<img height="1" width="1" alt="" style="display:none;" src="//www.bizographics.com/collect/?pid=5286&amp;fmt=gif">

Digital Engagement Blog

We’re at a Customer Engagement Tipping Point. Here’s What’s Next.

On an otherwise normal Friday, one thing happened that shifted the world as we know it.

Though we all knew this day was special, it passed more or less without fanfare. But, looking back, it was the catalyst for how today’s leaders engage with their customers. It changed us all.

It has shaped every day since, and its significance will be felt for decades to come.

On June 29, 2007, the Spice Girls announced their reunion tour.

More importantly? The first iPhone went on sale.

On June 29, 2007, technology started our digital transformation. In time, it made us all feel smarter…act faster…and become FAR less patient than at any time in history.

It opened up a world where continually increasing customer expectations would forever challenge companies to keep up:

  • Where technology would expand at a pace few could fathom.
  • Where old approaches struggled to address new challenges.
  • And where new leaders would rise, replacing the stalwarts who couldn’t…or wouldn’t…adapt.

Which brings us to today.

Topics: Customer Care Chatbots IVR intelligent assistants

The Evolution of Self-Service: An Interview

The self-service channel will experience more change in the next five years than it has in the past thirty.

And really…it’s not so much a change as it is a transformation.

The classic IVR—you know—the interactive voice response system that drives the self-service voice channel? In a few years…when you look back…it may seem as old as that rotary telephone…as antiquated as the phone booth.

So what will happen? What will this transformation look like?

Topics: Customer Engagement Industry Insights IVR

Speech is Not The Most Natural Interface

Heresy? Hear me out.

Topics: Contact Center Insights NLU

AI, Machine Learning, NLU, and You

I have a bold thought that’s gotten me into trouble on a few memorable occasions:

The best customer care is NO customer care.

I believe this deeply, but don’t get me wrong! I mean no ill will!

I don’t mean companies should prevent their customers from contacting them.

Rather, companies should strive to provide such high-quality service that customers never feel the need to reach out in the first place!

Topics: IVR conversational IVR NLU

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