AI

Crafting Authentic Customer Experiences: Uniting AI, Virtual Agents, and Live Agents

In the age of rapid digital transformation, businesses find themselves in a race to provide customers with seamless experiences that transcend the boundaries of traditional support methods. The upcoming webcast roundtable on “Seamless Customer Experience – Combining AI, Virtual Agents, and Live Agents” promises to delve into the exciting realm where AI, virtual agents, and human touch converge to create truly authentic customer interactions. Mark your calendars for September 12th at 1pm Eastern,

https://bit.ly/441c4WL as we embark on a journey to demystify the fusion of technology and human ingenuity. 

The Imperative of Seamless Customer Experience

In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer expectations, the significance of a seamless customer experience cannot be overstated. Today’s customers demand quick, personalized, and efficient interactions across multiple channels. This webcast roundtable recognizes that customer engagement is the bedrock of brand strategy, and to succeed, businesses must harmonize AI, digital tools, and human agents to create an integrated customer journey.

Navigating the Confluence of AI and Human Support

While the potential of AI and conversational bots is undeniable, the challenge lies in ensuring a harmonious coexistence between automated systems and human agents. The roundtable promises to shed light on this delicate balance, offering insights into how businesses can align their self-service and agent-assisted support for maximum efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Empowering Customer Support with AI and Virtual Assistants

Modern businesses are leveraging AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to deliver personalized and prompt customer support. The webcast will explore how these tools not only streamline routine inquiries but also enable businesses to capitalize on intent data. By understanding customer needs and preferences, companies can strategically automate common inquiries and optimize agent workflows to enhance overall team productivity.

Data-Driven Strategies for Exceptional Customer Service

Harnessing the power of historical and real-time customer engagement data is pivotal in constructing a modern customer service strategy. This roundtable aims to equip participants with the know-how to leverage this data goldmine effectively. By analyzing past interactions, businesses can identify automation opportunities, fine-tune self-service strategies, and enhance their overall approach to customer engagement.

Consistency Across Every Channel, Every Time

Customers no longer perceive brands through a single channel; they expect a consistent experience across every touchpoint. This roundtable will dive into the techniques for ensuring a uniform customer journey, regardless of the channel. From social media to email, the discussion will encompass strategies to create a unified brand presence that resonates authentically with customers.

The Pursuit of “Authentic Intelligence”

As AI becomes more prevalent in customer interactions, there’s a growing need to infuse authenticity into these exchanges. The webcast will explore how to transcend the “Artificial” in AI and deliver what customers truly desire—genuine, meaningful interactions. Additionally, it emphasizes the indispensable role of empowered human agents in creating exceptional customer experiences.In a world where technological advancements and human creativity intersect, the webcast on September 12th holds the promise of unraveling the complexities of modern customer engagement. By merging AI’s capabilities, virtual agents’ efficiency, and the empathy of human agents, businesses can etch their names in the annals of customer delight. Join us at 1pm Eastern for an illuminating discussion that will reshape your approach to customer experience. After all, in the pursuit of seamless interactions, innovation and authenticity are the guiding stars.  https://bit.ly/441c4WL

How Technology is Redefining the Connection between Businesses and Consumers

The world of customer relations is constantly changing. New tech gives businesses better insights into consumer behavior and shifting preferences redefine the way marketers approach potential clients.

Emergent technology gives consumers greater control over their experience, too. This is particularly important today, as 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs while a further 82% say they expect retailers to accommodate their needs.

Clearly, consumers show a strong preference for authentic connections and personalization. This means that consumer-oriented businesses must get up to speed with the latest tech like AI-powered chatbots, metaverse branded experiences, and predictive analytics programs.

AI and Customer Service

The recent rise of artificial intelligence has been heralded as the start of a new era for customer service. Programs like ChatGPT boasted a 100 million active monthly user base just two months after launching and competitors like Google Bard are quickly catching up.

Natural language processing (NLP) models are not just for public use, either. Advanced large language models transform the connection between consumers and businesses by significantly improving customer service. Modern businesses use AI to provide prompt, accurate support to folks who log on to their websites.

AI analytics can improve the in-store experience, too. Smart retail is revolutionizing the consumer experience by improving product research and streamlining operations. Over 50% of stores say they soon use some form of “smart” inventory management and 38% are adopting AI in-store. This can build cohesion between brands’ digital and physical points of sale.


Advanced Chatbots can be programmed to understand tone and brand expectations, too. For example, subscription services like GPT4 have been used to mimic human-like interactions on popular applications like DuoLingo and the Khan Academy. These same NLPs can be trained using pre-existing conversations by real agents to better address consumer’s needs.

