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Talkdesk Extends AI Capabilities via AWS Partnership

01182021_ContactCenter-AI-AdobeStock_398895820.jpeg

Illustration showing "smart" contact center agent
Image: Jiw Ingka - stock.adobe.com
Bringing AI and machine learning (ML) into the contact center has many known benefits in automating inefficient processes and improving the overall customer experience (CX). Cloud contact center vendor Talkdesk has been ambitious in this space, having launched several products in 2020 focused on AI/ML and contact center automation. Now Talkdesk is expanding its reach by offering a wider range of AI/ML capabilities through Amazon Web Services.
 
Earlier this month, Talkdesk became a technology partner for AWS Contact Center Intelligence (CCI) solutions, which are pre-configured cloud-based services focused on the contact center workflow. Through the AWS partnership network, companies without AI/ML expertise can implement various capabilities, such as chatbots, text-to-speech, translation, and business intelligence, at a low cost, with their existing contact center provider.
 
Talkdesk customers have several options available to them. They can access AWS CCI solutions as part of the Talkdesk application. They can utilize the native AI components of Talkdesk iQ, which generates customer insights and trends from interactions taking place in the Talkdesk contact center platform. And, they can combine Talkdesk CX Cloud, an end-to-end contact center solution on a unified platform, with other cloud providers’ contact center AI.
 
The AWS partnership compliments what Talkdesk is already doing in three areas of automation: customer self-service, agent empowerment, and fraud and authentication.
 
Virtual Agent and Guide, two of the tools Talkdesk introduced in 2020, fall in the self-service automation category. Virtual Agent, as the name implies, is a voice-enabled chatbot that delivers around-the-clock intelligent self-service. Guide is an AI-powered knowledge base that integrates information from different systems into one CX solution and personalizes the self-service experience for each customer using trend analysis and natural language processing (NLP).
 
Agent empowerment involves automating anything that enables agents to answer customer inquiries quickly and easily, and then move on to the next conversation. Agent Assist, Quality Management Assist, and Speech Analytics are Talkdesk’s new tools in this category — all of which utilize AI/ML and analytics to improve agent performance.
 
Finally, Talkdesk tackles fraud and authentication with Guardian, which monitors actions and analyzes user behavior. The new contact center security suite came just in time last year. With contact center agents shifting to remote environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for contact center security tools has never been greater.
 
Talkdesk’s vision is in line with AWS to support global contact centers. AWS recently expanded CCI language support in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Talkdesk already offers more than 30 languages and accents in all of its AI/ML products because “globalization is a key strategy for the company,” said Talkdesk’s chief product officer, Charanya Kannan.
 
In the contact center industry, we used to talk about omnichannel and cloud as being the future, but that future has arrived. These are simply table stakes and the contact center vendors must now differentiate through AI.
 
Talkdesk sees AI and automation as the future of CX. It’s also the biggest driver for the vendor, which has said it plans to automate 80% of all customer conversations in the next three years. As Kannan told me, Talkdesk knows that’s a lofty goal, but, he said, “all of the automation that you see from self-service, agent empowerment, and security is what’s going to help us automate 80% of the interactions.”
 
Can Talkdesk get there? That’s a question I would have said no to just a year ago as the company was trying to build all the AI capabilities in-house. But the dual approach of building some features and partnering where needed should enable Talkdesk to scale much faster than it could otherwise. AWS arguably does AI better than any other company, so why not leverage its capabilities? Certainly, we’ll see much more coming from Talkdesk in 2021.

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