Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Artificial Intelligence Is Driving New Virtual Assistant Tools in Customer Support

January 31, 2019

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been revolutionary for solutions that support networking, logistics, diagnosis, public safety and manufacturing. AI has already breached the walls of communications environments, as well, particularly for customer support. Increasingly, customer support and sales are carried out without the intervention of human agents at all thanks to AI, which can also help improve the quality of human-assisted transactions by helping agents locate the right answers and solutions.

To employ AI in customer support, multiple technologies including natural language processing (NLP), machine learning and conversational resources are employed to support better customer experiences and enhanced employee productivity. AI-driven chatbots are becoming the go-to technology in the customer support sector. We’re all familiar with the ones designed for consumer use (hello Siri and Alexa). But these AI-driven virtual assistants are revolutionizing business communications, as well.

Zoho, a provider of business applications for small businesses, has integrated conversational AI capabilities into its suite of products with “Zia,” an intelligence-enabled assistant and analytics engine. Zia analyzes the data entered by sales or customer support reps and the tasks they complete every day to predict the outcome of sales and support activities. Zia also offers solutions to complete these activities smarter and faster. (You can see a demonstration of the technology here.)

In the contact center, Zia can help customer support agents have more meaningful conversations using sentiment predictions and analyzing and auto-tagging words in a support ticket to route the contact to the most appropriate agent. “Zia Voice,” first introduced in February 2018, also supports natural language and voice interactions so businesses can program AI-enabled conversation assistants to service customers, either with or without the intervention of human agents.

Aspect has AI-enabled its interactive text response (IRT) technology so users can build branded “virtual agents” that help customers by responding to texts with the best information. IRT allows customers to self-serve on text channels at blazing-fast speeds with a personalized user interface that resembles that of a natural conversation with a person. (Here’s an example of how Aspect created “Edward,” a popular virtual assistant for the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in London.)

As CRM and customer support platforms become more complex, AI will be a useful tool for helping customers navigate the support choices on their own, and for human agents to navigate support tools and databases of information. To learn more about AI and other technologies will support next-generation working, visit The Future of Work Expo happening this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Edited by Maurice Nagle