Firms who do decide to proceed with AI-enhanced customer relations can free up time for customer service agents. This is particularly helpful if agents spend most of their day responding to FAQs, but could better spend their time answering more complex queries.

Marketing

Artificial intelligence can be used to better understand consumer trends and predict fluctuations in the market. For example, companies that measure consumer engagement can garner data-driven that help them measure and track the efficacy of their marketing campaigns.

The data businesses collect can also be used to optimize future campaigns. For example, companies that track consumer acquisition cost (CQC) in real-time can tell when exactly their marketing spend pays off. Using this insight, firms can find ways to improve their ROI and produce more profitable marketing campaigns.


High-tech businesses can also use social listening tools to detect conversations about the brand online. This is particularly important for businesses that are concerned about protecting their brand reputation as a swift response can curtail costly customer complaints. Advanced social listening tools trawl the web in search of brand mentions and notify marketers whenever someone mentions their brand.

Metaverse

The metaverse currently has 400 million active users and a global market value of $82 billion. However, many businesses and brands are still unsure of how to interact with consumers in the virtual world.

Event-based marketing in the metaverse can be particularly powerful for progressive brands who want to connect with young consumers. Digital events give businesses a chance to interact with potential consumers and can give folks personalized attention. 

Some brands, like Nike, are even using the space to sell their wares directly. The athletic-wear titan uses augmented reality (AR) tech to make shopping that much easier. Folks who visit their virtual store can “try on” clothes to see how they would fit before actually making the purchase. This gives folks more time to find products that suit their style.

Personalization

Modern consumers demand personalized brand experiences. Put simply, folks don’t want to feel like a cog in the wheel and are looking for businesses that make them feel important. Until recently, however, most brands could not authentically claim to provide personalized marketing.

Today, advanced data analytics empowers personalization efforts. High-tech data collection programs allow brands to wield big data and refine their approach to customer engagement. This means that marketers can create more accurate consumer personas while tracking metrics like conversion rates and customer satisfaction scores.

Ideally, personalization should be part of a wider Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. This ensures that everyone understands their role and increases data utilization. Using the right CRM can make importing data easier, too, meaning all departments can contribute to producing an accurate understanding of consumer needs.

Conclusion

Emergent technology is redefining the connection between businesses and consumers. No matter the technology, businesses can personalize the consumer experience and garner brand loyalty. In the future, we can expect even more enhanced customer experiences as these same businesses figure out which technologies and tactics work best for customers and how to adapt.

It’s Time to Re-Frame Our Thinking Around Conversational AI

Contributed article by Stuart Dorman, Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio Group

It’s seven years since Amazon launched its Echo smart speaker, introducing us all to Alexa and taking the virtual assistant mainstream.

Since then, Amazon and Google have shipped over a hundred million speakers, and it’s estimated that there are now over 100,000 ‘skills’ available for Amazon’s Echo alone.

They represented the first idea of a computer whose entire interface was based on voice. Up until this point, our primary interactions with computers were controlled by keyboards, mice and eventually touch – with everything fed back to us through graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

They are clever pieces of technology – but the most basic form of computer; a voice browser with microphone and speakers with all intelligence behind it based on the cloud. Although basic, it was an ingenious way to capture data to train the machine learning algorithms to improve the performance of the speech recognition.

On launch, the ambitions of both Amazon and Google’s devices were absolutely huge. Initial visions were of Star Trek-style ‘all seeing, all knowing’ computers. Our very own Personal Assistant’s helping to organise our lives, controlling our homes and giving us access to whatever we wanted.

But in reality, they failed to reach their full potential – instead being used today to predominantly play music, check the weather, or turn on the odd compatible lightbulb…

So, what’s stopping us from using them to engage more widely? And does our experience of home devices impact how brands address the conversational AI opportunity?
The challenge Amazon and Google had was that they underestimated and understated the complex relationships and domain expertise that was required when interacting with brands; brands that were concerned in the likes of utilities, insurance, travel or any other services that the average person/household needs.

It was just too complicated – it’s a bit like calling my bank to book a holiday. The poor person on the other end of the phone wouldn’t have the knowledge or tools to fulfil my request. The idea that a universal voice assistant could run our homes and our lives was just too ambitious…

Instead of complexity, we want our brand engagement to be quick, easy to understand and simple to conduct. If we’re dealing with an insurance firm, for example, we expect any conversational AI solution to understand what it is that we’re trying to achieve and offer a self-service option when it’s the right thing to do.

