2019 CRMXchange Enterprise Connect Review
Delivering Detailed Analyses of the Technological Tools Needed to Provide a Superior Customer Experience
Over its nearly three-decade history, Enterprise Connect has been the premier showcase to help businesses achieve transformation via communications and collaboration technologies. While much of the event’s emphasis is on Unified Communications, AI, Cloud Communications, and other issues central to enterprise networks, Contact Center and Customer Experience have taken an expanded role. The conference and expo, which took place March 18-21, 2019, at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, FL, delved into technologies and deployment models for the contact center. Conference topics included what is needed to put AI to work in contact centers, machine-to-human collaboration and applications for deploying chatbots across channels and omnichannel customer engagement. Suppliers offered solutions to improve the digital customer experience as end users, consultants, and channel partners converged to find new ways to empower businesses to implement new technologies more quickly and cost-effectively.
CRMXchange was onsite to meet with selected Enterprise Connect suppliers representing the CX/contact center space. Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner, discussed how their solutions could help companies increase operating efficiency and improve customer satisfaction. This eBook presents brief summaries of their solutions and discusses what differentiates their offerings in the marketplace.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LOGO IN THE CHART BELOW TO READ ABOUT THE VENDOR SOLUTIONS
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A leading worldwide, cloud provider of voice, video, chat
and contact center solutions for over one million users, 8x8 continues to
introduce innovative applications. The company announced its integration with
Google Cloud’s contact center AI at Enterprise Connect. As the technology advances, AI takes out the
mundane tasks and enables agents to be where they will have the most impact. With
the growing trend in contact centers to deflect less complex calls to digital
assistants, 8x8 will launch their 8x8 virtual agent the second half of the year.
With 8x8 Expert Connect, organizations with both 8x8 Virtual Office and Virtual
Contact Center products can break down the barriers between agents and experts
to increase first call resolution by as much as 30% or more. Meghan Keough,
8x8’s Global VP, Corporate & Product Marketing, elaborated on the
capabilities of the X Series Cloud Contact Center.
How does the X series Cloud Contact Center enable businesses
of all sizes to address their specific needs in the most cost-efficient
8x8 X Series is packaged to enable businesses to select the
contact center functionality according to their needs, whether basic, or requiring
more advanced capabilities such as quality management and speech analytics. 8x8
X Series platform is cost-effective and enables companies to avoid expensive
installation and customization charges. For example, 8x8 Speech Analytics is
operational out-of-the-box for immediate time-to-value, whereas competitive
solutions often require tens of thousands of dollars of installation and setup
work. All X Series contact center packages include reporting and analytics that
are easy to customize, enabling companies to quickly create dashboards and
custom metrics according to the needs of their business.
All X Series contact center packages include unified
communications at no additional cost, enabling full voice, video, meetings and
chat capabilities for every person within the contact center.
In what ways does your solution allow supervisors to better
manage teams of agents anywhere in the world while driving improved performance
and increased First Contact Resolution Rates?
With 8x8, agents and supervisors can be located anywhere in
the world, whether co-located or spread across the globe. Regardless of
geography, agents have the same robust set of tools, such as a single agent
desktop for handling all channels of customer contact, with embedded access to
CRM records and knowledge bases to increase first call resolution.
Tightly integrated quality management and speech analytics
tools help supervisors immediately bubble to the top exactly what they are
looking for - whether new opportunities or problem areas. Either way, an
embedded ability to send a message directly to an agent via @mention, and
include a snippet of a relevant call, drives collaborative performance management.
Why do you consider it important to offer team messaging as
a native entitlement?
Increasingly, users consider messaging as the front door to
their communications activities. Delivering a native team messaging service to
business users increases the speed of communications within organizations of
all sizes. Providing one place for chat, voice and video allows users to work
without switching context; giving them access to all collaboration services
from anywhere on any device. Empowering employees with the ability to smoothly
transition from team chat conversations to virtual team meetings is one example
of how native team messaging can bring cross functional teams together and
Can you discuss how your CRM integrations improve the
efficiency of sales and service teams?
Customer relationship management is a key for any business,
big or small. The market for CRM software is continuously growing. According to
Gartner, CRM software surpassed the DBMS market with revenue of $39.5 billion
in 2017. Gartner predicts that by 2021, CRM will be the single largest area of
spending in enterprise software. However, a considerable number of CRM projects
fail every year due to low adoption and delayed ROI. Here are examples of how
integration of 8x8 onto a CRM system can improve the efficiency of the sales
and service teams:
- All data and SME access are in one place for faster, more
relevant collaboration - sales reps and agents have all the relevant
information at their fingertips, including instant access to subject matter
- Onboarding is accelerated with one user experience - now
sales and service teams can quickly get up to productivity using one, well
- Increase the speed of decision making with richer, real-time
analytics that matter - 8x8’s unique ability to use data from both UCaaS and
CCaaS, combined with our proprietary algorithms, brings new use cases to life
that are not possible without one integrated communications platform.
- Enhance employee productivity by providing them with
multichannel communications within the CRM system. Employees can now engage
with customers using their preferred method - voice, video or chat.
Founded in June 2010, CallN has accumulated hundreds of
active customers from over 50 countries. Its boasts powerful features that
enable users to manage, review and gain insights into their call recordings, as
well as the ability to provide an easy to use and convenient reporting system.
The solutions provide SMBs with the same feature - rich recording capabilities
as big businesses at a lower cost. It is
among the easiest to use VoIP call recording and reporting solutions
available today, requiring no IT intervention. It’s quick to install,
competitively priced and works on almost all VoIP telephony platforms. Their solution
provides 17 of the 25 KPIS that contact centers typically require. Bob Dudas, National
Sales Manager (Americas) for CallN (which was recently acquired by 1300
Australia Pty Ltd.,) told us more about their scope of activities.
Can you explain how your solution helps to ensure contact
CallN Enterprise helps ensure a contact center is in
compliance by allowing call centers to enable redaction of sensitive
information from calls as well as transcriptions. Compliance is also met by the
powerful speech engine that allows you to transcribe every call, search for key
topics and then automatically scoring 100% of your calls. CallN also has the
ability to encrypt your data while it is at a rested state.
In what ways does your Call Campaign feature and robust
reporting capability make it easier for businesses of all sizes to determine
how much effort is expended on achieving desired business outcome via the phone?
