When you hear the phrases artificial intelligence and machine learning what comes to mind? For many, it’s a picture of a highly complex gaggle of computers and robots or rooms of data scientists pushing forward futuristic social experiments. The truth is, most of us are regularly using these technology tools today to make our lives more efficient and our engagements more effective. Ever wonder why Amazon has just the right list of recommended items? Machine learning. How about “Hey Google/Siri/Alexa?” Artificial intelligence. Most recently, customer-centric support organizations, like Edcor, have begun to weave these advanced technologies into their customer service and support strategies to finely tailor the customer experience.
While it’s not the flying cars promised on The Jetson’s cartoon (if you get that reference, you are probably older than 45), one of the most up-and-coming technologies starting to be used by contact/call centers is speech synthesis and speech analytics. The most advanced forms of these technologies, such as the implementation recently undertaken by Edcor, use artificial intelligence where customers have a two-way, human-like conversation in the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. They also use machine learning to listen for repetitive speech patterns and integrate those into the experience making the system “smarter” with every call. These combined technologies also allow for an automated analysis of speech patterns both within and after a call to understand key customer experience drivers including customer sentiment, key points of frustration or satisfaction, and compliance with policy and process. Cutting edge contact centers consider these advanced technologies to be “table stakes” and the gateway to understanding how to reduce customer effort and improve satisfaction. So, if these are “table stakes,” what’s next?
The end-game is getting to a “customer segment of one” where each customer has a custom-tailored experience based on a deep and proactive understanding of what his or her particular needs and preferences are. The simplest example of this is making a language selection in a customer service system. Should you have to make the Spanish or English selection more than once or should the system “know” your language preference every time you contact that business? Imagine how rewarding customer service becomes when companies like Edcor can look across the many customer touchpoints and know if you are calling in about your recent application, document submission or access to the website…as soon as you connect with the system and before you speak with an agent. Again, it’s not flying cars, but Edcor has the foundational pieces and is committed to building this unique customer experience. Our first foray is “Eddie” our virtual IVR assistant. Eddie tailors each call by “knowing” the client-specific greeting, what the client’s employees call their “employee ID”, which is unique in many cases, and, if the person calling is one of our valued client contacts. Soon, we’ll be teaching Eddie some predictive analytics to help reduce a friction point for our customers and giving him access to another Edcor system so he can start providing some proactive updates in the IVR. As we learn more, we’ll continue to expand upon this foundation toward ensuring our Client’s and their employees have a frictionless, predictive, proactive, and personal experience.
This is another example of Edcor’s goals, “Let’s Future Together”.
Terry Lang is the Director of Customer Experience at Edcor and has over 20 years of contact center experience. His experience includes leading strategic, enterprise-wide contact center technology integrations and the design and implementation of numerous micro-process customer service enhancements. Over the past 8 years, Terry has served as a lecturer at one of North America’s largest contact center events, Customer Contact Week, where he collaborates with peers about his industry-leading experience.
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