Any solution should be able to capture why I’m calling, work out whether my request can be addressed through automation, or connect me with an advisor when the task needs a human touch. We engage with a bank on financial matters, or when we have issues with our power or water we turn to a utility. At no point would we expect an insurance company or a telco company to help us sort out our holidays… 

Technology is no longer a barrier for conversational AI  

The good news is that technology no longer needs to be a barrier when it comes to deploying conversational AI. Speech recognition keeps getting stronger and stronger, indeed we’re now at the stage where we can synthesise speech to sound almost indistinguishable from human. And with AI processing power now doubling every ten weeks, the computing power that’s assigned to training neural nets and AI engines is becoming more and more accessible. 

This is driving both performance increases and cost reductions, enabling organisations to broaden out their speech AI capabilities and making it possible for CX teams to capture conversations from voice, video and text – wherever they take place in the customer journey. Capturing all these conversations digitally allows brands to unlock new insights and extract value from the data, particularly in the customer service world where conversational AIs can now be trained to become real experts in their specific fields or sectors. 

Building conversational AI with deep, sector-specific context  

Instead of attempting to be a universal assistant, the goal for conversational AI solutions across customer journeys is for them to become real experts in their own field. Effective use of intent capture and analysis techniques will give your AI precise insight into just why your customers are getting in touch. Speech AI solutions can then be trained in detail, with further content and expertise added as new customer issues and topics are raised. 

This will see conversational AI move beyond the first wave of AI-powered voice and chatbot solutions. These tended to replace somewhat clunky IVR systems, and have generally been highly successful with many succeeding in automating between
30-40% of interactions. However, these solutions have often been standalone leading to silo-ed customer data that has been hard to integrate with other parts of the customer journey. 

Moving towards a second wave of conversational AI  

We expect the second wave of speech AI to be much more far-reaching, embedding natural language understanding and AI and automation capabilities across a broader range of applications. Conversational AI and voice recognition will increasingly be used to support CRM and mobile apps, as well as for contact centre advisor support where the AI can listen to conversations, advise on compliance, recommend relevant knowledge articles and give advisors help where it’s needed.

This kind of real-time guidance, backed up by powerful analytics tools and capabilities such as sentiment analysis will help conversational AI deliver consistent, high-quality experiences across extended customer journeys.

To learn more about conversational AI and how you can transform your customer journeys with Automation and AI, download our AI & Automation ebook.

About Sabio Group 

Sabio Group is a global digital customer experience (CX) transformation specialist with major operations in the UK (England and Scotland), Spain, France, Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and India. 

The Group, which includes ‘makepositive’, delivers solutions and services that seamlessly combine digital and human interactions to support outstanding customer experiences. 

Through its own technology, and that of world-class technology leaders such as Amazon Connect, Avaya, Genesys, Google Cloud, Salesforce, Twilio and Verint, Sabio helps organisations optimise their customer journeys by making better decisions across their multiple contact channels.  

The Group works with major brands worldwide, including Aegon, AXA Assistance, BBVA, BGL, Caixabank, DHL, loveholidays, Marks & Spencer, Rentokil, Essent, GovTech, HomeServe, Saga, Sainsbury’s Argos, Telefónica and Transcom Worldwide.  

Make Sure that Customers, Agents and Managers Can Navigate the New Normal… and Beyond

At first, it seemed like a sudden squall, roiling every channel in which companies do business. Customer service leaders hung on to the till for dear life to weather what they thought to be a temporary tempest that would soon take them to calmer waters. As time continues to go by, some elements have stabilized a bit, but it is clear we are dealing with a sea change in the way businesses of all sizes need to deliver a consistently superior customer experience.

While successful organizations will navigate the wave of transformation in the workplace, those that continue to do business as usual will flounder along the way. But what defines the demarcation line between simply treading water and charting an informed course? It involves leveraging strategies and CX solutions that enable their workforce to adapt, their customers to have their needs met, and their businesses to thrive.

It has become more critical than ever to listen more carefully to what customers are saying. Updating the contact center by taking advantage of AI and automation capabilities which provide a powerful resource to uncover insights and opportunities for optimizing customer service. Intelligent use of these technologies enables on-the-fly research to better comprehend changing dynamics and new pain points as well as determine innovative approaches to address them. CX leaders who effectively apply AI and automation will create value for consumers. Companies that can create seamless   interactions between assisted self-service and a hybrid workforce will have a distinct competitive   advantage in an environment where customers often struggle to reach businesses.