CallN campaigns allows businesses to tag and track calls
made to campaign prospects. With this information, they can retrieve analytics
about how successful a campaign was. Our reporting capability allows users to
pick from several canned reports or build out custom reports in a matter of
minutes. These can be delivered to an email using the schedule report function.
How does your cloud-based business intelligence enable
companies to determine and set measurable KPIs for call activity?
Here are several important KPIs that are needed in the
contact center that our BI tool provides:
||Call completion rate (via call tagging)
||Call arrival rate
|Call success rate (via campaigns)
||Average sales per agent (via key word and topics)
|Calls answered in the first minute
||On-hold (silence query)
||CSAT (via sentiment analysis and topics)
||Average handle time
||Call abandonment rate
|Call Center status metrics
||Peak hour traffic
||Hold time (via queries)
your solution from other call recording offerings available in the market?
CallN is not just a call recording solution but it is also a
business analysis tool that allows our customers to make intelligent business
Here are a few challenges the CX and BI tool solves:
- Improved employee performance through automated script
- Topic and keyword analysis to understand the voice of the customer
customer complaints by type and volume
- Ensure and manage quality of conversations.
FLEXIBLE CLOUD CONTACT CENTER PLATFORM
This new entry offers an out-of-the-box solution that will enable managers to get it up and running quickly, but since it is built on a flexible, programmable platform, any developer can make improvements. Edify is being guided to the market by experienced developers and entrepreneurs who maintain they will provide 100% SLA or pay 10X the contract value. What’s more, the first 5 users per company will be free ‘forever’ with a very reasonable per user per day rate offered for additional personnel.
Edify Huddle will analyze customer engagements in real time and highlights the most important coaching and training opportunities. It will make it easy to connect on any channel, giving users the power to do what works best for them. Voice, video, and text are all options available in just a few clicks.
With a drag-and-drop workflow builder, it will be easy to create custom workflows tailored to an organization’s specific business needs. Their AI assistant uses machine learning to execute intent-based routing and enhance customer engagement. Edify co-founder Cameron Weeks brought us up to date on progress.
Your pre-event publicity states that you have spent the last 10 years refining RTC (video/voice/chat social) tools to improve both customer and employee communications: are you now in a position to elaborate on the tangible benefits of your solution?
Edify is a flexible, scalable and intuitive solution that will fill a major void in today’s business world where customer service, proactive customer engagement and back-office needs are converging. We’re excited to help businesses redefine and elevate the way they manage their customer experience and internal cross-team collaborations. For years, businesses have been forced into a corner, paying millions to maintain legacy on-premise solutions which lack key functionality and the holistic perspective demanded by today's marketplace. Edify offers a new solution.
We believe the communications solution we built has never been done before in quite this way, without middleware and integrations and complex connectors. Our platform combines omni-channel into a single pane of glass, removing the legacy trend of limiting each interaction to a single form of communication at a time. The end result is a platform that leverages ML data models alongside a human workforce, maximizing efficiency without sacrificing quality.
You and Bracken Fields have been working together for over a decade in developing and launching disruptive customer service platforms: what drew you to this specific project?
We never thought we would end up in customer service and telecom. While studying at Purdue University, a friend reached out asking for our help in buying a new phone system for his company. Touting the Purdue mindset, we asked ‘why buy something when we could just build it? Immediately, we became infatuated with the power of being able to leverage live voice communication, and we haven’t looked back since.
We co-founded our first VoIP company in 2007 while still students, knowing there was a better way for companies to serve their customers and wanting to solve that massive issue. That solution grew to be a major global customer service platform helping organizations worldwide.
I’m now driving the new team at Edify to launch a product that we hope will change the communications industry. There is an incredible amount of information and value contained within day-to-day conversations. We are on a mission to use that data for good, helping people solve problems and, in turn, giving them more time in their day to focus on the truly important things. Gone are the days of waiting on hold. Customer service is a major brand differentiator and people want assistance the way they want it, when they want it. Organizations must meet these demands, or they will lose customers. Edify is here to bridge that gap.
You also mention that you embrace complex problems: can you give our subscribers any examples of how that approach is being addressed in your building process?
Edify was built from the ground up, enabling us to create exactly what users need without having been bound to any existing technologies or third-party requirements. We had a vision and we brought it to life with this product. And we are confident that once people get their hands on it, there will be no turning back. Edify gives organizations a new and better way to ensure their customers get what they need across all channels.
I firmly believe that RTC and ML are two of the most complex pieces of technology in active development today. Bracken and I share a common belief that the product and the technology should be at the center of the company leading the decision-making process, rather than the traditional sales & marketing-led companies we compete against. We designed Edify using a modern micro-services architecture to ensure 100% uptime, allowing us to provide the industry’s most inclusive 100% financially-backed SLA.
The Edify platform will operate at a global scale from day one, joining an incredibly small list of companies that have the technical ability to deploy a true ‘global queue’, allowing businesses to truly unite their global workforce.
When it is available, how will your solution differ from others on the marketplace?
Edify launched and showcased its new platform, providing the first public demo at Enterprise Connect. The brand and online materials became available that same day. Customers are now able to request early access to Edify, and we intend to make the platform GA in mid Q2 of 2019.
Edify's solution unites teams beyond the contact center and unifies global workforces to resolve complex customer service challenges via one, intuitive, intelligent interface. Edify is reliable, fully certified and compliant, working across all mediums to create a single workflow. We also offer a completely new pricing model, a hybrid between usage-based and named users that we believe better aligns with how our customers operate.
As a respected provider of AI-powered virtual agents which
leverage natural language processing (NLP) to automate calls, chats, and texts now
mostly handled by live agents, SmartAction knows there’s nothing easy about putting
the architecture in place for superior customer service. The company’s mission
statement drives everything they do… making LIFE LESS HARD. Their Customer
Experience experts work very closely with their clients to guide them through
the transformation to automation and continue to provide that hands-on
experience going forward, Tom Lewis, CEO of SmartAction, provided additional
In your opinion, what factors led Frost & Sullivan to
recognize SmartAction as the leader in AI-enhanced self-service solutions?
We believe several factors contributed:
- Our AI-powered virtual agent solution is ideally suited for
companies that plan to adopt AI-powered automation in the near future.
