I recently attending the Verint Engage event in Sydney, with over 700 customers, where conversations on artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics garnered a lot of attention. Verint showcased deployments of intelligent conversational bots by some of the biggest brands in Asia Pacific including Spark NZ, Suncorp and AAMI. They have had an established presence in areas of quality monitoring, analytics, knowledge management and compliance. In 2018, the company acquired Next IT, a provider of conversational AI virtual assistants, to accelerate their move in the automation and analytics space. Verint’s choice of Next IT was driven by the need to provide their customers with a solution that has deep expertise in the contact centre space and to have an automation solution that is deeply integrated into their broad portfolio of solutions.
Last week, Verint announced the launch of AI Blueprint, a conversation analysis system that identifies intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) use cases and accelerates automation. The solution then delivers a “blueprint” of precisely how businesses can get started with AI or continue to grow their AI capabilities.
- Stakeholder engagement. For a successful deployment, many organisations had to involve senior management in the discussion. These ranged from CIOs, CDOs and CEOs. The conversation around automation and AI for customer service is no longer contained within the contact centre. Many organisations spoke about having senior management involved in the pre and post launch of the virtual assistant deployment. Getting buy-in and feedback from senior management is key as the AI discussion becomes part of a broader digital strategy for the organisation. The global Ecosystm AI study, which is live and ongoing on the Ecosystm platform, also finds that senior management is the second highest influencer for AI procurement and implementation.
- Embedded analytics. Organisations at the Verint Engage event also highlighted that the route to a successful intelligent virtual assistant deployment is to embed knowledge management and analytics capabilities to the AI platform. By failing to incorporate knowledge management and analytics, the intelligent virtual assistant experience will be poor leaving customers frustrated.
- Contact centre experience. Organisations that have switched to Verint from other larger brands for their intelligent assistant solution, did not do so only for the cost of solution, but also because they felt that these vendors offered an AI solution but lacked an understanding of the contact centre environment. The success according to some of these organisations is working with a vendor that has deep expertise in understanding and managing CX. The importance of compliance, training, speech analytics, coaching and quality monitoring is deeply embedded into Verint’s capabilities and organisations are finding that as being a critical element in the overall deployment of AI.
- The right balance. Several of the organisations highlighted the savings realised, when the deployment was done well and fully integrated into knowledge management. Automation will in the long run help reduce contact centre calls and live chat costs. However, it was emphasised that the agent or human element remains important and cannot be ignored. Weighing how you deployed both AI and Voice must be considered carefully.
Virtual assistants need to be fed the right information to make the discussion with the customer engaging. A solid knowledge management strategy is key to the success of a virtual assistant deployment. Without analytics and knowledge management at its core, the CX will be poor leaving customers frustrated with the chat bot and not wanting to deal with machines. When deployed well, the virtual assistant can help enhance the CX. It is important for contact centres to not rely on full automated CX when dealing with customers. The ability to still have the human touch is critical and cannot be ignored. Designing the experience to ensure a seamless hand off to the agent when automation cannot handle the queries is important.
Verint is starting to win deals in the AI and Virtual assistant space with some of the largest brands in the Asia Pacific region and these include in the Financial Services and Utilities sectors. They appear to be on the right track by not relying on virtual assistants alone, but on an all-encompassing solution across self-service, analytics, knowledge management, quality monitoring and compliance. This end-to-end approach will play a crucial role when helping organisations address CX in a digital world.