A study last year in the Harvard Business Review found that the average American consumer spends 13 hours a year stuck on hold trying to resolve problems. The study also revealed that disgruntled customers who need to make two or more calls to resolve their issue, often simply just give up. More than three-quarters of consumers come away “less than satisfied” with a company’s customer service. In many cases, companies set up their customer service operations to make it more difficult for irate customers to gain satisfaction.

One vital way to diminish growing frustration levels is to ensure that front-line personnel are fully engaged and empowered to effectively answer customer calls. This entails both giving them the right knowledge management tools to do their jobs as well as providing employees and supplemental remote workers the real-time assistance necessary to collaborate with each other from multiple locations.

Maintaining compliance in the face of rapidly changing regulations and diverse team locations is also an important element in staying afloat. But how can managers ensure the proper procedures are being followed in a time when they have far less oversight into the daily activities of their agents?

Improved capabilities to listen to customer conversations via AI and automation…engaging and empowering the workforce to optimize productivity and responsiveness…being vigilant about keeping compliance with a staff situated in diverse locations These are the three cornerstones of navigating the new normal and thriving in the time beyond the pandemic.  Customer engagement and cyber intelligence specialists Verint will present a series of three in-depth webcasts on these crucial areas spaced over a one-month period on CrmXchange.

Entitled “Modern Solutions and Best Practices to Make Life Easier for Agents, Managers, and Customers,” the series will kick off on Tuesday, September 29th at 1:00 PM ET with a session on “AI Powered Analytics Drive Exceptional CX with Human and Digital Channels” which will examine such vital issues as:

  • Determining what types of issues cause the most customer frustration, and how to fix them
  • How businesses can see a unified view of their customer service across channels
  • How can you understand your customer and user intents to drive a successful self-service strategy?

It will be presented by Daniel Ziv, VP, Speech and Text Analytics – Global Product Strategy, Verint and Tracy Malingo, SVP of Product Strategy, Verint.  Daniel has extensive expertise in helping companies achieve significant ROI by improving performance and quality, while enhancing customer engagement. Tracy has an extensive background in strategic and operational vision on conversational AI, having also served as president of NextAI, where she was instrumental in guiding the technology into the mainstream. Register now

The second presentation, “Empowering the Workforce and Maximizing Productivity” will take place on Tuesday, October 13 at 1:oo PM ET. It will focus on making sure that both remote and in-person representatives have everything they need to fulfill their roles as the face of an organization. Among the topics covered will be

  • How to keep employees engaged by giving them the right tools to effectively do their jobs
  • Ensuring that employees have the opportunity to collaborate with each other from multiple locations
  • Providing real-time assistance to help the growing number of work-from-home agents answer customer calls effectively.

The speakers are consummate professionals: John Chmaj, Sr. Practice Director, Knowledge Management, Verint Global Consulting Services, is a seasoned veteran in the KM field. He has worked in all phases of the customer support process, including telephone and online support, technical writing, applications development, and worldwide knowledge systems design. He will be joined by Jon Allen, VP & GM, Communities & Web Self-Service, Verint. Register now for this session.

The final webcast in the series “Ensuring Compliance in the New Normal” is set for Tuesday, October 27 at 1:00PM ET. It will examine the emerging disciplines involved in effectively maintaining compliance with teams now scattered across diverse locations where it is often more difficult to keep track of what agents are doing on a day-to-day basis. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Take a proactive approach by making it easy for a company’s agents to consistently follow the correct processes
  • Monitor employees’ activities and productivity even when they are working remotely
  • Ensure the company can capture, store, and analyze the interaction data necessary to prove compliance and investigate issues

This important how-to presentation will be delivered by Verint’s Directors of Content Marketing, Kelly Koellicker and Iain Dawes. Kelly’s focus on contact center workforce engagement solutions, coupled with Iain’s extensive expertise on compliance and ability to tell comprehensible, engaging stories covering a wider variety of subject matter will make for an entertaining and informative session. Register now for this session

Register for all three for this transformational webcast series. If you are unable to attend any of the live webcasts, a link to the recording will be posted within 24 hours after the presentation.

Unearthing the Most Important CX Initiatives for 2021 Requires Going Far Beneath the Surface

It’s always been a tried and true topic for seminars and webcasts to divine the most significant changes and new directions in a specific industry. Until now, when someone set out to predict what the major trends might be in the following year, they could often just look at what was being forecast in the previous year and update the syllabus of such educational offerings by integrating any new ideas that may have been introduced in the interim.

