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8×8 integrates with Google’s Contact Centre AI

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8×8 has announced its integration of 8×8 Content Centre with Google Cloud’s new Contact Centre AI

The Google platform combines multiple AI products to improve the customer service experience, as well as the productivity of contact centres.

“Contact Centre AI empowers enterprises to use AI to augment and improve their contact centres,” said Rajen Sheth, Director of Product Management at Google. 

“Google Cloud’s goal is to make the contact centre experience easy and efficient. By partnering with 8×8, we are able to deliver on that goal, as well as allow enterprises to maintain happy customers with faster call resolution. We look forward to our continued partnership with 8×8 to enhance contact centre capabilities as technology and customer expectations evolve.”

8×8 Contact Centreenables organisations to differentiate their customer experience in real-time with advanced analytics, reporting and predictive dialler.

Contact Centre AI (CCAI) allows enterprises with limited machine learning expertise to deploy AI in their contact centres. Key features of 8×8 Contact Centre integration with CCAI include:

  • 8×8 Virtual Agent – using a combination of 8×8 AI technology and Google CCAI, incoming voice calls on simple and routine questions (such as “what time will the repair technician arrive?” or “is part #7542 in stock?”) can be answered with a virtual, automated agent without the need for a live agent. This call deflection technology increases the efficiency of the call centre, often enabling 24/7 support, while reducing costs. For end customers, the 8×8 Virtual Agent improves the customer experience, increasing first call resolution and reducing call wait times
  • The virtual agent can also hand calls to a live agent, and with the Agent Assist feature, automatically supply the agent with articles and knowledge documents based on the conversation. This reduces call length and enhances the customer experience, ensuring customers don’t have to repeat their requests

“Improving efficiency and reducing call times are some of the most common contact centre pain points. Google AI together with 8×8 Contact Centre enables our customers to leverage the latest AI technologies to enhance the overall experience of their end customers,” said Dejan Deklich, Chief Product Officer at 8×8. 

“As a leader in contact centre and unified communications as a service, we are partnering with Google to put resources behind such an advanced solution. Other vendors in our space are focused on chat, not on a unified approach. Google has the expertise and underlying technology and 8×8 brings telephony and contact centre expertise for a perfectly integrated solution.”

8×8 Contact Centre with Google Contact Centre AI integration capabilities are in testing now.

How AI could change your contact centre

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Thomas Rødseth, VP of marketing and product at Oslo cloud-based contact centre Puzzel explains how AI could change contact centres in the future…

The roar has become louder over the last 12 months. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming and it will change everything. It’s been a gift to editors, bloggers, Ted talk speakers and conference organisers – especially for the easy headlines it generates amongst an audience which wants to know if bots are really ready to take jobs or whether technology will just help make form-filling slightly less boring.

Everyone is at it. Amazon and Google are racing to fill consumer homes with devices that offer voice access to get stuff done. The billion+ user sized messaging platforms are touting the promise of solutions using real people blended with bot power when times are busy or needs are simple enough to fulfil using automation.

Meanwhile virtual assistants sit on websites helping users find answers and avoid live voice queues, by offering a better user experience than the average on-site search box. Some have been at it for over a decade. Way before it became fashionable to get excited about bots.

How does AI work?

Underneath the bonnet of AI is a pretty impressive set of technologies. Machine learning looks for patterns. These can be in the questions asked by customers, or in the outcomes generated by individual advisors. The use of machine learning will play an increasingly important role in helping to spot knowledge gaps and act as a useful tool in self service knowledge collection.

Natural language processing is another relevant technology that helps identify a customer’s intent and steer the process of matching questions with answers. Of course natural language has been used for some time to transform the way customers engage with IVRs by removing the often complex menu based interface that can frustrate customers. That same technology is now being used to steer self service conversations within defined topic boundaries with the same level of success.

Why do we need AI?

Automation using AI plays well into the ever rising expectations of customers. Always on access has become a core experience of the mobile consumer who instinctively wants to self manage on their own terms. That said, it has to be easy, which means it needs to be fast, well designed and navigate the user to their desired outcome in the least possible number of steps. AI, via intelligent assistance, plugs the gap between this level of expectation and previous generations of self service in which discoverability and answer quality undermined to desire to self serve.

As a benchmark for this type of functionality, Google transformed access to the vast repository of services we call the internet with an incredibly simple yet satisfyingly smart interface. Simple because it is just a search box, smart because it learns your behaviour and applies behavioural insight from the billions of other times users have requested a service similar to the one you currently need. The net result is a fast, relevant outcome.

This level of service is how it should be in terms of functionality for any form of intelligent assistant. As consumer confidence and habit grows, your intelligent assistance will need to appear on all platforms, devices and modalities to meet expectations.

Where to start?

However, all that is in the future. At least in terms of where most organisations currently find themselves. So where is the right place to start? What is an appropriate level of ambition?

AI is here to stay and it will change customer service. This is certain. Therefore it matters that you are successful and develop a firm foundation upon which to evolve your AI customer service strategy. It also matters that you win the agreement of colleagues and budget owners that the benefits for ongoing investment are clear and compelling.

Therefore start with an easy win. If you are in a high volume, voice based service business then maybe it is time to look at refreshing the IVR experience with a natural language interface. If you provide services that impact people’s lives like travel or utilities, then maybe extending your alert system to include a home assistant such as Google Assistant or Alexa makes increasing sense as they become part of smart home lifestyles for certain customer segments.

Alternatively start with a safer option and look at your online service portal and the current value offered by your FAQs. This is where many organisations are starting their AI journey and building out from there.

What’s next?

We have written a whitepaper on AI and contact centres which can be downloaded here. Meanwhile keep listening to the roar to discover how AI could change your contact centre – these are exciting times.

 

Voxpro acquired by Canadian giant Telus International

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Cork-based Voxpro has been snapped up by Teuls International for an undisclosed figure.

Voxpro, which employs 2,700 people worldwide, provides high-end call centre services to tech companies, including Airbnb and Google.

The company, owned by husband and wife team Dan and Linda Kiely, boasted revenues of E33 million and profits of E3 million as of 2015, with offices in Cork, Dublin, Manila, Bucharest, the US, Athens and Folsom.

The company has become one of the largest call centres in Ireland, with the majority of its 2,700 staff employed there.

“It’s an extremely special day for us and for all of our partners,” said Dan Kiely, Voxpro co-founder and chief executive.

“We couldn’t be more proud to find a fabulous partner like Telus International, a company that shares our entrepreneurial spirit and relentless desire to redefine and disrupt the outsourcing industry when it comes to serving the customer experience needs of such important brands.

“We continue to be inspired by the disruptive innovators that we work with, who are changing the world and going after the parts of the internet yet to be built.

“As part of the Telus International family, we will continue to build our thriving culture.”