tango, in flowing with the rhythm of the customer’s needs,” he said. “You could also surprise the customer by being proactive, like looking into a crystal ball to see what else might be wanted.”

Brock added that AI tools will provide a 360-degree view of customers shaping interactions and delivering stellar experiences. “We are entering a new era of customer service,” he said. “Let’s embrace the change, fasten our seatbelts and launch a new level of customer experience.”

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