Of course, viewed through the prism of the world we are now living in, that notion seems like a quaint anachronism, as irrelevant as the Jetson’s 1960s vision of a future of flying cars that fold into briefcases. The clichés used to describe the current situation in the CX/contact center world are mounting …the world has been turned upside down, the way we do business has changed forever, we are living in a new normal, etc. But however tired we may be of seeing these aphorisms, they reflect an undeniable reality. Organizations of all types must find and implement innovative methods to address customers’ momentous needs today to build enduring relationships in the era when Covid-19 is just a jarring memory.

Simply stated, the pandemic has triggered a re-evaluation of the meaning and purpose of customer care. Over the past few months, the emphasis on complex examinations of customer journeys and satisfaction metrics have been supplanted by a focus on the gravity of ensuring that consumers can get the information they need when they need it. Consequently, businesses are now changing the way they will measure and deliver the customer experience in 2021. The sudden transition calls for a new perspective that extends beyond familiar metrics, existing processes, and technology silos.

With the disruption in the workforce due to the lockdowns and furloughs, can businesses be counted on to provide service which makes empathy, understanding and concern integral elements of every interaction? Can CX leaders rapidly reposition themselves to react to the likely long-term alterations in consumer behavior that will undoubtedly come about from this crisis? The challenge is to pivot, innovate and transform operations in a way that enables organizations to not only stand out from the competition, but create new standards of service that truly address the evolving needs of the customer.

In this environment, any educational program that attempts to identify the most critical developments in the next year of the customer experience universe must take a totally fresh approach. On Tuesday, August 11th at 1:00 PM ET, CrmXchange offers a complimentary Best Practices Roundtable discussion that will provide an in-depth examination of the elements that have now become front and center in importance. “CX Megatrends to Watch in 2021” will be presented jointly by experts from two solution providers with demonstrated expertise in revamping contact center operations. Steve Chirokas, Director, Product and Channel Marketing, CallMiner, and Laura Bassett, Senior Director, Product Marketing, NICE inContact, will team up and tap their extensive backgrounds in providing guidance and strategic direction to industry leaders.

The topics to be discussed include:

  • Why Work-from-Home affects the customers’ perception of a brand and the ways that getting it right can positively influence loyalty
  • How to manage remote workers for increases in productivity and enhanced CX
  • In what ways can customer insight, using emotional metrics combined with AI agility, aid agents in taking the next best compelling action
  • How to build momentum toward in-the-moment voice of your customer insight and ensure that responses make for dynamic personalization
  • How to recognize and prioritize digital strategy
  • Specific reasons why moving to the cloud decreases uncertainty during a pandemic

Register now for this enlightening roundtable discussion that will give you updated guidance on what lies ahead. If you can’t attend the live presentation, a link to the recorded webcast will be provided 24 hours after it has been completed.

Infusing Digital CX With Human Intelligence

In today’s contact centers, there are plenty of avenues for using technology to provide a great customer experience. How can we make sure to maintain a personal touch? In the live Virtual Conference webcast, Dave Hoekstra from Calabrio demonstrated how to infuse digital CX with human intelligence to create a meaningful customer experience for not only your customers, but for your agents as well.

In today’s contact centers, we are constantly hearing the terms “AI” and “machine learning”. What does all of that mean? Really, we are talking about the ability for machines to display human-like intelligence; a concept that CX has fully embraced in recent years. Years ago, customer service was strictly face-to-face. Over time, the customer experience has evolved into omnichannel experiences for the customer such as e-mail, chat boxes, and SMS messaging. In 2020, IoT data will grow at 50 times the rate of other data. CX must keep up with this trend, however, it is vital to maintain humanity in these exchanges.

Customer expectations for CX are increasingly rising, demanding instant responses, personalized services, and omnichannel experience. With these rising expectations, maintaining customer loyalty is more complicated than ever.

The problem is that most businesses don’t know what their customers want. Why? Because they are simply not listening. Only one in four companies actively use their customer feedback, while only one in three actively use their customer interaction analytics. Ninety-eight percent of invaluable customer intelligence is sitting on the shelf. Businesses must turn this information into actionable intelligence to push them toward their goals.

Here is what we know: customers prefer human contact. Eighty-six percent of customers claim they prefer human contact to chat bots. Seventy-one percent of customers said they would be less likely to use a brand if it didn’t have customer service representatives available. While many believe phone contact is dying, calls to businesses are expected to exceed 169 billion per year by 2020. In response, businesses must humanize their customer relationship.

As previously mentioned, businesses are sitting on a goldmine of information. Using sentiment analysis, businesses can take information such as recordings from phone calls to identify human emotion in order to really understand what is going on in the day-to-day processing of our customers.

