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Conversational AI Boosts the Contact Center (Part 1)

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by Gary Audin

Are you ready to deploy conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) in your contact center? If not now, you will be exploring conversational AI soon.

Conversational AI is about automated messaging and speech-enabled applications that generate human-like interactions between computers and humans. CAI can communicate posing as a human by recognizing speech and/or text. CAI can decipher the customer’s intent in different languages, and respond by mimicking human conversation.

I wanted to learn more, so I contacted Amy Allen, the product manager for CSG’s Conversational AI solution.

What is conversational artificial intelligence?

Conversational AI is a new and innovative way to communicate leveraging AI and delivering a next-gen platform. Conversational AI isn’t just about voice, it’s a generational shift beyond chatbots to meet customers where they want to interact, regardless of communication platforms (SMS, voice, text, chat, IVR, smart home devices), and in a conversational, smart, and personalized way.

The hallmark of an AI system is that it is always learning. A CAI platform has accelerators that speed up AI deployment and training. This solution uses a single AI “brain,” allowing enterprises to reuse interface logic and integrations across several channels or multiple Interactive Voice Responses (IVRs).

How does it apply to contact centers and unified communications?

Conversational AI improves customer satisfaction (CSAT), call containment, first call resolution, and cost control and shortens customer service representative (CSR) training cycles. Contact centers can deploy an AI-powered virtual assistant in their IVR, chat, social or text interfaces to resolve a large chunk of inbound inquiries. By combining multi-intent understanding with contextual awareness, CAI has a much better grasp of the customer’s intent than standard voice-activated call trees. It is able to communicate internally and externally through applications and web sites using natural language (incl. voice, text, or gesture inputs).

Once the virtual assistant is fully integrated and trained, it becomes a true asset for the agile contact center. It adapts to changes in the business’s offerings, processes APIs and data with minimal manual adjustments, and improves the customer’s ability to self-serve through the platform over time.

Conversational AI can also be a valuable training tool. The AI can assist a Customer Service Representative (CSR) through the desktop by listening in on the call, populating the CSR’s screen in real time with pertinent knowledge base information. It can also give the CSR on-screen prompts of what to say or what required disclaimers to give the customer. The end result is that contact centers can shift time away from training CSRs and toward training the AI brain that delivers consistent information – interaction after interaction.

Is this out of the box or do you build it? What is the process?

CSG works with the enterprise customer to develop and build the Conversational AI platform to support the customer’s desired use cases and channels. This is supported by pre-built accelerators that enable rapid deployment into multiple verticals for common use cases and pre-built frameworks for easy integration into back-office and third-party applications.

The process for building a custom Conversational AI solution includes:

Discovery: CSG helps the enterprise take massive amounts of raw, unstructured data from multiple sources and classify customer intents and key issues. This conversational data mining and analysis suite unlocks knowledge held in immense volumes of natural language conversations, delivering previously unprecedented levels of big data insight and true “voice of the customer” understanding. Recent projects have sourced data from call transcripts and ticketing systems as examples of inputs.

Studio: This tool allows non-experts to easily construct dialogues and business logic using visual flow chart structure. The graphical interface makes it easy to understand what is and isn’t working with the dialogue flow, with the ability to make rapid adjustments as necessary. Adding new dialogues or updating responses is as simple as drag and drop, while one-click publishing ensures any changes are live instantly. The Studio tool enables customers to do as little or as much of the dialogue management as they desire.

Deployment: Tailored implementations can be completed in as little as six to eight weeks depending upon scope and specific business goals. Next, the CAI platform is fine-tuned and optimized after delivery to ensure the best possible customer experience.

Management: Enterprises can deploy CAI as a fully managed service running in the cloud, including help with expanding the suite of use cases. Alternately, customers can self-manage all or parts of the system.

The email interview continues in the next blog “Conversational AI Boosts the Contact Center (Part 2)” that explores some of the business consideration when deploying CAI.

A variation of this blog was posted at

Sourced from: Telecom Reseller. View the original article here.

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