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August 30, 2023
8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, which incorporates voice channels, is now available unrestricted in open beta. It provides users with a conversational AI experience like that available via digital channels such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Users can design and manage experiences for the 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant via prebuilt templates or click-to-add technology that enables a relative ease of build. Allison Bergamo, the principal at Bergamo Marketing Group and an AI expert, told Channel Futures that conversational AI tools can provide fresh prospects for the channel.
Bergamo Marketing Group’s Allison Bergamo
“They can help companies deliver what their customers expect – always-on, self-directed services and experiences that deliver speed, convenience, consistency and a human touch,” Bergamo said. She noted that the human touch is an element customers still desire.
Gartner found that 74% of customers who said they had a comfortable transition to a customer service representative reported they would utilize self-service tools again. Bergamo emphasized that by using these tools to unlock and unify customer data across all channels, contact center agents can personalize customer conversations to deliver better service and higher-quality experiences.
She cites research conducted by PWC, which found the payoff can be considerable: up to a 16% price dividend on products and services, plus the bounty of customer devotion.
With generative AI all the rage, self-service is yet another way AI can satisfy customers. For starters, agents do not have to collect data manually with this offering and it extends context-contextual communications at its most adequate via the 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant.
If a voicebot interaction is transferred to a human agent, the call is accompanied by all the context the agent needs to understand why the customer has reached them.
8×8’s Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith, head of CCaaS product marketing, a suite that features the 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, notes that insights are built in, with rich analytics, monitoring and advanced reporting tools designed to lend insight into the customer journey.
All this in a turnkey integrated solution notes Smith, who shared with Channel Futures that it allows for what she describes as: “Endless customization for a highly personalized customer experience within a voice bot interaction.”
Smith says the entire suite of 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant capabilities integrates with the 8×8 Contact Center. So, if a customer requires live service, they can be seamlessly transferred to an agent who has complete context.
“This matters for the channel, specifically resellers, because conversational AI is complex,” Smith said. “How we produced and packaged ours is ‘extremely attractive’ to channel partners because we bundled automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech technology into our pricing.”
Smith told Channel Futures this matters because it works for the mid-enterprise, nixing multiple complex contracts with various providers. “We bundled it into a comfortable package, making it easy for partners to take and sell,” she said.
As much as the voicebot experience is nearly indiscernible for humans, folks still crave good old-fashioned human interactions. “Just because customers want speed and convenience, does not mean they want to sacrifice human interaction,” Bergamo told Channel Futures.
Bergamo said companies must be mindful not to remove humans entirely from the loop as most customers still want humans to step in and take over when bots don’t quite get it. AI will never be a substitute for human understanding.
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.
As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.
Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.
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