Another focus area is employee and agent empowerment. By empowering human intelligence in the contact center, businesses can drive an agent-centric approach while giving their employees the flexibility and balance they need. The integration of AI in this equation provides a personal assistant to your employees rather than taking their place. Thus, improving work-life balance, allowing for flexible planning and scheduling, and happier agents. That’s the key: happy agents lead to happy customers.

AI Assistance may also improve training and development. This can include VoC (Voice of the Customer) training, automated quality monitoring, a more intelligent way to schedule training opportunities, and cross-functional job training. Businesses are still living in an environment where operations are siloed because agents’ skills are very specific. Enter: training across job functions. Here, businesses can get ahead of the curve by recognizing where their employees’ strengths and weaknesses are before they are out in the field.

All of this leads to more empowered employees. Employees that are more engaged are:

  • 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within the year.
  • 4x more likely to stay than dissatisfied colleagues
  • 3.3x more likely to feel empowered to resolve customer issues

It’s time to hear your customers out. First. audit your technology stack. Take a look at all of the different ways your customers can get in touch with you and figure out what works best. Second, tap into the conversation to gain a comprehensive view of the customer. Finally, focus on your people. Customers matter but so do your agents. It’s time for companies to focus on the people who are engaging customers on a day to day basis. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WEBCAST

 

AI-Driven Modeling to Improve the Agent and Customer Experience

Are traditional analytics and contact center practices enough to drive customer satisfaction? During this live Virtual Conference webcast, Larry Skowronek and Michelle Carlson from NICE Nexidia lead a conversation about how AI-driven data modeling can be the key to achieving greater success. To further explain, Larry and Michelle walk through the state of analytics today, an overview of sentiment analytics, an overview of predictive behavioral routing, and how to combine sentiment and predictive behavioral routing to maximize customer satisfaction and drive progress.

Today, we generally see a large disconnect between business and how they evaluate customer interactions. Eighty percent of companies claim they deliver “superior” customer service, while in reality, only eight percent of their customers actually agree. This is partially because the state of measuring customer satisfaction is deeply flawed. Manual reviews of calls that require a human to evaluate transactions lead to highly subjective, interpretive, and inconsistent feedback, which not only requires higher costs, but also fails to move the needle forward.

Customer contact centers are a dynamic and evolving animal. The only way to respond to change is with change. Enter: Sentiment Analytics. Sentiment Analytics is a way to use machine learning to train a model that measures whether our customer interaction was positive, negative, or neutral on a granular scale. The machine can take our otherwise subjective behaviors and turn them into subjective data that is highly valuable and actionable. This data is consistent, accurate, and without bias. Most importantly, because it is a machine, it can do as much work as we throw at it, so we can receive and analyze data for every single customer interaction.

This AI-based model has proven to be statistically accurate, according to several CX centers that use it. But how exactly does this model measure customer satisfaction. The model reliably measures every interaction, including:

  • Spoken words, like “Awesome”, “I’m annoyed”, and “This is ridiculous”.
  • Laughter detection.
  • Pitch and tone.
  • Cross talk: customer and agent interrupting one another.

These models may also differentiate calls that start positively and end negatively, indicating worst practices, as well as calls that start negatively and end positively, indicating best practices. The reliability and accuracy of these models have allowed businesses to gain deep insights on the overall customer experience and quickly translate those insights into action. Finally, these models create a hyper-personalized customer experience. This is a monumental advantage, as eighty-four percent of customers say that personalized customer experiences are key to winning their business.

For a perfectly personalized customer experience, sentiment models can aid in Predictive Behavioral Routing (PBR), which uses sentiment analytics to match the customer to the appropriate agent and therefore improves the overall customer experience. By bringing Sentiment Analytics and PBR together, businesses can seamlessly operationale their sentiment data by:

  • Calculating customer sentiment on 100% of interactions
  • Using this sentiment combined with personality, make the best connection for the customer.
  • Immediately improve customer experience with AI-powered routing.

So, what does this process look like in real time? In one example, a Fortune 500 company’s customers were initially being transferred all over the contact center. They then optimized their customer calls based on sentiment dada. Here’s what happened:

  • They saw a 15% decrease in negative sentiment on PBR (predictive behavioral routing) routed calls.
  • They saw a 13% increase in positive sentiment on PBR routed calls
  • They saw a 6.4% decrease in average handle time in PBR routed calls
  • This required 0 hours of coaching, training and employee change management.

The combination of sentiment and behavioral routing will improve customer satisfaction metrics, reduce costs for manual listening and surveys, improve customer satisfaction via targeted coaching and performance management, and increase employee satisfaction. Your analytics practices are valuable, but should be evolving to keep up with dynamic consumer expectations. Your employees and customers alike will thank you for it.

