Automation that combines data insights and conversational AI is improving customer experience

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By Patricia Mirasol

The customer experience journey is being enhanced nowadays through technologies that leverage data analytics and conversational automation, or the use of software robots as an extension of human customer service.

Conversational automation results in higher engagement among customer agents, which in turn results in higher satisfaction among customers, said Ravi Soarogi, co-founder and president for Asia Pacific of Uniphore, a conversational AI (artificial intelligence) company.

“Over the years, what got missed out was the focus on customer service,” he said on an Oct. 13 Zoom call with BusinessWorld. “A lot of investments were made in the backend, but hardly anything in the front end.”

The right customer experience, Mr. Soarogi added, not only helps an enterprise retain the customer, but also propels the business forward.

A 2018 study by multinational technology firm IBM reported that roughly 50% of first calls to call centers go unresolved. The study also reported that 56% of millennials have switched from one company to another because of underwhelming customer service.

Uniphore’s platform uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing (which makes human language intelligible to machines), and robotic process automation (which frees employees from doing repetitive tasks) to analyze a call from beginning to end, as well as guide customer service agents on how to handle complex conversations.

“Call centers have now transformed themselves into contact centers. It’s not a call process anymore, but a multichannel omni-present system that is contact-enabled,” Mr. Soarogi said, adding that what has not changed is “how a conversation leads to a solution for the consumer.”

Because the company’s platform is also equipped with authentication and quality assurance features, it can be utilized remotely by clients with work-from-home staff.

Uniphore was incubated in Madras, India, in 2008 with the aim of bridging the gap between humans and machines, and ensuring that machines understand and provide real answers to human queries. It now has offices in five countries, and counts Sitel and First Source as some of their global clients. In the Philippines, Uniphore works with companies in the telecommunications and business process outsourcing sectors.

Mr. Soarogi said that delivering the right productivity tools enables an agent to focus on the customer.

“A happy agent leads to a happy customer. That’s the belief we have,” he added.

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