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Conversational AI Helps Humans Be Human
Enterprise voice communications technology company Red Box recently released Being Human: How and Why Machines are Learning the Art of Human Conversation, a study on how C-level and IT leaders feel AI has been effective in their businesses.
No Jitter recently spoke with Richard Stevenson, CEO of Red Box, about how conversational AI can bridge the gap between the agent and the customer experience while increasing employee engagement. Stevenson also discussed the requirements for deploying a scalable conversational-AI solution that models the customer's cognitive state, and how conversational AI can improve employee retention and how he sees AI powering the tools, platforms, or devices that make a hybrid office run smoothly.
Responses have been edited for conciseness and clarity.
77% of the business leaders in your survey want to use conversational AI data to help with skills and training gaps. How can conversational AI resolve training gaps and free support teams’ time so they can address higher-priority work?
RS: When using conversational AI, organizations can glean actionable insights around call drivers and where they can target areas for improved efficiency through automation. This technology can allow a company to find the areas of their business that can be shifted from human agents to AI technology, freeing their support teams to address higher-priority tasks. Understanding call drivers can also guide training and content development to plug skills and training gaps.
According to the report, 39% of survey respondents have used conversational data to improve customer experience and training, and approximately 28% are using it to help address training and skills gaps. How can conversational AI tools bridge the gap between the agent and customer experience? How does it increase employee engagement?
RS: The rise of the omnichannel means customer interactions are happening across many channels, involving different agents at different moments in time. Multiple touchpoints of communication are happening across an organization, from the front to the back office and from desktop instant messaging chats to customer conversations.
Conversational AI tools bridge the gap between the agent and customer experience by allowing an agent to more precisely understand the customer through factors such as sentiment, tone, and other critical insights. Organizations can use conversational AI to uncover these insights into their customers' experience and where they can make improvements, the root cause of the customers' issues, and understand the voice of the customer.
What are the requirements for deploying a scalable conversational-AI solution that models the customer’s cognitive state?
RS: When considering their voice and AI strategy, decision-makers must prioritize data access to ensure they retain access and control of data to access innovation in whatever AI application they wish to support multiple use-cases. Decision-makers must also consider whether the quality of their data is high enough to generate rich insights into their customer and employee interactions. With access to this data, business leaders can make data-driven decisions necessary to better meet customers’ demands.
Organizations should also keep informed of their AI vendor’s product roadmap and strategy around improving and updating their application and how they are addressing potential limitations. [These include] AI bias and delivering enhancements such as real-time to ensure that they are deploying best-of-breed capabilities into the organizations, maximizing ROI and demonstrable business impact.
How does conversational AI improve employee retention? What difference can it make right now when workers are registering high levels of burnout and are willing to leave jobs?
RS: Organizations can utilize insights from conversational AI combined with human agents’ experience to determine where [to make] improvements. Business leaders reported using conversational AI to predict and prevent turnover within their company and identify areas where there may be training and skills gaps. Conversational AI can also highlight a need for continued education and additional support requirements from agents.
Organizations can also use AI to identify call drivers, enable customers to access self-service help and guide the development of content, assets, processes, and procedures that allow or train agents.
Retention of employees relies on being properly onboarded and trained to feel prepared for their role and supported at work. A recent study [from Apollo Technical] shows that a good onboarding program leads to 69% of employees staying at least three years at their job. With conversational AI, business leaders can use insights to improve and personalize their employees' experience and development to improve workforce retention.
Blue-Sky Time: What are some ways you see AI powering the tools, platforms, or devices that create a smoothly operating hybrid office?
RS: Hybrid working brings huge benefits. However, it can be more challenging to keep employees engaged and motivated. It can also be trickier to monitor performance. You can also leverage AI to identify and automate processes that waste employee time and add limited business value.
In a contact center, for example, supervisors won't be physically sitting with employees to provide on-the-job coaching, nor will agents have the same opportunity to learn from their peers. However, solutions such as real-time agent assist can augment employee support and help prioritize interactions that need human intervention.
AI can also power fraud detection over voice platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Red Box. Behavox found that almost a third of all workplace communications occur via phone or videoconference calls and suggested that hybrid working environments contributed to a spike in voice-based fraud. Surveillance solutions often only review 1% of calls, while AI can monitor a much broader base of employees.
Overall, AI can work across all organizational functions, from offices or workers based all around the world.
*Red Box collected data for its report with research firm Censuswide including the U.S. and U.K.