- With cloud-enablement and a ‘land-and-expand’ approach,
SmartAction demonstrates strong value for the price via a simple usage
- Companies can start as small as they want for the lowest
risk implementation possible.
- SmartAction’s Omni-bot™ feature helps businesses put
omnichannel CX at the center of their customer support strategies.
- SmartAction delivers proprietary conversational AI
technology as a service through a team of CX experts, so organizations can
outsource all their voice and chat automation needs.
- Frost & Sullivan noted that SmartAction clients have met
or exceeded customer expectations for performance. Clients report increased
agent productivity and focus on high-value-add tasks, as well as minimized IT
effort due to the automation as a service
How do your solutions enable companies to automate
conversations now being handled by live agents with AI-powered virtual agents
in voice, then scale up to chat and text to create a seamless omnichannel
SmartAction’s AI-powered virtual agents leverage a
centralized, cloud-based AI “brain” that extends beyond the basic capabilities
of touchtone IVR, directed dialog, and simple chatbots by mimicking live agent
behavior. This means virtual agents are connected to the same data that live
agents are connected to, can read and record data just like live agents, can
recognize natural language and extract intent over the phone, chat, or text,
navigate multi-turn conversations, and even predict why someone might be
calling. The process is to implement in the voice channel first where the ROI
is the greatest, then scale the same solution digitally to web chat, SMS text,
and/or messaging apps in order to create one seamless omnichannel experience.
Can you elaborate on how your pricing strategy makes it
easier for companies to adopt conversational AI automation?
SmartAction delivers its AI automation as a service,
enabling organizations to outsource all their voice and chat automation needs
via a nominal one-time setup fee and simple, predictable pay-as-you-go pricing.
We deliver our proprietary AI technology via the cloud, so no hardware is
required. A successful transition to automation requires more than the best AI
technology. What matters is the customer experience, which is why SmartAction
wraps their proprietary technology with services from a team of CX experts who
live-and-breathe a process of perpetual improvement until achieving a
“perfectly trained” virtual agent experience that makes it less hard for
customers to self-serve and less hard for contact center leaders to transition
to AI automation.
What sets your virtual agents apart from other offerings on
We make the entire transition to more automation fast, low
risk, and near frictionless:
- No costly upfront professional services fees – just a
nominal one-time setup fee
- Flat per-min-usage charge to handle calls via the cloud
- Extend the capabilities of current IVR and Telephony
- Low-risk implementation by starting as small as one call
type or chat at a time
- Go live in 6-8 weeks, regardless of industry
- Team of CX experts work tirelessly to perfect applications
day-in and day-out
- Automate in voice then scale the same experience digitally
for an omnichannel strategy over phone, chat, and text
- Service model enables you to simply outsource all your voice
and chat automation needs
- Cloud-based solution seamlessly integrates with an IVR,
contact center platform, and data repository
Inference provides an Intelligent Virtual Agent platform
that helps businesses automate many routine and repetitive conversations,
freeing live agents to handle more complex customer interactions.
It was specifically designed to be packaged and resold by
telecommunications carriers and cloud contact center software providers. Service
providers can easily configure self-service offerings for resale to specific
verticals or at desired price points. Inference is resold by over 35 carriers
around the world, including AT&T, Telstra, Vonage, Nextiva, Masergy,
Momentum and Cincinnati Bell, to power Conversational AI applications for a
wide range of vertical markets including government, retail, travel, enterprise
It is also resold by CCaaS and UCaaS providers like Cisco.
Inference’s Virtual Agents offer capabilities that are
similar to human service and support agents -- they just never rest or take a
vacation -- and they’re substantially cheaper.
- Virtual Agents Have Skills - For example, they can
understand human speech in over 120 languages and can respond using text-to-speech
that is almost indistinguishable from a human agent.
- Virtual Agents Can Do Things - They can perform all
kinds of tasks to care for customers. They can authenticate callers with voice
biometrics, process PCI-compliant payments, look up orders, survey customers
and answer all kinds of questions -- over the phone, web or SMS.
- Virtual Agents Are Employed Like Human Agents - Just
like an outsourced call center, businesses purchase Virtual Agents and pay for
them for as long as they need them, on a monthly basis.
Inference Studio offers an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop
development tool that makes it easy for non-technical users to build and deploy
self-service applications. It features a comprehensive task library with
pre-built applications that organizations can use or extend.
According to CEO, Callan Schebella, Inference is typically
used in call center environments to power self-service applications for things
like booking hotel reservations, scheduling appointments at doctors’ offices
and collecting PCI-compliant payments. It’s also used for non-contact center
solutions like routing calls to local stores or departments and serving as
virtual hotel concierges. When asked about some of the more unique use cases,
Schebella told us that they’ve worked with marketing agencies that are doing
all sorts of creative things with virtual agents. For example, one company sold
Christmas gift cards that included a phone number. When a child called the
phone number, they were able to tell the virtual agent what they wanted for
Christmas. The virtual agent then notified the person that purchased the
card the details of what the child asked for.
Inference used Enterprise Connect to announce the general
availability of Studio 6.0, which integrates the most advanced natural language
processing (NLP) and Conversational AI technologies from Google and IBM, helping
businesses eliminate complex IVR menus and elevate the customer experience
beyond simple speech-enabled, directed dialog systems.
At the event, Schebella spoke on a panel that covered AI in
the contact center along with Google’s Adam Champy. Inference also demonstrated
their Intelligent Virtual Agents using Google Cloud Speech-to-Text, Wavenet
Speech-to-Text and Dialogflow for NLP.
Businesses served by Inference’s partners can now deploy
self-service applications using Google Dialogflow to streamline the automated
support process by dramatically simplifying the customer interaction. Inference
Studio 6.0 also helps businesses reduce costs by increasing the percentage of
live agent tasks that can be automated.
Inference Solutions CEO Callan Schebella noted, “Customers
no longer want to play a game of ’20 questions’ when speaking with a virtual
agent. Studio 6.0 makes it possible to field open-ended prompts such as ‘How
can I help you today?’ or ‘Please tell me the reason for your call.’ This more
sophisticated interaction greatly reduces the time and frustration associated
with traditional automated support, enabling businesses to resolve customer
inquiries more efficiently than ever before.”
