In an Exclusive interview with CXO VOICE, Prasanna Kumar, CTO of Kore.ai, discusses about AI Chatbots in business operations and whether they can enhance customer experience and help improve an organization’s overall productivity.
How is AI-enabled virtual assistance a game changer for enterprises?
Prasanna: The use of AI enabled virtual assistants is rapidly expanding within enterprises, with a focus on both self-service automation and agent-assisted applications. One of the main objectives of this deployment is to improve overall containment rates by automating common inquiries and providing personalized responses to customers to improve customer satisfaction.
Enterprises have deployed AI for both customer service use cases, as well as employee-facing use cases such as HR or IT Help Desk.
A leading healthcare company has implemented virtual assistants powered by speech AI technology on the Kore.ai platform. These assistants handle approximately 150 million calls per year and provide customers with self-service automation for tasks such as prescription refills and order status inquiries.
Similarly, one of the top 5 banks in the US has deployed AI enabled virtual assistants across digital and voice channels for handling 250+ million chats/calls a year, for various customer support tasks, including inquiries and transactional tasks. On the employee front, one of the largest IT help desk service providers is deploying ITSM Virtual Assistant for the employees of 100+ customers it has, for various self-service automation for tasks such as incident inquiries, password resets, and other types of service requests.
All these self-service automation use cases not only improve the overall customer experience but also reduce the cost of serving customers.
Agent-assisted applications leverage AI to provide agents with next best action recommendations, personalized responses, and real-time guidance during customer interactions. This helps to improve agent performance, reduce handling time, and increase customer satisfaction.
Another key trend we have seen is the deployment of speech AI in proactive outbound call use cases, such as collections. Traditionally, collections processes have been handled by agents who manually reach out to customers to collect payments. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, and can lead to poor customer experiences if not handled properly.
AI Virtual Assistants are helping to automate the collection process by proactively reaching out to customers and engaging in a natural conversation to collect payments. By analyzing the language and behavior of customers during collections interactions, the system can also identify trends and patterns that can be used to identify which collection strategy works and which customers are likely to pay, and thus by improving the overall collections process.
Impacts of AI chatbots on customer experience?
Prasanna: AI enabled virtual assistants are available 24/7, can understand the context of all previous conversations from across various channels of communication, and can access unlimited amounts of knowledge from the enterprise data sources and knowledge bases through real-time integrations – resulting in providing a fast personalized service, with infinite amount of scalability.
Interacting with an AI virtual assistant is like having a personal concierge with all the data at fingertips, and is trained to be the best in providing service and can personalize interactions to customers’ preferences.
Which industry is best utilizing AI chatbots to enhance productivity?
Prasanna: AI chatbots have been adopted by various industries to enhance productivity and improve customer experiences.
A prime example is the customer service sector, which has harnessed AI chatbots in both text and voice channels, delivering 24×7 service to clients. By automating routine inquiries and even transactional tasks, chatbots have significantly reduced wait times, thus boosting customer satisfaction levels. Furthermore, AI chatbots assist human agents during customer interactions by offering the most suitable response or even suggesting personalized resolutions through real-time integration with enterprise APIs.
The healthcare industry has also reaped the benefits of AI chatbots, employing them to streamline various processes such as appointment scheduling, pre-care questionnaires, post-care follow-ups, and prescription refills. By automating these tasks, healthcare professionals can concentrate on more critical duties while simultaneously improving the overall patient experience.
Lastly, the financial industry has embraced the use of virtual assistants across digital and voice channels to provide self-service automation for common queries and transactional tasks. These tasks include reporting fraudulent transactions, updating addresses, and handling KYC requirements. Implementing AI chatbots has not only alleviated the burden on customer service teams but has also positively impacted customer satisfaction.
What are the solutions Kore.ai has that enhance customer experience?
Prasanna: There are primarily six areas where Kore.ai is helping global enterprises modernize and adopt scalable models for growth and business continuity. These include natural language-powered conversational IVR, self-service automation, cognitive search, omnichannel experience, personalized services, and AI-enabled agent experiences.
Our no-code XO platform helps citizen developers and enterprise users design and build sophisticated conversational experiences for customers and employees. The CX and EX delivery frameworks within our platform bring channels and enterprise system-specific integrations out of the box, enabling customers to build both CX and EX use cases seamlessly without worrying about specific nuances.
Financial industry and the need of AI chatbots?
Prasanna: Banks and financial institutes serve the mass market and are always under tremendous pressure to provide timely and effective customer service. The typical scenario at banking customer service centers is long wait times, complicated IVR menu structure, customers transferred from one agent to another and needing to repeat the information, most often not reaching to any satisfactory solution; all this leads to frustration and lack of confidence in the banking system.
Today’s tech-savvy customers’ expectations are evolving rapidly. They expect 24×7, omnichannel, self-serving customer service. They expect proactive and personalized service. And the list goes on. The banking and financial institutes struggle to keep up with these expectations in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
AI powered solutions are the way to address these challenges and expectations. Conversational AI, a stream of AI fuelled with the power of the latest innovations like large language models like ChatGPT and generative AI technologies, can offer transformational experiences to end customers. Using conversational AI based solutions, companies can offer 24X7 self-serve chatbots that provide human-like conversational experiences.
The companies can offer such personalized and proactive experiences on various voice and digital channels. These systems can be quickly trained to handle dynamic situations like COVID-19 and can scale up or down as needed. Moreover, these solutions provide great support to the support staff and call agents improving their efficiency. Most importantly, such AI powered solutions not only bring huge operational efficiencies and effectiveness but also reduce overall costs.
Beyond automation and performance of complex banking transactions, BankAssist uses historical data and context to identify cross-and-upselling opportunities and provides CX teams the insights they need for more personalized banking relationships.
Tell us more about Kore.ai’s future plan; how will you attract the market?
Prasanna: Kore.ai is the leading platform in the conversational AI space and through our Experience Optimization (XO) platform and solutions, we are helping large enterprises and SMBs globally to create extraordinary experiences for their customers and employees. Our pre-built solutions tailored to various industry verticals – including banking, healthcare, retail, telecom, and others – as well as functional streams such as ITSM, HR, Sales, and Procurement enable businesses to deploy pre-trained sophisticated virtual assistants rapidly and effortlessly.
Knowing that the demand for AI powered solutions is increasing rapidly and adoption is growing fast, we have been at the forefront of offering sophisticated platforms and solutions and simplifying the process. With our no-code platform and highly customizable solution stack, we have been democratizing the bot-building process for non-developers. By incorporating generative large language models into the XO platform,.
We attract enterprises and SMBs by offering simplified yet innovative platforms and solutions that are easy to customize, deploy, and maintain. Moreover, we also offer a rich library of pre-built templates and the world-class Kore.ai Academy to train and certify developers to help them build quick solutions.
Lastly, our global success stories and rapidly growing partner network is enabling us to penetrate the large market and take our solutions to the global market. Particularly in India, we’ve a strategic partnership with Tanla, a CPaas leader who helps Indian enterprises in their conversational AI journey through our technology.