To listen to the full webcast click here: https://bit.ly/2ULJgPB

Biometric Authentication and AI Technology: How Companies are Keeping Customers Satisfied and Safe from Fraud

With the constantly increasing need for customer service and sales support, contact center operations continue to expand, generating over $300 billion in revenue each year according to JLL Research. Given the vast amount of sensitive data that flows through contact center environments, security -including insidious insider threats – has become a serious concern. According to a recent report by UK-based Contact-Centres, the rate of contact center fraud has gone up dramatically over the past four years, increasing by 350 percent. This has created what Gartner calls “an epicenter of vulnerability.”

In the US, as many as 1,300 breaches were tracked last year by the Identity Theft Resource Centre1. Fraud perpetrators are becoming more sophisticated, leveraging today’s omnichannel shopping techniques. For example, a fraudster can employ social engineering to reset a password on a victim’s account, using information now easily found via social networks and Google searches to obtain usernames, passwords, and other personal data. Criminals then employ that newly reset password to hoodwink a live agent into giving away additional information and sometimes even performing fraudulent financial transactions.

For contact centers, finding effective methods of tackling this daunting challenge calls for a multi-faceted approach, including ways to prevent attacks emanating from both outside and inside the company. That means identifying dishonest individuals who call in masquerading as legitimate customers, or try to hack into contact center data, as well as keeping dishonest agents from stealing customer information. The caveat is that contact centers need to implement such security measures without creating barriers to a positive customer experience for honest consumers.

One method now coming into widespread use is biometric authentication to verify customer identity. Some solution providers offer tools that support self-service interactive voice response (IVR) via voice and face recognition and when the customer is using a smartphone, can even support fingerprint authentication. Others offer voice biometric identity verification which relies on more than simply the physical characteristics of a voiceprint when authenticating end users. An advanced voice biometrics engine can also account for how a user speaks and what is said. taking note of variations in the pitch and tone of a customer’s voice.

So, how can forward-thinking organizations take the right measures to adapt to this new reality and protect their customers from fraud without negatively impacting satisfaction ratings? On Tuesday, December 10 at 2:00 pm ET, CrmXchange is offering an complimentary, in-depth webcast entitled “The Biometrics Win-Win – How Leading Brands Are Beating Fraud While Improving CX.”

The session is sponsored by Nuance, named a leader in Conversational AI for Customer Service, including voice and speech engines, human/AI blending, omni‑channel delivery and security and authentication in the in Q2 2019 Forrester New Wave. The presenters are established authorities on improving contact center security: Simon Marchand, Nuance’s Chief Fraud Prevention Officer, and Dima Cichi, Senior Principal Product Manager, Security and Biometrics for Nuance. Among the topics addressed will be:

  • How the fraud battle lines are shifting and why AI tech can help win the fight in the contact center and beyond
  • Enabling stronger authentication to co-exist happily with exceptional customer experience
  • A first-hand look at how combining voice, behavioral and other biometric modalities deliver a powerful cross-channel defense
  • An examination of the latest Nuance innovations for authentication and fraud detection
  • The benefits both large and small organizations are realizing from faster, stronger authentication and real-time fraud detection

Register now for this eye-opening session: if you can’t attend the live presentation on December 10, it will be available for download 24 hours after it is completed.

 

What New Paths Will Companies Take to Shape the Customer Journey in the Years to Come?

As the time-honored adage puts it, ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.’ These days, the journey a customer takes when engaging with a company may be far more geographically limited but usually starts with a lot more steps. The ever-evolving customer journey incorporates varying interactions and experiences that take place on different touchpoints: a website visit for research, a call with a sales rep or chat with an agent, a conversation on social media or online review site, an inbound call, and even an in-store retail encounter.

It has become more important than ever for a business to take advantage of every possible resource to understand its customers: their wants, needs, and expectations, their thoughts and opinions and feedback and expectations. Building this knowledge will enable companies to deliver the highly personalized customer experiences that are becoming more crucial all the time in an increasingly competitive marketplace where consumers are offered a constantly growing array of options.

Given access to vast resources of data and technology, the customer journey today has morphed dramatically from where it was even five or ten years ago. And every company’s success depends upon combining the right technologies with the agility needed to effectively manage all the interactions that take place on every channel along the way.

Gazing into the future, which often-predicted developments will come to pass? Will the migration to the cloud finally encompass all businesses and make service more responsive? Will messaging ultimately surpass voice as the communication channel that is most compelling for businesses and consumers alike? Will digital transformation extend its reach deeper into the contact center environment to better leverage profile data, more closely examine customer feedback, and measure sentiment? Will customers expect greater availability of agent support that involves the use of screenshots, photos and video? And how will the growing use of AI-powered solutions progress, both in terms of those that provide more effective self-service options and those that support the development of more highly specialized agents?