During the event, one of Inference’s partners, Masergy, a leading provider of secure SD-WAN, cloud communications and managed security solutions, announced that they would package and resell Inference’s latest release as a value-added service to their customers. Inference’s Intelligent Virtual Agents power virtual assistant and chatbot features for Masergy Global UCaaS solutions and serve as the queue callback service for Masergy Cloud Contact Center.
Omnichannel Virtual Assistant platform provides a seamless human-like
conversational experience for self-service across all channels. It enables end-to-end
natural language conversations with advanced cross channel continuity and hand
off. Based in Greece, the international company is growing 100% year over year
with 170 employees. Omilia has over 20
production call center deployments of true Conversational Virtual Agents in
11 countries worldwide, representing 10 different languages, and
serving more than 1 billion customer interactions. It has partnerships with
inContact, RingCentral, and Amazon Connect and offers expert packages pre-built
for specific industries. such as banking, insurance, and healthcare. Dimitris
Vassos, Founder and Chief Architect of Omilia, offered additional background.
On your website,
you state that your conviction is that ‘good technology is invisible to the
user.’ Can you tell us how you ensure that your solution is easy to implement
and easy to use?
There is a
misconception in the market that AI technology is all about a clever neural
algorithm. It’s not. Algorithms do nothing without data. Data-- not just any
data-- but the right kind of data, is what makes the difference between great
tech in Powerpoint and a successful deployment within the enterprise.
We believe Omilia
is the first AI vendor to integrate the entire AI technology stack into an
enterprise-grade platform, and package it along with high-performing,
pre-trained industry specific models, necessary for enterprise clients and
partners to deliver conversational customer care just using intuitive tools
with user-friendly GUI interfaces, getting 90% accuracy, across the entire
agents are not just easy to implement in record time; they perform so well that
60% of callers feel compelled to say “Thank you” before hanging up with the
system--just like talking to a human.
How does your
platform enable enterprise organizations to accelerate the digital
transformation of their customer care?
Omilia has created
enterprise-grade, easy-to-use, out-of-the-box working resources for fast
development of conversational virtual agents specializing in specific vertical
and language combinations (e.g. US EN – Banking, US EN - Insurance). These
resources, which we call Xpert Packages, allow enterprise organizations to
bootstrap highly effective virtual agents and only need to up train them on the
delta between the domain and their own business specifics.
But apart from
that, when you are deploying in an enterprise, such as a large financial
institution, there are other, more mundane factors, aside from AI accuracy:
things like PCI-DSS compliance, GDPR and PII. These are all showstoppers if you
prove that you support them out-of-the-box. That’s the value of having a
Platform, versus having a Technology. There is now one single system that packs
all the understanding and works across all channels! Easy to maintain, and at
the same time ensuring clients never have to do things multiple times to
accommodate different channels.
Why do you consider
it critical for companies to be able to conduct conversational customer service interactions across all
The ideal customer
experience allows customers to interact conversationally on the channel of
their choice, all while maintaining the context of those interactions. Just
like talking to a friend. It should not matter if you are talking or texting.
The only thing that matters is getting the right kind of response effortlessly
and in a conversational manner.
Brands that offer
this type of omnichannel customer experience are keeping their customers happy
and earning their loyalty. Brands that don’t, pay the price of being absent,
because only a friend in need is a friend indeed.
In what ways do
your solutions differ from similar offerings available on the marketplace?
The competition has
created solutions that target app developers and the wider B2C market with
simple and quick to market products/services. Their downside is that their
Natural Language solution is trained on a very limited sample of developer
supplied example requests that are then used by the system to categorize
similar subsequent utterances into intent categories. This approach is best
suited for creating impressively fast Proof of Concept grade virtual assistants
that fail to scale and satisfy the minimum requirements of enterprise and SMB
contrast, Omilia trains its Natural Language AI on datasets of millions of
actual user utterances for each vertical (Banking, Telco, Insurance, Healthcare)
and language combination. We have thus developed and already deployed our
proven enterprise grade platform in more than 15 countries and more than 30
enterprise customers. Omilia’s proven
enterprise-grade platform allows for real, end-to-end conversational service,
that actually exceeds human accuracy; in both semantic accuracy and intent
organizations to transform outdated, manual ways of working into modern digital
workflows by simplifying complexity on a single, enterprise cloud platform. The
Now Platform allows clients to predict, prioritize and proactively manage the
tasks that matter most. Users can either choose from its native IT, customer
and employee workflows or build their own apps which the company claims can
‘turn anyone into a developer’. Holly Simmons, Global Product Marketing,
Customer Service Management for ServiceNow, offered additional insight.
In what ways do
your customer workflows employ event monitoring and analytics to help businesses provide
proactive customer service?
We’re in the midst
of a customer service transformation where service is going from a one-time
transaction when a customer has an issue to an ongoing relationship where
service is delivered end-to-end digitally. With that, customer expectations are
changing, and enterprises need to be able to deliver seamless, personalized
experiences, while anticipating and resolving customer issues before a customer
realizes there is a problem.
that proactive customer service requires real-time visibility and analytics, a
detailed install base with status of customer’s products and services, event
monitoring, and artificial intelligence. With ServiceNow Performance Analytics
for Customer Service Management, companies get insight into trends and can
identify common issues that can easily be resolved or processes that can be
automated. This proactively eliminates
issues from affecting more customers and simplifies engagement for customers
with common requests, such as changing an address or upgrading software.
In order to
proactively prevent issues, ServiceNow has an operations management solution
that provides a “service-aware” install base which knows what products and
services a customer has including software versions, devices, assets, as well
as the dependences between them. This
provides the foundation for monitoring in order to identify issues
proactively. That data is collected and
event management creates notifications, and even cases, when an issue is
detected. Combined with service management,
some issues can be resolved automatically without human intervention and
companies can avoid service level agreement (SLA) breaches. While this sounds futuristic, ServiceNow
customers are doing this today.
Not every company
can digitize everything needed by a customer.
Sometimes, a phone call is still required. With ServiceNow, proactive notifications for
agents inform them of customers requiring special handling and AI serves up
related cases and similar problems to help agents solve issues faster. Customers can get notifications on
workarounds to problem before they realize there is an issue.
All of this is
underpinned by workflow technology.
