Mike ButtsFebruary 09, 2021

Conversational AI for CX: What, Why, and How

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According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Contact Center Survey, 56% of companies believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is ready for broad adoption and plan to apply the technology around things like process automation, analytics, routing, and workforce solutions. One area the report doesn’t cover, however, is conversational AI, which incorporates AI technologies, like chatbots or voice assistants, with machine learning to improve customer interactions.

Research shows the most successful companies are moving cautiously with AI, starting with agent assist or chatbots (nearly 40% of companies are leveraging AI-powered chatbots to interact with customers). Although many companies are not considering conversational AI, today’s biggest brands, such as Facebook, Apple, and Google, are signaling AI’s rise by making key investments in conversational design.

Wherever your organization is along its AI journey, conversational AI is something you must contend with for the future of customer experience. Getting on board now, or at the very least considering doing so, will put your company lightyears ahead of your competition. Having said that, here’s everything you need to know about conversational AI for customer experience.

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI harnesses the power of AI and Natural Language Processing to substantially increase agent performance in real-time, reduce after-call agent work, initiate workflow actions, enhance regulatory compliance, and summarize interaction details into actionable intelligence that you can use to improve operations and the overall customer experience.

Unlike traditional speech analytics applications that mine calls after they occur, conversational AI transcribes voice conversations in real-time, when you need it most, to help deliver deeper and more personalized customer engagements.

Conversational AI is not a personal voice-activated assistant, like Alexa and Siri. These solutions are conversational, telling jokes and answering factual questions, but they are not true conversational AI. They’re not able to process words or respond with contextual information in real-time, which is where the biggest difference is found. 

Why this is Important?

The conversation is our go-to way of exchanging information, and it needs to be factored into how people and machines work together to create better customer and business outcomes. Conversational AI learns your business and gets smarter over time, applying machine learning algorithms to deliver valuable insight into individual and groups of customer conversations.

Boost Agent Performance When it Counts the Most

Conversational AI can send customer sentiment and intent details with contextual content to agents during live conversations to help them create more meaningful customer engagements. Imagine the productivity and customer experience improvements you can drive by populating agent screens with relevant information like sales scripts, upsell offers, FAQs, or knowledge management content to help agents while they’re speaking with customers in real-time.

Reduce After-call Work

Help your agents focus entirely on the customer by eliminating busywork. Conversational AI automates post-call disposition reporting and other form-fills like CRM inputs to help agents better serve customers and move immediately to the next customer. The technology significantly reduces (if not eliminates) error-prone, incomplete and time-consuming manual tasks.

Turn Unstructured Phone Conversations into Actionable Intelligence

Conversational AI enables organizations to transform unstructured phone conversations into actionable voice-of-the-customer intelligence that can be used to improve agent performance, call handling, first call resolution, self-help content, and more. Share this intelligence with product development, back-office operations, sales, marketing, and other departments to become a customer-led business.

Conversational AI is ideal for organizations that struggle with the following:

  • Agents spending too much time performing after-call work activities like entering call notes into the CRM system
  • Incomplete and/or inaccurate call notes entered into business systems by agents
  • Identifying the real reasons why customers call your contact center
  • Predicting or reacting to changing call patterns in your contact center
  • A mechanism to push real-time guidance to agents during customer conversations
  • Extracting customer intelligence contained in call recordings
  • Complying with industry rules and regulations

What Does Conversational AI Look Like in Action? 

Here’s an example from one of our customers that uses Avaya Conversational Intelligence:

Atento, a leading provider of CRM and BPO services, has driven measurable improvements in its customer satisfaction score (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS) while reducing after-call work for its clients by up to 65% using AI transcription and conversational intelligence services from Avaya.

  • The company takes condensed versions of transcribed text files and auto-populates them into the notes section of a client’s CRM records, eliminating the need for agents to manually do so.
  • The solution automatically transcribes customer voice interactions into a readable format to improve the accuracy of conversations and meet more high-demanding in-call applications.

The company is also experimenting with using transcription services to replace its existing NPS program. Rather than survey small samples of customers after the fact—with many of those responses typically skewing to include angrier customers—the company can use transcription to monitor sentiment for 100% of interactions in real-time. This way, the company can more accurately assess in real-time whether a customer is happy, frustrated, angry, or sad to immediately improve for better overall outcomes. The important factor being the ability to fix issues as they arise in real-time, rather than wait until it is too late.

Here are other examples of how conversational AI can be used:

  • Automatically prompt agents with promotional offers (ex: a flight deal for Bali that ends next week, based on the customer saying the words “flight” and “Bali” in conversation).
  • Prompt specific screens for agents to better assist customers (ex: a screen pop that displays step-by-step directions for a product a customer just bought and is having trouble using)
  • Help keep agents in compliance with rules and regulations (ex: a screen pop that reminds agents they need to disclose certain information based on the real-time transcription of words spoken in conversation).

How Do I Get Started?

It’s expected that by 2025, AI will power 95% of all customer interactions. Schedule a consultation with our professional services team to explore your options Avaya Conversational Intelligence interfaces directly into existing Avaya telephony infrastructures, making the process easy for existing customers.

Conversational AI for CX: What, Why, and How

Mike Butts

Mike has 10 years of contact center experience and more than 25 years of business-to-business marketing experience crafting and executing go-to-market strategies for engineered and technology solutions. At Avaya, Mike focuses on Avaya Workforce Optimization, and agent desktop and contact center solutions for midsize businesses.

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