This article was originally published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Record.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to build bots has taken customer service by storm. There are many different AI-driven intelligent assistants including chatbots and digital assistants such as Cortana, the voice activated personal assistant for Windows.
As organisations and contact centres rush to implement their own flavour of robot, Teleopti is taking advantage of Microsoft’s complete bot building environment to incorporate AI into its workforce management (WFM) software solution. The reasons for this include the ability to bypass thousands of hours of development time required for natural interaction with humans. Teleopti has used the toolkit offered by Microsoft Azure rather than build its own natural language engine, which means faster delivery of AI-based enhancements.
WFM often forms part of companies’ own efforts to digitally transform their operations and customer communications. Therefore, it was natural for Teleopti to look at the transformative possibilities of bots to improve user experience and efficiency. Teleopti WFM has a self-service app which contact centre agents can access at home or at work. The Teleopti MyTime portal is empowering for employees and time-saving for resource planners.
To take this level of automation one step further Teleopti is developing and testing its own chatbot – Grant – to help people manage their work-life balance. It allows them to request time off at short notice, a late start, early finish or absence for an appointment without a team leader or planner being involved in the approval process. In large contact centres, this can amount to thousands of requests per day.
Grant can hold a conversation, understand basic questions and approve or refuse requests via Teleopti WFM, on a desktop or via the MyTime mobile app. Increased channels provide improved direct communication between customer service agents, contact centre leaders and resource planners with Grant acting as a vital part of that communication, leading to increased employee engagement and loyalty.
Microsoft Cognitive Services will ultimately mean Grant can understand requests however they are phrased or spelt, in terms familiar to the modern workforce and in multiple languages. This technology will enable the bot to respond and interpret enquiries in a more human way.
At Teleopti we realised we didn’t need to go it alone. Microsoft’s Bot Framework and AI foundation of research means Teleopti can build on the machine learning already in its core WFM suite, with a whole range of AI possibilities including forecasting, user behaviour and data management, in addition to Teleopti’s chatbot.
Magnus Geverts is chief business development officer at Teleopti
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