Thought Bubbles: Q&A on Artificial Intelligence

Jun 3, 2020 10:00:00 AM

We get a lot of questions whenever we meet new people at conferences, host webinars, give one-on-one demos, and even as we onboard new customers. We welcome the opportunity to answer these questions, dig deeper, and help organizations elevate their customer support to be truly great. When we get questions like these from prospects and customers, we can't help but answer them here. 

Q: We continue to hear about the ever-expanding use of artificial intelligence (AI) throughout contact centers. What is one way you see the use of AI being a big benefit — or a detriment — to society?

A: The first thing I’ll say is that while artificial intelligence (AI) is the accepted vernacular, if we’re being precise, AI doesn't really yet exist. Let me explain. The goal of AI is to build computer systems capable of mimicking human tasks that require intelligence. AI requires free cognitive thought (i.e. a human brain)... and clearly that doesn’t exist yet. When we talk about AI today, we’re really talking about machine learning (ML). ML is an application of AI that gives systems the ability to learn and improve with each experience, relying heavily on data and natural language processing. ML accomplishes specific tasks by processing large amounts of data, recognizing patterns, and adjusting the response. ML offers top-notch emotion detection and data analysis capabilities, including customer sentiment analysis and speech analysis.

A common use case for ML is the implementation of smart bots, also known as chatbots. These bots can be extremely helpful in addressing smaller, repetitive tasks like account lookups and billing status. By automating these kinds of tasks, you’re able to free up time for actual people to focus on the tough issues that only a human can do. Importantly, however, bots shouldn't ever replace humans, they should be used to enable humans. For example, in a customer service scenario, you can use ML-powered bots to handle the simple up-front parts of customer inquiries, gather intelligence on the mood and intent of the customer, and then escalate to a human if and when the time comes. This helps employees do their jobs better and gives customers the kind of experience they deserve. Remember, technology can never provide the level of empathy or solve complex problems like humans, but it is capable of providing great insight and streamlining otherwise cumbersome business processes.

This is a huge benefit to society because, regardless of our independent roles and occupations, collectively we are all customers in our daily lives. We all have to interact with customer service when we encounter a problem. It's safe to say we all want easy, quick, and seamless experiences when we engage with the brands we do business with, too. Sometimes our issues are clearer-cut, and we want self-service options to avoid interacting with a human entirely. Machine-learning-powered bots make all of this possible and facilitate quicker resolutions. When implemented correctly, machine learning in the contact center benefits everyone by making customer service interactions painless and incredibly efficient.

Cameron Weeks

Written by Cameron Weeks

Cameron Weeks is tech-savvy, entrepreneurial and visionary--the driving force behind what’s happening now and what is to come. As CEO, he guides the team at Edify to drive new business, seek growth in existing and emerging markets, and push the boundaries in the cloud-based business communications sector.