Companies that leverage ServiceNow have been able to help their
companies deliver improved and proactive customer service, resulting in:
- 54% reduction in
average resolution time through real-time visibility
- 80% reduction in
incident SLA breaches via enhanced insights
How does your
solution contribute to more rapid resolution of customer inquiries and, in
turn, faster issue resolution?
customer workflows enable proactive service that spans from issue to resolution
Workflows are mobile, connected, automated to meet customer demand. An
integrated end-to-end strategy that combines engagement, field service, service
management, and service operations is needed to shorten time to
resolution. Customers can help
themselves with self-service and take advantage of the automated service catalog
with workflow that allows them to get requests completed without agent
interaction. Knowledge management and
communities provide answers from experts and peers. A virtual agent can answer questions and
perform transactions quickly. And AI
categorizes and routes cases from the virtual agent or the service catalog to
the most skilled agent for resolution.
When an agent is
needed, the agent workspace, a command center for agents, has all the details
to resolve an issue – case details, timeline, SLAs, and AI-recommended
solutions. With event monitoring, cases
are created automatically so that agents can resolve them quickly before
customers are aware that there is an issue.
resolution is particularly important as expectations for CS are changing across
every industry, and a major transformation is necessary for companies to stay
competitive. In fact, research shows that high customer satisfaction can
increase revenue by 2 – 3% and lead to a more loyal customer base. Customer
demands have never been higher, and businesses need to be able to resolve
complex customer issues end-to-end quickly.
How does the Now
Platform enable anyone to rapidly build, test, and deploy applications that
automate work across the enterprise?
Developers of all
levels can significantly reduce time to market and delivery. By offering full‑stack
dev power— organizations don’t have to deal with traditional setups and
configurations –ServiceNow is ready out-of-the-box. A low code/no code approach
is available with the Flow Designer for creating automated workflows. And the Integration Hub enables easy
integration with reusable integration components.
ServiceNow just released
major enhancements to the Now Platform focused on making work mobile first and
mobile-friendly. Specifically, the newly introduced ServiceNow Mobile Studio
allows anyone to build new apps quickly using a drag-and-drop interface that
doesn’t require a single line of code.
Can you give us
details on what features of your new Now Platform Madrid release will help both
customers and employees reach a higher new level of digital transformation?
The Agent Workspace
with Advanced Work Assignment and Similar Cases improves the agent experience
by providing a one-stop shop with everything needed to resolve customer issues. Advanced Work Assignment automatically
assigns work items to agents based on availability, capacity, and skills. With Similar Cases, AI identifies cases and
resolutions similar to the one being worked to speed resolution. Best practice
integration of service management enables the diagnosis and resolution of the
root causes of customer issues. Agents
can now initiate a request from service operations, engineering and other teams
to resolve an issue.
In the Now Platform
Madrid Release, ServiceNow provides powerful mobile experiences across
ServiceNow’s IT, employee and customer workflows, including any custom
application that is built on the platform. It features a native mobile user
experience (UX) that allows service representatives to resolve customer issues
by simply swiping and tapping, in the same way we use consumer apps to shop,
hail rides and stay in touch with distant friends.
RECOGNITION (ASR) TECHNOLOGY
leverages its advanced speech recognition and transcription technologies to create
partnerships that improve quality management, provide better insight into agent
performance, help ensure compliance and clarify dispute resolution. Ian Firth, VP
of products for Speechmatics, shed more light of the areas in which his company
In what ways does
your multi-language Automatic Speech Recognition solution enable contact
centers to improve service and enhance the customer experience?
technology provides our partners with the foundations to intelligently
understand conversations and react upon them instantly. For example,
Neuraswitch’s ConnexionsCX platform captures all calls, which are transcribed
in real-time using Speechmatics’ solution. The platform monitors for keywords
providing advice to the agent when triggered and ultimately allowing accurate
and consistent responses to be made to the customer. This monitoring also allows a profile of an
agent to be built and combined with the emotional analysis, allowing a full
picture to be built of an agent's performance and how they manage the differing
types of calls that they answer. This
information is used to provide summary reports that give the call center
manager a digestible snapshot of the data.
Call centers can
use the data at hand, and the real-time feedback, to improve the relationship
with their customer and increase efficiency, but it all starts with a highly
accurate transcription solution.
Can you tell our audience how in-line indexing
makes it simpler for organizations to discover and investigate call content
while maintaining the integrity of sensitive information?
Speechmatics’ automatic speech
recognition technology can help analyze an audio stream by detecting keywords
and phrases. Along with the understanding of topics, speech technology enables
extraction of key elements supporting decision making and analysis as a
conversation precedes. This combined with the ability to serve this function
within the customers operational and security boundaries means the data flow
can be processed and understood in near real time without the need for any
content to be externally processed if required. This real-time discovery of
content allows for integration into knowledge bases and supervisory functions
to ensure that call center agents get the support they need, when needed, whether
its information- based or support from supervisors during abusive calls.
With GDPR and other
regulations becoming more complex, how do your partnerships with Deloitte and
Red Box provide you with additional capabilities to monitor interactions and
We’ve been working
with Deloitte on their smart solution, BEAT (Behavior and Emotion Analytics
Tool) which combines Speechmatics’ highly accurate transcriptions of
conversations with the output from Deloitte’s emotion analytics engine.
Speechmatics provides the basis for determining the outcome of customer
interactions through sentiment and behavioral analysis, topic modelling and
natural language processing.
For Red Box, Speechmatics’
technology provides accurate and timely text representations of audio
conversations, including call metadata and different speaker identification.
This enhanced audio capture and retrieval can be used to meet compliance needs,
but it also makes key data more accessible, which firms can use to improve
With Speechmatics, this processing
can be maintained within the organization keeping data ownership and management
within the company and allowing them to ensure they operate within their own
policies. In both cases our partners can go far beyond just ensuring
compliance, building upon the transcriptions to draw valuable business
How does your solution differ from
other speech recognition platforms on the market?
Transcription accuracy is the
building block for call understanding. It leads to the best analytics and usage
of the speech data to support the agents and ultimately deliver the best
customer experience possible.
Speechmatics is best placed to
offer this because we are deeply embedded in the world of academia with the
agility to rapidly apply the latest research, embrace new techniques and
thinking as they are discovered. The Speechmatics team has a vast depth of
knowledge and experience of having developed speech recognition for over 30
In addition, we have flexible
deployment options, support public and private cloud and on-premise in our
customers own data centers. This means our customers can deploy wherever their
data is or is needed to optimize performance and cost. Our flexible deployments
meet compliance and data security requirements as the technology can operate in
dark sites without external connectivity.
