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Digital Engagement Blog

NLU Router Use Cases

The Sami people, who live in the northern tips of Scandinavia and Russia, use at least 180 words related to snow and ice. And as many as 1,000 words for reindeer.  

What does this have to do with NLU?  Read on... 

Use Cases for an NLU Router

Before we dive into these use cases, you might want to bookmark these recent posts that provide additional background info and perspective leading up to the NLU use case discussion: 

  • This post about conversational interfaces discusses about good and bad use cases for conversational agents and speech IVRs.
  • This NLU Cheat Sheet post is a great backgrounder to boost your general understanding of natural language.

Ready?  Let's dig into the best use cases for an NLU Router:

Topics: IVR conversational IVR NLU

Understanding NLU - A Cheat Sheet for Beginners

NLU is a hot topic these days as it it powering many conversational interfaces. 

So I asked our speech experts to help explain NLU.

But first to Breaking Headlines:

  • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
  • Ban on Nude Dancing on Governor’s Desk
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
  • Stolen Painting Found by Tree
  • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
  • Local HS Dropouts Cut in Half
  • Hospitals Are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

LOL.

These headlines show that language is complex, ambiguous, flexible, and subtle.

A contact center agent can understand the headlines but does a machine/computer/IVR/chatbot have any hope of understanding what is said?

NLU to the rescue!

One technology that can help is NLU.  It can understand the meaning of conversations, dialogs and spoken interactions. 

If it's not already, NLU should be in your customer engagement strategy toolbox.

In this NLU Cheat Sheet, we cover definitions and basics for NLU.

Topics: Performance Optimization Customer Experience voice self-service

Where to Use Conversational Interfaces

Conversational Interfaces

Conversational interfaces where called a break-through technology by MIT Technology Review.

Another article went on to say...

"We think the next era will belong to “the conversational layer” — both text- and voice-driven — that will use chat, messaging, or natural language interfaces to interact with people, brands, services, and bots." 

 

This conversation layer is powered by conversational or dialog agents. A dialog agent can -

  • listen to what you say
  • understand what you want and your intent, and
  • take action
  • respond to you
Topics: Customer Experience Contact Center Insights Intelligent Assistance IVR

The Top Emerging Technologies In Artificial Intelligence

Download a copy of Forrester's "The Top Emerging Technologies In Artificial Intelligence" here.

The Top Emerging AI Technologies

Even though AI is poised to “completely reframe how businesses operate and consumers interact” many firms are not ready to invest.  The two top reasons for the standstill are:

  • We are unclear what AI can be used for in our business
  • There is no defined business case for AI investment

One reason behind the standstill is the AI landscape is complex. Navigating the AI ecosystem and prioritizing investment is becoming increasingly difficult.

15 Top Emerging Technologies

Forrester says, “AI technologies can help customer insights (CI) pros better understand and interact with customers by mimicking human cognitive functions to sense, think, and act. Forrester has identified AI as one of the top 15 emerging technologies that has the potential to change the world in the next five years.”  Here's a list:

Topics: Customer Engagement Industry Insights Intelligent Assistance

SpeechTEK 2017 and the Rise of the Conversational Interface

“New uses of speech technologies are changing the way people interact with companies, devices, and each other. Speech frees users from keyboards and tiny screens and enables valuable, effective interactions in a variety of contexts.”  (SpeechTek)

Technologies and use cases for conversational interfaces are rapidly changing.  To better understand these industry trends I attended SpeechTEK 2017.  Here are a few notes and observations from the field.

Mix of Yin and Yang, Old and New

The conference brought in a mix of old school contact center vendors (Convergys, Aspect, etc) and new tech vendors (Google, Amazon, etc) analysts, consultants and enterprises.   It was interesting to see the collision and friction between the old and the new.

Topics: Industry Insights Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence Landscape:  Ready to Place Your Bets?

Are you ready to invest in AI technologies to drive contact center performance?

My guess is that you already have.

You might have deployed speech analytics or an IVR using natural language or a Chatbot or fraud prevention.  All these solutions likely use machine learning and artificial intelligence to discover insights and optimize performance.

Good job.

But the AI landscape is buzzing with emerging tech that could have major implications on customer service.  Yes, some technologies will optimize existing processes (like IVR self-service) but others will be disruptive to your current processes (like Chatbots over a messaging app).

You're going to invest (more) in AI technologies for customer service. 

The only questions are when, on what solutions, and how much.

To answer these questions, lets take a broad view of how the AI landscape is developing and look for trends and patterns.

Topics: Industry Insights Customer Experience Intelligent Assistance

Guide to Intelligent Assistants

You could boil the challenges customer service will face over the next five years down to two questions:

  • How do we engage customers as they interact across digital touchpoints?
  • How do we embed intelligence into servicing applications to take advantage of the ability of algorithms to optimize far beyond what we've achieved to date?

Orchestrating Digital Touchpoints

The move to digital touchpoints, micro-moments of attention, conversational interfaces and messaging-based interactions is causing major challenges for many organizations.  One reason is that customer services apps (and processes) today are designed for single channel, synchronous and dedicated session interactions. 

So orchestration of digital interactions is very difficult... but it's not an option to sit it out because that is where the consumer/customer is.

Algorithms Driving Apps

The shift to algorithms driving interactions might be an even bigger challenge.  It is very likely that this trend will significantly improve servicing benchmarks (costs, CX) and become competitive differentiators for your business.

Again, it's not an option to sit it out because that is where competitors are going and what consumers will expect.

How, then, do you begin to re-constitute every app you run in the contact center to take advantage of new algorithms that drive these apps in real-time?

Topics: Customer Engagement Chatbots Intelligent Assistance

The Chatbot Tech Stack: Your Checklist for Smarter Customer Service

Chatbots and intelligent messaging solutions can help you deliver smarter customer service with a better customer experience at a very attractive cost per contact.  To achieve the kind of results that get you promoted, it's important to consider a customer service solution in its entirety.  Overlook one key element of the solution stack, and it'll never achieve its natural flow.  

We use the technology stack in this post to talk about goal and transaction oriented Chatbots both internally and with our customers.  You can use it as a checklist to  make sure you're not overlooking a critical part of a Chatbot solution for customer service.  

Topics: Customer Engagement Chatbots Intelligent Assistance

Chatbots 101:  A Forrester Primer

There is so much buzz and hype around Chatbots it is difficult to understand how to use this technology to create meaningful benefits in an operational setting. 

We've got an option to help you cut through the Chatbot BS.

Forrester just released a report titled "Chatbots 101:  Building a Conversational Interface" which is a great read and tells it like it is.   (You can download the report below).

Chatbots 101 Report

Chatbots 101 report covers the following:

  • What is a Chatbot?
  • When will Chatbots replace apps... or human?
  • When and where are Chatbots a good fit?
  • Are Chatbots ready for prime time?
  • Four questions to ask before you deploy a Chatbot.
  • Four questions to ask before you build a Chatbot.

These are questions you'll need to answer as you build your intelligent assistance strategy.  Chatbots 101 will help you gain clarity on this technology and its best use.

Topics: Industry Insights Digital Context Chatbots

3 Things the Self-Driving Car Teaches Us About Intelligent Assistance

Picture this.

You want to go somewhere.

  • Your office.
  • A restaurant to meet some friends.
  • Aunt Alice’s house for pick any holiday.

So, what do you do?

  • You jump in your car.
  • You say where you want to go.
  • You arrive safely, on-time.

This is the promise of self-driving cars.

 

And, it’s about to happen...at least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

But is it?

Topics: Customer Care Performance Optimization Customer Experience Chatbots