Cisco is pulling out all the stops for its second day of Cisco Live. Tuesday’s presentation had a stunning 20,000 attendees who all had a chance to hear about three new technologies the communications giant is providing to its customers that utilize AI and machine learning.

 

WebEx Contact Center Enterprise with Voicea

The first announcement centered around the introduction of WebEx Contact Center Enterprise, which is targeted towards larger businesses that want to integrate a fully-functional contact center software into their business practices. This solution is designed with Voicea functionality. Cisco purchased the AI assistant in the third quarter of last year.

With Voicea, WebEx Contact Center Enterprise will allow agents to go about their daily calls, but when it’s time to hang up, the AI solution will automatically create a summary of the call. This can save an agent a lot of time by making the process of getting onto the next call much shorter. The summary includes a full transcript of the conversation, so the next agent on the phone with the customer/lead will have all of the pertinent info that’s required.

 

Improved IVR Thanks to a Partnership with Google

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems often serve as the frontline in an organization’s customer experience.  This prerecorded or AI-based technology is the first thing a customer hears when contacting an inbound contact center and routes the calls to the appropriate agent/department. While the technology is decades old, more than a few service providers are attempting to create a more robust and natural experience for their customers, and Cisco is no different.

During Cisco Live, Cisco announced a partnership expansion with Google, which will bring the company’s Cloud Contact Center AI (CCAI) to its contact center platform. With this AI solution, the first point of contact with a brand will feel more natural for a caller. The AI uses conversational IVR and is capable of talking, understanding, and interacting with them in a way that feels human.

According to Cisco’s Conversational AI and CCAI lead, Antony Passemard:

“By combining Cisco’s contact center technology with Google Cloud’s CCAI NLU and Speech capabilities, businesses can work to reduce average handle times and help agents provide better customer service.”

This technology provides a pathway to a higher degree of self-service for inbound and outbound calls. A customer will interact with CCAI and potentially receive the resolution that they seek without the need for talking to an agent. This frees up agents to handle more complicated cases and provides a higher level of operational efficiency. If an issue crops up during the IVR process, CCAI will route the call to a specialist.

Technologies used by the solution will include speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and Dialogflow. Each of these tools will be used to understand the customer better, even if they have an accent or are reaching out through multichannel platforms like email or SMS.

 

Managing Customer Experience via WebEx

Another 2019 acquisition made by Cisco happened when it purchased CloudCherry. CloudCherry is a customer experience (CX) management tool that can be used to track customer journey and sentiment. Thanks to the acquisition, WebEx Contact Center Enterprise will have improved analytical capabilities that can help contact center management augment their customer journey.

Called WebEx Experience Management, the tool will use AI to determine how a customer feels during a call. Agents and specialists can then use this data to tailor the approach to the customer during future calls. Is the customer angry? Does he or she have concerns about the service? Is the customer at-risk for finding another provider or brand?

The CloudCherry integration into the Experience Management platform can determine all of these risk factors so that agents can be more prepared. The platform will even route the call to the most qualified agent.

 

Cisco is Embracing AI to Enhance Experiences

With all of these announcements, Cisco clearly sees the value of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Tools like this will bolster customer experience, reduce average handle times, and help agents be more prepared and successful.

Will this make them super agents? At this point, it’s hard to fully grasp how well these features will help enhance the call centers, especially considering the industry as a whole is becoming more AI-oriented. Is this a step in the right direction? The utilization of these types of technologies is inevitable, and using them to create better customer experiences is a smart move.

Check out our published article on why strong customer relationships are essential for contact centers for a better understanding of why this might represent a significant shift in the industry.