Symbee is focused
on helping companies take a faster path to digital transformation. Their Customer
Engagement Practice is a combination of strategy, business goals, branding,
technology and analytics fused together to deliver a cohesive Customer
Engagement Solution. Connect is
delivered in a “pay-as-you-use model,” to align with the Amazon Web Services
(AWS) pricing model. Deployment Configuration and Management of the Symbee
Connect Solutions are made easy via browser-based interfaces and CloudFormation
scripting on AWS. Through a series of point- and-click steps, Contact Center
Managers can select which features they would like employed in their contact
center. Mike Weis, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Symbee, expounded upon
their programs and solutions.
How does your team
of developers and consultative experts help companies achieve desired business
outcomes by improving both the agent and customer experience?
Development team has 90 years of combined experience focusing on developing
contact center solutions and improving business outcomes. A key element of our focus is the customer
journey; however, we believe the agent experience/client is equally key to a
positive customer engagement outcome.
Our solutions are designed to enable a customer’s journey on the media
of their choice with a common experience for both the customer and the
agent. Building on common platforms and
user interfaces leads to much higher repeat engagements and acceptance of Next
Generation CX Channels.
Why is it critical
for organizations to be able to safeguard legacy investments while
transitioning to omnichannel customer engagement applications?
invested heavily in custom backend systems, CRM Integrations, predictive
dialers and separate digital channel engagement options for customers. With the migration to Symbee Connect on
Amazon Connect, our team takes the approach to build like user experiences to
ensure that agents and managers do not have to go through a long learning curve
in the migration. With Symbee Connect
Fusions, our CRM and ERP integrations are common structures to reduce the
complexity of migration while minimalizing cost.
Another key element
of the Symbee Connect migration process and Omnichannel Solution is that we can
run the digital channel in parallel to existing voice only solutions and
integrate reporting through our Symbee Connect Analytics Solution. This
approach allows customers to migrate specific groups from legacy voice systems
to Amazon Connect and then tie the customer journey together in a structured
solution, all at their pace.
In what ways does
the Symbee application suite strengthen the connections between customers,
businesses and their CRMs?
The Symbee Connect
Suite provides a host of features that make Amazon Connect an enterprise ready
OmniChannel Solution. Built 100% on the
AWS infrastructure and deployed globally, the Symbee Connect suite provides
customer the ability to reach markets anywhere. Symbee Connect Suite delivers
true multi-threading Omnichannel with multi-work item handling, allowing
customers the option to choose their own journey to customer engagement. For the businesses managing Analytics and
ensuring a quality experience are key, we build all the digital channels (i.e.
Email, Webchat, SMS, Social, etc.) into the same Call-Trace-Record (CTR)
structure to normalize the data in tandem with Amazon Connect. This allows our
Symbee Connect Analytics to deliver complete customer journey data for all
Customer Engagement Channels.
Can you walk us
through your process of determining client needs to apply the most relevant
technologies (AI, WebRTC, digital engagement, etc.) where success can be
measured through KPI metrics?
Symbee utilizes a consultative
approach to identifying client needs based on gathering and documenting
business requirements for customer engagement. Then, based on these defined
business requirements, Symbee recommends the most relevant technology solution
to support the customer engagement strategy. These solutions will then be
modeled against how they will support the desired business outcome. Finally,
from those models, Metrics and KPI’s can be developed to measure the business
outcome and Customer satisfaction.
Consultative Process and the Models created can be applied to any relevant
technologies in today’s marketplace (AI, WebRTC, digital engagement, etc.) to
determine what technology is most relevant to enhance the long-term Customer
built-for-the cloud contact center suite incorporates Thrio AI, Thrio Digital,
and Thrio Voice to drive efficiencies with automations and enrich interactions
with adaptive AI-driven software. One central area of focus is immediately getting
customers to the right agent on all channels and matching agent and customer
personalities for optimal outcomes. The platform also provides a compliance
scoreboard which notifies a supervisor when an agent is not following the
script so corrective action can be taken immediately. The company’s founders,
including CEO Edwin Margulies, have worked in the cloud contact center market
for over two decades. starting in 1997 with the founding of Telephony at
Work and its CallCenterAnywhere solution. The name “Thrio’ is a shortened
version of ‘3-and-0’, referring to the founders won/loss record of success. Namir
Yedid, VP, Product Strategy told us more,
In what ways can
gaining deeper customer insight help turn service conversations into sales
opportunities for businesses of all sizes?
customer experiences to today's demanding consumers requires enterprises-- and
their agents on the front lines-- to collect, analyze, and surface a constantly
changing array of information. On the enterprise level, orchestrating these
data sources has often required multiple costly, slow third-party integrations
and necessitated "bolting on" artificial intelligence providers. On
the agent level, navigating upsell opportunities often meant switching between
multiple screens and navigating complex conversations without having relevant
information in front of them as these interactions unfold. There are numerous
efficiencies to be gained in these domains from automation and artificial
intelligence. That said, those tools won’t work well if the agents can’t see
that information in a simple, clean interface that arms them with the right
information at the right time.
enterprise data orchestration and agent presentations seamlessly in a single
platform. With our Dynamic Agent Support capabilities, we can surface
contextual data and dynamic scripting at every step in the interaction to guide
agents to success. With this full view of a customer’s historical interactions,
sentiment analysis, and personality insights, agents using Thrio know what
makes customers tick and what their pain points might be. Additionally,
enterprises can deploy service-to-sales scripts that serve up dynamically
generated customer-specific offers right there in the agent display. So, agents
empowered for success by Thrio can turn service conversations into sales
opportunities in two key ways: improved customer satisfaction and the integration
of targeted, contextually-rich offers and promotions specific to each customer.
does your solution enable companies to automate routine interactions across a
variety of channels with bots and virtual conversation agents while handing off
to live agents when needed?
Before we address bots and virtual agents, it’s
important to note that Thrio’s automation capabilities go far beyond these two
domains. With Thrio, many elements of routine customer interactions that touch
an agent involve our automation capabilities. For example, this may mean
retrieving customer data from a third-party database via a REST API and serving
it to an agent right when the call connects, reducing handle time. It may also
include automated multichannel follow-ups that provide customers with
sales/marketing collateral. The solution can apply time-of-day automation rules
to ring a hotel duty manager’s cell phone at night versus a front desk phone
and then ring a deputy’s phone instead of going to voicemail. Since every interaction
within Thrio passes through our workflow engine, we can apply automation rules
at every step in an interaction.
