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Combining AI and Humans in the Year of the Rat
January 28, 2020 Blog


By Ravi Saraogi, Co-Founder and President of Uniphore, APAC


The Year of the Rat in the upcoming Lunar New Year marks the transition to new beginnings, associated with wealth and prosperity. According to Chinese myths, those born in the Rat year are quick to identify and take advantage of opportunities. These are qualities that allow them to take the lead in The Great Race. Successful organisations will want to take advantage of these qualities in this new year through the power of emerging technologies.

Specific to the customer service industry, brands that utilise Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will improve business operations and customer experiences. More often than not, customers today are frustrated that broken customer service systems and poorly equipped agents don’t understand their requests. To fix this, enterprises must move away from a siloed experience and approach service holistically. The time is now to blend the capabilities of people and AI and better understand conversations in real-time.


New Year, New Power to Customer Voice

With technological capabilities, it’s about time we start hearing what customers really want. Customers today are time poor, distracted and empowered by lots of products and services to choose from. Instant gratification is their modus operandi. With other factors like price point and product quality being at par, superior customer service remains challenging and is often a deal breaker. In a competitive landscape, customers demand a seamless experience when interacting with a brand.

That said, AI can now help brands to truly listen to the voice of the customer and understand their needs in order to quickly resolve customer queries, deepen customer engagement, and deliver superior customer experience at scale.


Rats are Clever and Quick Thinkers – like Conversational Service Automation

Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Gobind Singh Deo emphasises Malaysia’s potential in the development of AI in both public and private sectors, and the importance of ensuring the local government and industries capitalise on the opportunities at hand.[1]

The use of AI is becoming more prevalent in the customer service industry as conversations become more complex. There is a small window of opportunity for brands to deliver personalised customer service, particularly when your engagement happens across diverse channels. Being equipped with an understanding of context, sentiment, behaviour and real intent, and being able to act on such insights in real-time becomes even more crucial.

Conversational Service Automation is about enabling front office automation in contact centres. Consider this scenario: A customer starts a conversation with a chatbot for quick self-service. The bot is able to provide some quick and valuable updates based on the customer’s previous interactions. If the conversation gets more complex, the voice bot politely hands the call to a human agent via a live transfer. The agent is assisted through real-time analytics and chat transcripts to be able to make the next best offer which the customer gladly accepts.

This automation backed by real-time analytics is continuously self-learning, enabling real-time listening of conversations across channels and then converting them into actionable insights. As a result, a win-win situation is created where businesses can reduce work pressure on call center agents, improve accuracy of information and greater customer satisfaction.


Getting Ahead of the Race with Voice and AI

We are in the midst of a customer experience transformation and conversational AI technology is leading this change. There is a positive acceptance from both businesses and customers to adopt newer conversational AI technologies. This is driven by the try-before-you-buy and pay-as-you-go models offered, which enterprises find appealing and less risky. Brands can take smaller bets, test-and-learn and then scale up.

Automation has successfully allowed computers to respond to contexts within queries, monitor customer behaviour and improve overall customer service. Moreover, contact centre agents can now receive real-time alerts and recommendations for upsell and cross-sell. The time is now for companies to leverage conversational AI to deliver a quantum leap in customer service, in an industry that is full of potential. Just like rats that are quick thinkers and clever, brands that embrace conversational service automation will be the ones who stay ahead of the competition and thrive in the new year.


Here’s wishing everyone a happy Lunar New Year.