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AI and Machine Learning Strengthens Connectivity, Community, Productivity

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Avaya and Microsoft recently expanded their cloud-based partnership with Avaya’s OneCloud portfolio now part of the Azure Marketplace.
 
No Jitter interviewed Karen Hardy, global vice president, product management, Avaya, to discuss the factors impeding hybrid work and how AI and machine learning can polish up these pain points. Hardy also addressed how Avaya’s partnership with Microsoft Azure empowers contact center agents and customers, how the new ways of work enable an experience-based economy, and how companies can deliver more meaningful employee experiences.
 
Responses have been edited for conciseness and clarity.
 
What are the three biggest factors impeding hybrid work right now? How can AI and machine learning address these pain points?
 
KH: The three top factors impeding hybrid work are: organizations not having the technology to fully support the hybrid work model, employees feeling disconnected from their coworkers, and employees not having the workflow tools to collaborate effectively and be productive.
 
As hybrid work becomes the norm, AI and machine learning solutions can help address all three factors.
 
Avaya recently added Avaya OneCloud to the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. How does this strategic partnership empower contact center agents and customers?
 
KH: The expanded partnership also allows customers to attach workload migration projects by letting them retire their Microsoft Azure Commit to Consume (MACC) spend through Avaya solutions delivered via Azure. Access to the full Avaya OneCloud portfolio is a boon for both contact center agents and customers, as the solution includes AI-powered tools and multi-experience workspaces for a new level of collaboration and support.
 
Lastly, this joint enablement and go-to-market partnership enable Microsoft and Avaya to gain expanded market and customer reach via the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, with the opportunity for businesses to gain the benefit of expertise from two global leaders to advance their innovation agenda.
 
The idea of the experience economy, defined as the memorable experiences for customers, has migrated into the workplace. How do the new ways of work enable an experience-based economy, and how can companies deliver more meaningful employee experiences?
 
KH: In the experience economy, customers and employees must be happy. This happiness plays out in how employees interact with customers and other employees. Collaboration tools can help employees feel more connected with other employees and be more productive. New virtual workstream collaboration apps make it easy for employees to connect and learn from each other and develop and coordinate projects. It doesn’t matter if the employees are in the same office or on the other side of the world. They can work together more effectively and be more productive and successful at their jobs.
 
Great customer experiences are also critical to great employee experiences. The last thing a company needs is to have great contact center agents lose heart and quit after a few months because they don’t feel they are delivering a great customer experience. AI-powered contact center solutions can help agents better satisfy customers.
 
What features in OneCloud and Spaces enable hybrid work?
 
KH: Avaya OneCloud features frameworks, connectors and pre-built workflows to solve complex problems and use cases. Along with Avaya Experience Builders, businesses can align with an ecosystem of services, partners and developers to build and deliver experiences tailored to meet their hybrid work needs.
 
In addition, Avaya Spaces offers team breakouts to bring experts together in one space no matter where they are located or device being used; digital whiteboard capability for 1:1, group DM and larger meetings; and cloud calling all managed from a single cloud app.
 
How does AI and machine learning contribute to the ideal modern contact center experience?
 
KH: AI and machine learning can transform every part of the customer experience.
 
Imagine one example:
Jack enjoys his specialized “Wake Me Up” coffee brand. He’s alerted automatically via SMS that it’s time to renew his order and is automatically given free shipping as a loyal customer. This time, Jack also wants to send a coffee gift basket to his sister for her birthday. Upon this request, the AI virtual agent transfers Jack to agent Jill who’s matched via AI based on Jack’s needs, and she is guided in real-time via machine learning with prompts as they co-browse together to help select the best choice with delivery. Following the interaction, Jill is automatically scored and rated by AI for continuous improvement.
 
The “Wake Me Up” coffee brand made this entire customer experience seamless by quickly deploying pre-built, cloud-based self-service agents instead of building them from scratch. This leverage elevates the brand’s customer interactions beyond just making them more efficient and also makes them more engaging to capture increased customer time and attention.
 
The combination of AI-powered human interaction and AI-powered virtual agents is the key to creating a modern contact center experience for customers and agents.

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