A distinction between bots and virtual agents is the
level of complexity of the interaction. At Thrio, bots handle tasks like
customer intent detection, FAQ response presentation, and knowledge base
queries. These bots can deflect interactions that would have otherwise gone to
live agents via customer self-service. Virtual agents within Thrio handle more
complex interactions like negotiation, scheduling, and sales qualification. The
AI workflow engine means that an enterprise using Thrio could even perform a
handoff from a simple bot to a virtual agent automatically before involving a
In terms of
handoffs, Thrio enables a rich array of possibilities. An enterprise using
Thrio could detect that a customer is on their fifth attempt to search the
knowledge base and pop a chat to a live agent immediately to help that customer
and reduce frustration. Or, it may deploy a virtual agent for negotiating a
payment plan and hand off to a live agent when that virtual agent has no more
offers available for that agent. In yet another context, Thrio may engage a
live agent when a customer adds a high-value item to their shopping cart in
order to attempt to upsell or add additional services. This example has a
specific application in the travel industry. When the handoff occurs, agents
are armed with the full transcript and interaction history, enabling a seamless
transition between the bot/VA and human agent. Thrio’s bots and virtual agents
can be deployed across all channels, from voice to SMS, chat, email, and
“attribute-based routing” and how does it match agent and customer
personalities to create optimal outcomes?
Thrio’s core goal
is to get customers to the right agent, with the right information, right away.
Our routing capabilities address these three domains. Whatever channel a
customer starts with, Thrio’s routing engines detect intent and start
connecting that customer with an agent with the proper skills and access to
information. The focus here is to increase first contact resolution, minimizing
transfers and any other handoffs. Next, Thrio surfaces context from a
customer’s prior interactions across all channels to the agent, presenting in
our Dynamic Agent Support tool. This enables the enterprise to show agents
personality insights, tone/sentiment analysis, and context-rich scripting in a
single display that changes based on the flow of the interaction. Together,
this means Thrio guides agents to success in each customer interaction. In
terms of behavioral matching, an enterprise may want to pair an agent who our
personality analysis indicates is a good listener with a customer who’s quite
talkative. The sky’s the limit-- we also have sticky-agent capabilities that
connect a customer with the prior agent they worked with, which can also
enhance outcomes and increase the chances of swift, successful resolution.
your AI-powered cloud contact center suite from other similar offerings in the
Three things set us
apart. Two have to do with our system itself and the third is in how we offer
our customers real optionality in how they use and pay for system access. On
the platform side, Thrio has been engineered since day one with twin goals:
weave AI throughout the core platform and leverage best of breed cloud
technology. Artificial intelligence defines Thrio. The heart of the Thrio
platform is a seamless, practical AI decisioning engine that orchestrates
microservices to simplify and optimize complex workflows and empowers agents to
improve CX. Of course, Thrio’s AI decisioning, Dynamic Agent Support, and
Situation Routing run on our reliable, redundant, federated cloud-on-cloud system.
moving to or expanding cloud deployments can leverage Thrio’s secure, scalable,
and reliable software as a complete solution or as an overlay to extend an
existing environment. It’s the perfect match for an enterprise that needs to
extract value from existing capital expenditures but requires real
next-generation capabilities, Additionally, Thrio offers multiple
consumption-based pricing models.
USAN, a Standard Consulting
Partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN), a provider of
cloud-based customer engagement solutions, chose Enterprise Connect to announce the availability of Agent Desktop for
Amazon Connect and Dialer for Amazon Connect. These solutions, along with
Visual IVR for Amazon Connect, comprise the USAN Contact Suite, a set of
pre-packaged solutions built by USAN to extend the power of Amazon Connect.
The USAN Contact
Suite is comprised of:
Agent Desktop for
Amazon Connect. Agent Desktop unites the power of the AWS ecosystem with the
ease and flexibility of Amazon Connect. Agent Desktop allows agents to receive,
make, and manage calls on Amazon Connect and supports configurable tabs with
context-aware content and embedded websites. Features such as screen pop and
call dispositioning, and integration with backend systems, help shave seconds
from each call to reduce Average Handle Time.
Dialer for Amazon
Connect. Dialer adds high-touch outbound calling capability to Amazon Connect to
help boost sales, increase collections, launch surveys, and more. The
TCPA-compliant platform can blend inbound and outbound agent activity, and run
multiple, concurrent campaigns to reach different target audiences. The system
plugs into the organization’s existing list management and CRM systems, and
other on-premises databases. In addition, Dialer supports dynamic, automated
list processing, configurable call dispositioning, and advanced retry logic.
Visual IVR for
Amazon Connect. Adds omnichannel functionality to Amazon Connect contact flows
to increase self-service adoption rates and improve customer satisfaction. The
solution recreates IVR experiences as an optical, mobile application. It
extends IVR menus, prompts, flows, and rules in a graphical format, offering
customers another option to interact with businesses.
USAN, one of the
first companies to host contact center technology in the cloud, has provided
contact center software-as-a-service (SaaS) since 1989. USAN helps companies
integrate communications and legacy technology and automate business processes
to deliver seamless, omnichannel customer experiences. With more companies
using Amazon Connect-- a self-service, cloud-based contact center service that
makes it easy for any business to deliver better customer service at lower cost--the
USAN Contact Suite enables them to seamlessly add agent desktop and outbound
calling functionality to their Amazon Connect infrastructure The solution was
developed in direct response to customer feedback while providing Amazon
Connect integration and implementation services.
“Amazon Connect and the USAN Contact Suite can
eliminate the need for on-premises hardware, while customers pay for only what
they use,” noted Teri Navin, Director of Product Marketing for USAN. “The
solutions require no integration effort and work in tandem with other Amazon
Web Services (AWS) products, including Amazon Kinesis, Amazon Relational
Database Service (Amazon RDS), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).”
