2 minute read
By Dick Bucci
Posted in Customer Engagement
Not since the first human landed on the moon 50 years ago has a technology topic engendered more conversation, white papers, lectures, learned journal articles, and unbridled enthusiasm than artificial intelligence (AI). McKinsey estimates that artificial intelligence techniques cited in a recent briefing together have the potential to create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion annually in value across nine business functions and 19 industries.1
The race is on for driverless vehicles, and now we know that a subsidiary of Boeing is testing autonomous electronic "flying taxis" to whisk passengers from skyscraper to skyscraper in today's traffic-clogged cities. I suspect it will be quite a while for most of us to entrust our safety to a nameless, faceless device that could crash because of a loose diode. However, deploying artificial intelligence to make the human driver or pilot more successful does make a lot of sense.
Let's consider an AI-assisted automobile. Drivers get distracted, miss warning signals, and sometimes have seizures or fall asleep at the wheel. In those cases, the AI technology takes over for the driver's misdeeds or misfortune to help prevent injury. However, only you know where you're going and can change your mind anytime for any reason. The AI engine does not know what you're thinking. That's why they call it "artificial" intelligence.
Technology and human operators working in concert is called a hybrid solution. The same notion of combining the best of human abilities and AI technology can be applied to contact centers. As Verint's Elan Moriah, President, Customer Engagement Solutions, recently told KM World, "As contact center interactions grow in both number and complexity, organizations are increasingly adopting a "hybrid workforce" approach. In a hybrid workforce, people work in conjunction with robots to complete tasks faster and with more accuracy."
At their 2019 Engage conference, Verint expanded on its vision of the hybrid workforce. Corporate leaders noted that the acquisition of Next IT, a developer of virtual customer assist products based on artificial intelligence and natural language technology, provided the knowledge and people to strengthen their existing AI initiative. At the conference, attended by 1,700 customers, partners, and employees from around the world, Verint and its partners presented unified voice of the customer solutions, software robots for back office functions, automated quality management, virtual assistants, decision guidance software, knowledge management, intelligent WFM, case management, Fintech solutions and more. Computer hardware giant Dell explained how its virtual agent, developed with Verint, uses assisted search technology to help customers with set-up instructions, sales assistance, and troubleshooting.
Verint's measured strategy is based in part on findings from their massive global study of 34,000 adults, Engagement in the Always on Era. The research showed that a substantial majority welcome automation that reduces laborious tasks. When asked about virtual agents, 54% said they'd be happy to be served by a chatbot, provided they had the option of moving to a human conversation. In view of what we know from past history and human nature, Verint's hybrid approach is the correct way to introduce artificial intelligence technology to the contact center.
1 Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning, April 2018, McKinsey & Company
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