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Conversational AI Will Help Both Companies and Customers, Not Replace Humans
February 2, 2021 News


With the increased need for remote communications, which the pandemic has highlighted, various organisations are now looking for technologies that will enable them to interact with the ever-growing number of virtual customers in a faster and more efficient way.

Such capabilities can be found in conversational AI technology, which includes chatbots and virtual assistants. However, as the technology becomes more common in companies, it is still causing many frustrations among customers.

In an interview with DTA, Ravi Saraogi, Co-founder and President (APAC) of Uniphore Software Systems, said there is still a misconception that conversational AI technologies will completely replace human beings.

“Companies need to understand that AI will not replace human beings, but instead, it will make them more efficient at their jobs. The idea is to empower the agents with a combination of real-time analytics and automation, keeping in mind the customer conversation”, he explained.

There is also a challenge for organisations implementing conversational AI technologies when it comes to integration to their live agents. According to Ravi, many companies do not have a seamless integration or no integration at all – thereby leaving customers high and dry in terms of resolving their issues.

This happens when customers are not able to reach out to a live agent that can actually resolve their problems in a typical chatbot scenario.

Companies can avoid this by fully understanding the concept of conversational AI. He said that the bulk of the low-hanging conversations required by the customer, like a balance enquiry, can be executed by a simple automated virtual agent. However, as the conversation becomes more complex, that is the time when the conversation needs to move to a human agent.

Ravi then explained the difference between conversational AI to general AI-based solutions. According to him, “A real conversation AI stands out by enabling businesses to listen to customers proactively as opposed to other solutions. It leverages Artificial Intelligence using speech-based assistance, chatbots and messaging apps to automate communication and create personalised customer experience at scale”.

He added that the objective should be to allow agents to be more focused on conversing and listening to the customers empathetically and efficiently, even from remote locations.

As for the back-end activities, Ravi said that they can be executed by AI through a conversational service automation platform, an area that Uniphore specialises in. Such a platform, with a combination of speech AI, machine learning, natural language processing and other bits of technology, allows agents to focus on the conversation while it handles the rest of the back-end activities.

This combination of different complementary technologies seems to be exemplified by Uniphore’s own offerings. For instance, the company recently announced further enhancements to its Conversational Service Automation (CSA) portfolio, infusing technologies like RPA and voice biometrics to improve both agent and customer experience as well as security.

“So, if you look at organisations, conversational AI certainly helps with a lower-cost footprint, more efficient call handling process, lower call volumes and more importantly a lot of those calls can actually be resolved”, said Ravi.

From a customer experience perspective, there are various kinds of customers and user personas, and a well-implemented conversational AI solution has to factor in all their different needs and preferences in order to provide the best and timeliest service.

To truly enjoy these benefits, Ravi recommends three important steps in implementing conversational AI solutions. “First, imagine and plan for your end-users and your own goals that you want to achieve. Second, get into the delivery mechanism by putting the right design and the launch framework in place. Then finally run with it and ensure that you are doing a continuous feedback loop to improve on the solutions that you have”.

Ravi also highlighted the importance of collaboration between internal and external experts in implementing conversational AI.  According to him, organisations may need to have an outside expert to help provide the required advice, and input from internal teams like the IT department and internal marketing teams are also highly valuable.

Ending the discussion, Ravi mentioned how these intelligent solutions will play a more prominent role for organisations going forward. “With more data being processed, more information being delivered to end consumers through sophisticated AI applications, we are now getting to a stage where by 2025, we believe that at least 70% of organisations will shift to a conversational AI application to assess employee productivity and customer experiences”.