In a time when too
many businesses are neither delivering memorable customer experiences or
achieving operational efficiency, Verbio offers a full range of voice-enabled
cognitive solutions supporting intent, context, and preference-driven
interactions between humans and machines. Verbio’s VoiceAI connections
allow enterprises to listen, understand, learn, predict, and engage more naturally
with customers and employees alike, putting AI to work to help build
context-based, personalized connections. A growing provider with offices in
Spain, the USA, Mexico and Brazil, Verbio has processed over three trillion
interactions over the past 10 years. Bob Beals, Sales Manager, USA & Canada
and Jordi Torres Gomez, General Manager/Managing Partner for Verbio, gave us an
Why do you consider your mission to use AI to change the way
humans and machines interact, to make it less complex, as well as more natural
and flexible while allowing for greater personalization?
Verbio has been developing speech technologies and end user
solutions for over 20 years. There are two parallel tracks that have always
been key: First, the continual optimization of the underlying technology
components; the “speech engines” and the servers that host the engines. The improvements
in speech engine performance spurred by the emergence of deep neural networks,
new linguistic models, and of course the continual increase in CPU clock speeds
and chip architecture innovation. From a user interface perspective, we’ve
transitioned from the most constrained grammars (0 - 9, *, #), to saying a
predetermined list of specific words, to phrases and short sentences, to now
supporting unconstrained conversational speech between a human and machine; all
in real-time, without perceptible or unacceptable latency, supporting virtually
any language in existence. We can also capture context and intent, all while
interacting naturally while riding on a car rental shuttle bus.
Second, new devices, new channels, new choices for
engagement. Speech user interface design experts have emerged-- and become
indispensable in developing new applications; Imagining, designing, bringing
forth and applying best practices and leveraging known (or anticipated)
information about a user - truly approaching an “omnichannel” experience. This
is coupled with the ability to deliver a personalized and more natural
experience. While we all agree that machines don’t have a brain, the application
of AI principals will close the gap and advance what is possible in the realm
of human and machine interaction and understanding. Tesler’s Theorem says, “AI
is whatever hasn’t been done yet”. At Verbio, we intend to continue to lead in
the cognitive space, the human machine interaction space, the creative
solutions development space; and continue to do what hasn’t been done before.
Can you explain what
you mean by “giving voices to machines?
“Giving voices to
machines” is a reference to Text-to-Speech technology. Historically, when
interacting with an IVR, the way to achieve better voice quality was to pay a
professional to “pre-record” anything that the machine would ever be
anticipated to say. But if a company didn’t have the number, or phrase, or
prompt pre-recorded, then that specific function would not work. Every single
word had to be pre-recorded either individually or as phrases, sentences, or
more. Pre-recorded segments would be concatenated together in real-time to form
a complete output element; for example, play a phrase, play a number, play a
phrase. The voice output quality was
great, but it was a laborious, tedious, constrained, time-consuming, and
expensive process. If a business wanted to enhance the solution with a new
feature or had many dynamic names or addresses or product names, it would have
to pre-record every single element.
Text-to-Speech (TTS) capabilities have been around for many
years. The upside of using TTS within a self-service solution was that a
business could just feed the IVR a text string, however long, and the TTS
engine would generate the audio output. No pre-recording required. The text was
fed to the TTS engine, the engine provided speech output, the IVR played the
output. This approach presented a lower cost model at scale and faster time to
market, but at the expense of quality. Over the years, text-to speech output always
had a manufactured sound to it, lacking inflection, intonation, or acceptable
adherence to even the simplest linguistic characteristics of the language being
used. While functional, it presented a very poor user experience. Verbio now
offers TTS technology that can be licensed for use within enterprise solutions,
made available as a cloud pay-per-use service for both real-time and offline
applications, or used within embedded device applications. The voice quality is
nothing like the old “computer generated” TTS, either in demos or actual
production consumer-facing solutions. TTS output quality is now approaching
actual human voice quality and has reached a point where pre-recording messages
is almost over, build and support costs are plummeting, and the user experience
has not suffered at all.
To take things a step further, clients are asking us to
develop their own, unique Corporate AI Voice as they’ve seen the value in
aligning corporate marketing strategies with their service and sales channels.
A unique voice which conveys the company’s culture and brand is well worth the
investment. Thus, the concept of “giving voices to machines”!
How does your Natural Language Processing capabilities
enable businesses to use appropriate grammar, syntax, semantic and statistical
models to understand and generate human language?
Verbio’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities are
foundational to our technology stack. Whether a speech project requires speech
to text, text to speech, or voice biometrics capabilities, there are underlying
Natural Language Processing services required. Our technology components are
used to create solutions that solve business problems and enable more natural
human machine interactions.
How does your solution differ from other similar offerings
available in the market?
Verbio develops and owns our technology, offering both cloud
and on-premise options, enterprise license purchase, license rental, and transactional
pricing models. We maintain and invest in an in-house professional services
practice including linguists, speech scientists, conversational speech and
cognitive user interface design specialists. We make our products and services
available at reasonable market price points, and have a reputation for project
execution, flexibility, and responsiveness to client requirements – and are
known for being easy to work with. We provide technology and solutions that
drive business value for enterprises and interaction experiences that make our
CLOUD-BASED AI CONTACT CENTER PLATFORM
Many companies struggle to properly scale the customer experience while maintaining rapport and diminishing frustration. The Zailab platform offers omnichannel capabilities, enabling teams to personalize every interaction with no context-switching. The solution makes life easier for customers and agents alike with automatic case-linking and an intelligent ACD that that uses AI to route and reprioritizes interactions from any channel on the fly. The platform is quick and easy to set up and optimize as needed. Agents have a single ‘waiting room’ for all calls, emails and SMS: the system triages each interaction, based SLA and maximum wait times. Each individual company can set rules to determine the importance of communication.
Once all the rules are set up for the waiting room, AI takes over. The agent can see everything from a single view. The platform provides detailed conversation histories include interaction details, call recordings, step-by-step time breakdowns, and disposition codes. It is easy for companies to keep it synced with their CRM allowing them to dive deeper into the data with a comprehensive set of reports.
Zailab’s innovative pricing strategy makes it attractive to implement. “Our consumption-based pricing allows organizations to manage costs with their business needs by paying only for what they use,” said Michael Cibelli, Senior VP of Sales for Zailab. “ Imagine the value to retail-based companies as an example with high contact center fluctuation due to seasonality.” “There are no licensing fees; no commitment, contract or up-front fees.”