At the July 24 Google Cloud Next Conference, they announced a new expansion to their Google Cloud product suite, the Google Cloud Contact Center AI. The system includes elements of Google’s existing Dialogflow text-to-speech and speech recognition software, The WaveNet raw audio speech engine from DeepMind, and the routing capability based the Genesys Predicting Routing.
The goal is to have as many calls resolved by the AI as possible before the customer is routed to a human agent. There will be less hold time and quicker transfer times because the system can handle many automated tasks, whereas before even computerized tasks like billing or recorded messages were sent to their own extension first. Numbered extensions, and with it the tension of that one second between “for sales” and “press one” may soon be a thing of the past. The speech engine software will simply ask what the issue is; customers will answer in plain English (or their language of choice). Customers will continue to use their regular phones for this system, no upgrades or software installations are necessary.
Contact center software and IVR systems have long been associated with customer service and technical support. This product will expand the scope of phone service to include marketing and sales more. In addition, the system will work across different platforms. If a customer starts on a tablet, then wants phone support, the software will be able to let the agent pick up where the AI left off. Not only that, GCCAI will track the customer’s needs and pass that information on to sales.
The Genesys Predicting Routing software has already proven successful for subscribers in its own right. A leading Canadian communications and media company, Rogers Communications, Inc., tested an early version of the Genesys Predictive Routing software. As a result, they increased customer retention by nearly 3 percent and reduced average handle time by 7 percent. Kevin Jolliffe, vice president of Enterprise Planning for Rogers, said, “Predictive Routing is a practical and powerful way to use machine learning to align customer intent with the best equipped agent. We see great potential in using the Genesys solution to deliver smarter and faster service that respects our customers’ time, sets our employees up for success, and produces stellar outcomes for our business.”
We are seeing a shift away from traditional phone support and towards a smartphone-based support system. Customers, especially younger ones, expect to be helped by a combination of text, graphic-based UI, and social media, then only calling after they have exhausted their other options. That said, older customers are still using phones, and expect more attention from phone support. GCCCAI will be better able to handle these customers than before, and will be able to pass on the context of the conversation to a human agent. In some cases, the customer will not be aware that he or she is talking to a machine.
The interaction between the caller and the AI will be more natural than ever before with the new speech recognition and raw audio generation. The WaveNet is a new generation of text generation that generates audio signals with 50% better performance (according to Mean Opinion Scores) than Google’s current Text-To-Speech engines.
The machine learning algorithm is able to learn from the data it collects. Essentially, as it is being used it always improves. In essence, it is creating a custom algorithm for every subscriber. The software has detailed reporting so team administrators can compare predicted results with actual results.
Within hours, many of the major names in business VoIP have announced that their platform will integrate with Google. Among those names are Five9, RingCentral, Vonage, Twilio, and Mitel. Existing Genesys PureEngage subscribers may also now choose to host their contact centers on Google.
Google Cloud is expected to cost up to 60% less than similar traditional services, and will include a free tier suitable for small businesses and extended trial periods. This is on top of the money subscribers may save by hiring fewer phone workers or more money produced because of the time saved by letting Google handle mundane and time-consuming tasks.
Google Cloud is already the choice of many of the biggest names in business, like Johnson & Johnson, Hearst, and Charles Schwab. DeepMind is an AI company that was acquired by Google/Alphabet in 2014. Genesys does not have a lot of name recognition, but they are the contact center of choice for 65 of the top 100 companies in the world.