Jun

3 Reasons Why Knowing Intent is Essential for Your Business

What is intent? It is the reason behind the sentences we say. Behind posts and messages, as they appear on social networks. For instance, the intent of the tweet ‘I am going to buy a new car soon, my old car is entirely broken’  is buying a new car. The intent of this one however ‘ Need to buy me a car, got things to do lol’ could be anything from killing time by posting randomly to impressing friends, but not buying a car.  

During the time when most customer activities online happened on search engines (e.g. Google) understanding of intent was predominantly the task of these search engines.  So when I type ‘typical menu of Chinese restaurant’ and the search engine displays the list of local Chinese restaurants clearly in this case it did not understand my intent.

Nowadays, when an ever growing part of the consumer related activities is happening on social networks the task of understanding the customer intent becomes responsibility of a business.

Here are three reasons why this task is essential:

1. Marketing is personalized. Email blasts are a thing from the past. Today to stay completive your business should be able to target individually. And that means knowing what each of your potential customers needs in real time. The best way to know this is to understand customer intent. The numerous analytical and measurement tools available today exist only because until recently we didn’t know how to capture customer intent properly.

2. Knowing intent allows efficient and timely service across your company’s departments: those interested in the product belong to marketing department, purchase intent goes to sales, unhappy customers go to customer service, and so on.

3. Knowing intent offers long-term sustainability to your business because it reduces the noise. Unlike the previous generations, when the problem was a lack of information, today’s problem is the abundance of information. Business can function efficiently and be sustainable only when a competent model of finding the right information is in place. Understanding of intent is the best model available

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MAKING AI MAINSTREAM



We are experiencing a strong demand for conversational AI solutions. It is coming from every corner of the B2C market. It is growing by the day.

Conversational AI is becoming increasingly popular among the consumer facing business community. It is easy to see why - AI offers sales and customer service scalability and therefore is critical for the long-term success of a business.

Conversational AI solutions such as chatbots, voice bots, and virtual assistants provide much needed speed and efficiency, in an age where the rapid advancement of technology makes them virtually the only sustainable customer service solution.

Bu there is a catch - AI is complicated. Mainstream businesses do not have in house AI expertise. And it is not part of their business model to develop such expertise.

Today’s market offer several good conversational AI solutions, such as IBM Watson or Google DialogFlow. However, getting a business value out of them requires the very AI expertise that mainstream companies do not possess.

So what can be done?

Any AI solution should follow these three steps in order for the mainstream business community to fully benefit from it:

  1. Conversational AI should come as a service,
  2. The service should be available in natural language,
  3. The service should be fully personalized.  
 In the next several posts we will explore how the AI industry, including nmodes, is moving towards achieving these goals.
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Meet Eliza, the Mother of AI

                                                             

Meet Eliza, the Mother of AI..

Today, Artificial Intelligence seems to be the buzz of every major enterprise. Salesforce is formally announcing Einstein this fall, IBM has worked on Watson for years now, and after 20 years of working with AI, Microsoft has made a few attempts to bring the technology to the market. With all this activity, you may be asking yourself what kind of impact AI will have on you and your business, and where you might want to look to investigate the possibilities Artificial Intelligence represents.

Before we discuss how AI will impact customer support and consumer experience, and how you may leverage it in your contact center, I thought it would be fun to take a look where AI got its start.

The term AI was coined by computer scientist John McCarthyin 1956 who subsequently went on to create the Dartmouth Conference to advance the ideas and technologies associated with machine intelligence. While this collective of thought leaders and scientists made huge advancements through programs at MIT and others, most of their work was only circulated in academic fields.

Not many people were aware of Artificial Intelligence, how it worked or its potential uses, until around 1964 when MIT computer Scientist Joseph Weizenbaumwrote Eliza, a program based on Natural Language Processingthat was able to successfully question and respond to human interactions in such a way as to almost sound like a real human being. Eliza, with almost no information about human responses was able to use scripts and pattern  matching to simulate responses that might occur between two people.

The most famous of these simulations, highlighting  AI ability to intersect with modern needs and technology, was DOCTOR. DOCTOR was able to question and respond to a human in such a way so as to almost sound like an actual psychotherapist. As the human subject made statements, DOCTOR asked questions and made statements relevant to the conversation as if it were a present and conscious being… almost.

Over the years  computer scientists, whether academics or industry professionals,  have worked tirelessly to improve upon these developments with the hope of delivering a computer program capable not only to ask and respond, but to understand the context of a conversation. A program that can relate relevant data to responses, thus providing value to the human it’s conversing with, while helping to chart the course of the conversation, just as if you and I were talking over a cup of coffee or across a conference room table.

Why is this important, you may ask? With the introduction of Chatbots, we began to see some of the potential in Artificial Intelligence. Companies could now front-end customer chat interactions that allowed the company to be more responsive to its customers while shortening wait times and deflecting inquiries from the call center, which as we all know are hugely expensive.

The one problem with Chatbots? Customers hated dealing with limited technology that was cold, often incorrect, and frustrating. People are accustomed to dealing with the cold, sterile nature of technology when they type numbers in a phone to be routed but expected a human to be chatting with them. These negative experiences have made a number of companies a little gun shy about implementing true Artificial Intelligence. The last thing a business wants is a customer complaining, especially on Social Media, about a poor customer experience due to a bad interaction with technology.

There is a significant difference between Chatbot technology and true AI, consequently the outcomes and customer experience are proving to be very different. Where a Chatbot is more like an IVR, answering simple questions and routing customers to the correct agent, Artificial Intelligence is aware of the conversation and able to present relevant responses, thereby providing a faster response and shorter customer interaction times and better customer service. I mean, if Eliza’s DOCTOR could simulate a psychotherapist in 1964, what can AI do for your contact center in 2016?

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