Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Analytics, and Collaboration Create Cognitive Experiences in the Contact Center

Every interaction between your contact center agents and your customers is a reflection of your brand – positive, negative, or neutral. According to a study by PwC, in the U.S. one bad experience alone will drive 32% of your customers away – even if they love your brand. That figure increases in Latin America to 49%.

We all want our customers to love our brand. So how do we avoid those bad experiences? How do we establish customer relationships and then grow and nurture them to make the next situation a better one – a more proactive, thoughtful, intelligent, and authentic one.

Our answer is by creating cognitive customer and agent experiences. This week at Cisco Live, my team and I will be spending time with our customers and partners demonstrating our solutions, discussing our vision, and sharing our ideas on what it means to have a cognitive and collaborative contact center.

Making it Cognitive

Cognition is what allows us to function as humans. Through cognition we’re able to better understand each other along with all the complexities of communication, evaluate and make judgments, reason our way through problems, and formulate appreciation. Our vision at Cisco is to change the world’s customer and agent experiences – and bringing cognition to those experiences is one of the best ways in which we can help you do that.

Empowering Your Agents

Three weeks ago I shared my view on the myths surrounding artificial intelligence’s role in the contact center. One misconception about AI is that it will replace people or eliminate jobs altogether. AI will likely have a greater role in augmenting, vs. replacing live agent assistance.

Your agents are the front line of your business and their daily interactions with your customers are essential to building meaningful and healthy long-term relationships. As with any relationship, your agents must demonstrate interest, understanding and empathy every time they interact with customers. They’re under pressure to turn potentially bad customer experiences into great ones. So investing in your agents makes good business sense. Companies are spending 1 trillion dollars worldwide a year, trying to understand and shape the journeys of their customers. However, what’s astounding is that companies spend 1000 times less on understanding their employees. Enabling artificial intelligence to work hand-in-hand with your agents is the best combination to helping them succeed.

Let’s take a look at a medical insurance company. Customers interact mostly through the company’s web portal. When the customer engages via chat, the chat interaction is handled by a Bot which is used to provide self-service and qualify the request. When the Bot recognizes a word or phrase indicating the need for a human agent, the Bot escalates the chat to a team of agents in a team collaboration workspace. The first agent to respond “yes” gets connected to the customer chat by the Bot. The agents don’t have any medical experience; they’re not doctors. But they have enough training and skill to handle first line questions. During the chat, AI is listening, and automatically displaying for the agent relevant articles and other pertinent information such as medical term definitions in real-time. However, during the chat, the agent needs expert advice from a medical professional. Without leaving their agent experience, the agent can easily find and reach a trained professional and collaborate about the customer request, while still chatting with the customer. The agent is able to answer the customer’s question on the first contact, and the customer leaves delighted from their experience.

This is a perfect example of agent augmentation – not replacement. Background intelligence is working hand-in-hand to augment the agent’s ability to serve their customer well. The Bot offloaded the initial simple task from the agent. Then the agent received AI assistance and human assistance in order to complete the engagement with the customer.

This powerful combination of AI, APIs, data analytics, contact center, and collaboration technology is the unique value Cisco brings to our customers.

A Compelling Portfolio

One more thing. I’m excited to announce that we’ll be joining the industry-recognized Webex family by renaming our cloud-based Customer Journey Platform solution to Webex Contact Center. Webex is our native cloud collaboration brand worldwide known for its reliability, scalability, security, and innovation – exactly the characteristics of our Webex Contact Center solution. This unique portfolio provides our customers a complete unified collaboration suite with calling, messaging, meetings, team collaboration, devices, and now contact center.

To learn more about Cognitive Collaboration and Contact Center, please visit our Webexperience Zone to see our solutions in action and enter the raffle to win a Harley-Davison motorcycle while you’re there.



Vasili Triant

No Longer with Cisco