Of course, no one can foresee every possible path the customer journey will take in the coming years, but CX and contact center executives and managers have an opportunity to get a cogent vision of many of the most important changes in an upcoming complimentary roundtable webcast on CrmXchange. On Thursday, December 5, at 1:00PM ET, NICE Nexidia and RingCentral will team up to explore “Smooth Customer Journey- Predictions for 2020 and Beyond.

Ken Brisco, Senior Product Marketing Manager, NICE Nexidia, who is responsible for establishing the scope and message as well as the competitive advantages of NICE’s Customer Journey Optimization Solutions within the CX space will be joined by RingCentral’s John Finch, AVP PMM, Customer Engagement, an executive with an extensive background in developing strategy for global customer engagement. Among the topics they will cover are:

  • How AI-driven analytics can boost customer loyalty and retention
  • The importance of measuring quality across all channels
  • In what ways bots are best able to collaborate with humans
  • How macro to micro-level journey analysis drives deeper insights into customer engagement

Register now for this insightful look into which near-future developments may change the way your organization helps to orchestrate the customer experience. If you are unable to attend on December 5, you can access the recorded version approximately 24 hours after the live presentation.

 

Melding AI and Virtual Assistants with Humans: The Right Formula for a Superior Customer Experience

By now, just about all of us have encountered an automated system when reaching out to a contact center. According to research cited in a 2017 IBM Watson blog, by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. Sometimes, such systems work flawlessly: the bot or virtual assistant (VA) understands customers responses easily and the conversation progresses smoothly as they either get the information they expected or complete the process they hoped to finish. In some cases, customers may not even be sure they are interacting with an automated entity.

But while AI continues to provide increasingly beneficial results in the contact center environment and to grow in its capabilities to emulate human behavior, it is not yet the be-all, end-all technology that can resolve every issue. In some instances, the AI system simply can’t process the information that customers supply, leaving them ensnared in a loop of repetitive responses….and the resultant frustration can have immediate and serious consequences. NICE inContact’s 2018 CX Transformation Benchmark, revealed that only 33% of consumers found that chatbots and VAs consistently made it easier to get their issues resolved.

This is precisely why it’s critical to ensure that empathetic human intervention is readily available.

When the human touch is needed, it must be prompt, proactive, professional and above all, responsive to the customer’s needs. While many contact centers are increasing their reliance on AI solutions to reduce headcount and deliver rapid ROI on their technology expenditure, they are also learning that not having enough caring flesh-and-blood agents ready to complement their electronic counterparts can result in diminished loyalty and customer churn. Establishing the right balance between an effective, continuously updated AI program and humans who can seamlessly step in at just the right moment is a necessity in an environment where customer satisfaction has become the most significant business differentiator.

Having the capacity to train an AI system to determine the exact point in a conversation on any touch point where the customer needs to be handed off to a live agent is the most important factor in the process. Analytics plays a key role: data gathered within each individual interaction can provide a treasure trove of relevant information enabling managers to better understand what sets a customer on edge, what makes them feel more comfortable in a conversation that is not going well and what can ultimately drive them to take their business elsewhere. Having the right intelligence readily available also enables management to also pinpoint necessary adjustments in policy, procedure or verbiage.

Of course, as AI increases in intelligence through machine learning, it can also provide additional value-added suggestions such as which department is best equipped to assist customers based on analysis of their specific needs. Leading-edge AI solutions can pair such customers with an individual agent with the right skill set to guide them to successful resolution of their issue.

Companies investigating either implementing or upgrading an AI customer service solution need to develop a strategy that offers optimal potential to enhance customer relationships and improve the quality of interactions on all touch points. In addition, they must explore ways to strengthen collaboration between self-service entities and live agents.

On Thursday, October 3rd at 1:00 PM ET, CrmXchange will present a Best Practices Roundtable on Seamless Customer Experience: Combining AI VA with Live Agents, featuring experts from leading solution providers NICE inContact and Verint. Among the topics discussed will be:

  • Current AI adoption trends: how to get the most of early AI investments
  • How is AI impacting customer service today and what’s ahead in the future?
  • Where AI can add the greatest benefits
  • How to define and implement the right mix of automation and human touch—without damaging consumer trust and undermining relationships in the process of digitization.

This informative roundtable webcast is complimentary and those unable to attend it live can download it approximately 24 hours after it is completed. Register now