The widespread adoption of Business VoIP is well underway. The benefits, both financially and in improving the quality of customer service make it a no-brainer. Another aspect of the current digital revolution is the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (”AI”) to automate routine manual tasks.
What if the two could be brought together? AI is touted as the way of the future and is finding its way into many business areas, not just IT.
Here are four ways in which Business VoIP and AI could work together to the benefit of the business.
Customer Support Centres
An area of development currently in the early days of operation and one in which AI can significantly enhance Business VoIP systems is that of support centres.
Currently, many support centres use Automated Voice Response (“AVR”) technology. AVR is an automation tool that enhances the business VoIP system by managing the incoming customer call to ensure that the call is answered more quickly and routed to an appropriate agent.
At present AI is used to enhance this process by being able to complete the customer transaction for simple or common support requests, thereby enabling the agents to concentrate on more complex calls. Some computer manufacturer sites, including IBM and HP, use AI as online support tools.
AVR is being extended to chatbots. Chatbots can accept the voice or typed instructions and information and perform tasks based on the information supplied. They can often interact verbally with each other and with the customer. Much research is currently underway as to how they can be given individual identities and mimic human interaction sufficiently well as to make customers think that they are interacting with real people.
This brings immediate benefits to an organisation in that they have reduced costs of operation because chatbots work 24/7/365 and don’t need a salary or benefits. It also enhances customer satisfaction in that they no longer need to wait in the “Your Call is Important to Us” queue.
It is early in the development of using AI for customer support, but some futurologists foresee the day when human operators are not needed in call centres.
Using AI as a network configuration and management tool
Networks, especially large complex multi-site networks are becoming increasingly labour intensive to design and manage. One development currently underway is the creation of Intent-Based networks (“IBN”) that will be self-configuring, self-healing and self-managing. AI will be a key part of Intent-Based networks, at the very least performing the low-level configuration and management tasks currently undertaken by network technicians.
As an example, currently configuring a switch is a labour-intensive task. Each port of the switch needs to be individually configured and this can take some time for the larger switches, time which could be expensive downtime if the switch is network critical.
AI could be used to automate that task. Switch replacement is then the simple process of swapping out the old switch for a new one. The IBN then configures the replacement switch.
This brings benefits in that fewer network specialists are needed, specialists that can be dedicated to more productive tasks.
AI as a Tool in Conference Calling
Conference calls are becoming a staple part of the business landscape. AI can be used as an automatic translation mechanism, enhancing the value of multi-site and multi-country conferences. With voice recognition, it can also be used to identify individuals and display appropriate information as they talk.
The existing VoIP systems offer call analysis software, giving details of call duration, from and to information and when the call was made. Most analysis is aimed at creating billing information. It is also after the fact. If the call content is to be analysed, it needs to be recorded and submitted to specialised software, again sometime later.
AI gives the opportunity for real-time call analysis and analysis of the actual call itself. It can be used to detect call patterns, analyse words and phrases in different languages and thereby provide invaluable information for Sales and Marketing.
All of this might seem a bit sci-fi, but it is already out there. AI and Business VoIP are inextricably linked in the future of business.