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Uniphore Unifies AI and RPA to Address Contact Center Inflection Point
Conversational AI provider Uniphore had an eventful 2021. It acquired Jacada, a contact center automation provider, updated its product portfolio to address customer and agent experience with U-Assist Assurance, and joined Cisco’s partner program. No Jitter recently spoke with CEO Umesh Sachdev to gauge which steps the company is taking to fully integrate Jacada’s technologies and products into its customer-facing offerings.
Sachdev’s responses were edited for conciseness and clarity.
Uniphore recently acquired Jacada, a company specializing in automating customer service operations. What are some of the steps you are taking to fully integrate that company's technologies and products into your customer-facing offerings?
Sachdev: The contact center industry is at an inflection point; AI and robotic process automation (RPA) are two exploding trends. Our vision was to bring these two capabilities together on a single platform. Enter Jacada. Uniphore acquired it for its advanced automation software, including its low-code/no-code platform for contact center automation, which helps our customers solve complex contact center challenges to improve consumers’ experience. The combined entities represent some of the world's most well-known global enterprises in healthcare, finance, medical coverage, business process outsourcing (BPO), and telecommunications. Together, we have dramatically increased our footprint in these areas.
Can you walk us through how Uniphore's conversational AI—which does sentiment, intent, and emotion analysis—will be incorporated into the workflow automation Jacada had for customer service?
Sachdev: The conversational automation platform now includes a comprehensive set of AI capabilities on a single platform that Uniphore spent years developing. It also incorporates a leading automation platform layered with powerful low-code/no-code technology from Jacada. Offering low-code/no-code (the ability for faster deployment due to minimal code requirements for implementation) is a true differentiator within our conversational AI platform.
By leveraging conversational AI, chatbots and voice assistants increasingly support human agents during moments of high volume calls. Automation categorizes calls and interprets emotion, sentiment, and intent to help guide the agent towards the most appropriate course of action to meet the customer’s needs.
What was the reason for this particular solution? I.e., what makes it different or best for addressing a particular pain point?
Sachdev: The global pandemic changed the way the world communicates, providing Uniphore a unique opportunity to help businesses serve their customers through innovative technologies during this difficult time. The rapid digital transformation across enterprises highlighted the need for automated and intelligent solutions to drive new business models significantly rising during the pandemic. Our product teams rolled out a comprehensive solution that addressed these enterprise challenges and new business model demands.
Uniphore has spent over 13 years building and refining its AI models, which allows faster deployment and a deep understanding of the complexities within each industry we serve. Our vision has expanded from voice AI automation technology to include real-time conversations across voice and video engagements. Uniphore’s acquisitions over the last 15 months have poised the company to help enterprises capitalize on the value of conversations.
Can you describe what an agent-customer interaction might look like now that the sentiment analysis and the workflow automation working together?
Sachdev: For contact center agents, AI models interpret the tone and sentiment of the consumer and assist agents in discovering true caller intent, with automatic, real-time note-taking on the side. This automated workflow also directs the agent to the next best step to handle the request. After-call work—or post-call processing—is also automated to keep promises made during the call. Additionally, the interaction now includes desktop automation using RPA that pops up on the agent’s screen to guide them.
On the other end of the phone or text, this means happy customers. We have all sat on customer service calls waiting to get through to an agent— It’s incredibly frustrating and an experience that many can relate to—getting transferred, having to re-explain our issues with no follow-through. With AI, our human agents become empowered to understand customer communication and inputs and guided with the appropriate output. It’s a fool-proof solution resulting in happier customers, happier agents, and an all-around better customer experience for enterprise businesses.
What do you think are the three most important challenges that anyone in the customer experience space has to tackle?
Sachdev: The most important challenges in the customer experience space are the basics, which are often overlooked but critical. Your customer experience will suffer if you are unable to master getting help to a customer fast and meeting their needs, providing the customer with their preferred communication channel, and ensuring follow-through with every interaction.
What is one of the challenges you’re most excited to keep addressing at Uniphore? Why put your time and energy here?
Sachdev: We are working on game-changing technology to get AI as close to humans as possible—to resemble and truly understand humans. I am incredibly excited about the near-term ability for machines to understand the authentic human tone in addition to intent and consequently boost their human counterparts by helping them truly understand core needs and act accordingly on fulfillment.
All right, blue-sky time: What’s the one thing we don’t have in our current workspaces now that you wish everyone did have, and why?
Sachdev: I’d say a personalized, intelligent, and emotionally savvy digital assistant that will be by our side 24x7 to help us manage our personal and professional lives and add value to every one of our conversations.