Tag Archives: Artificial Intelligence

AI is Ready for your Contact Center

By Donna Fluss

2024 is fast approaching, and contact center executives and leaders are trying to figure out how to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations. Decision-makers are considering many factors, including:

  • Is it safe to use AI?
  • What goals can AI help them achieve? Enhancing self-service? Boosting agent engagement? Increasing agent productivity? Reducing operating expenses? Improving the overall CX?
  • Which AI technologies should be used?
  • What AI-enabled applications are already delivering quantifiable benefits in the market?
  • Which large language models (LLMs) should be used for generative AI initiatives?
  • What resources are needed to deploy AI-based solutions?

Ultimately, contact center leaders are trying to figure out which technology partners and applications will make practical and meaningful contributions to help them achieve their goals.

The Good News

There are several AI-based or AI-enabled applications delivering significant quantifiable benefits to contact centers. DMG’s current recommendations due to their features, ease of deployment, and proven value are:

  1. Analytics-enabled (or automated) quality management (AQM)—these applications use interaction analytics (IA) technology, specifically natural language processing and understanding (NLP and NLU), and frequently other AI-based technologies, including generative AI, to automate the process of evaluating how well agents perform their job and whether they are in compliance with company policies and procedures. Interaction analytics technology has been in the commercial market for more than twenty years and AQM for more than twelve of them.
  2. Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs)—these conversational AI-based self-service solutions use NLP, NLU, natural language generation (NLG), generative AI, and other AI technologies to automate the handling of customer inquiries that do not require complex human reasoning or logic. IVAs have been discussed (and slowly adopted) during the past several years, but recent advancements in the use of generative AI technologies and LLMs are paving the way for faster and broader adoption.
  3. Post-interaction summarization—these applications use the call or digital transcript to automatically generate a short summary of the interaction. Typically, the summary is shared with the agent for review and corrections prior to posting to the system of record or customer relationship management (CRM) application. This is the newest of the three capabilities and has the potential to reduce post-interaction wrap-up time by at least 50 percent, which is massive for most contact centers.

There are many other AI-based/enabled applications making large contributions to contact centers today. If you’d like to discuss them with us, including their potential ROI/payback for your operation, please reach out to us at info@dmgconsult.com.

The Challenge

At present, there are limited third-party resources (outside of the technology providers) with experience in building AI-based solutions. This means companies are either going to have to rely on their technology vendor, pay for expensive professional services firms, or take a calculated risk and learn on the job. Because AI is here to stay and contact centers are going to migrate to new AI-based or enabled applications during the next five years, DMG recommends companies that can allocate resources should invest in the training they need, even if it slows them down by a couple of months.

Final Thoughts

AI is reinvigorating all aspects of contact centers through the delivery of technology that truly makes things easier for agents and customers. It’s not a question of will a contact center invest in and use AI, but a question of when. DMG is benchmarking the adoption of AI-based/enabled solutions in our annual contact center survey of goals and technology.

Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes and technology that drive the strategic direction of the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. Donna can be reached at donna.fluss@dmgconsult.com.

Donna invites you to take this quick two-minute survey so we can share the results with you. And as an added incentive, survey participants can elect to be included in a random drawing in which DMG will contribute to a charity of your choice, in your name.

Integrating ChatGPT with Advanced Answering Service Platforms

Unlocking the Power of AI for Answering Services

By Michael C. McMillan

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to permeate various industries, the answering service sector is no exception. AI-powered language models, such as ChatGPT, offer innovative solutions for improving customer service and enhancing call center management. Integrating ChatGPT with established answering service system platforms can unlock a new level of efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll explore specific applications of ChatGPT within the answering service systems and discuss the benefits of this AI-driven collaboration.

AI-Assisted Call Routing

One of the key applications of ChatGPT within the answering service platforms is enhancing the call routing process. By leveraging AI, the platforms can analyze incoming calls based on the customer’s query, language, and tone. This information enables the system to route calls more accurately to the most suitable agent, improving customer experience, and reducing wait times.

Automated Customer Support

ChatGPT’s natural language processing capabilities can be used to create intelligent virtual assistants that provide instant and accurate responses to customer queries. This integration with the platforms can handle routine inquiries and resolve simple issues, freeing up human agents to tackle more complex tasks. With this feature, businesses can reduce operational costs and enhance the overall customer experience.

Sentiment Analysis and Agent Evaluation

The integration of ChatGPT with answering service platforms can enable real-time sentiment analysis during customer interactions. The system can provide valuable insights to supervisors and agents by gauging the customer’s emotions and satisfaction level. This data-driven approach can help companies identify areas of improvement and develop targeted training programs for their staff.

Personalized Customer Experience

ChatGPT can help answering service systems offer a personalized customer experience by analyzing customer data and previous interactions. The AI-driven system can tailor responses, product recommendations, and promotional offers based on customer preferences and behavior. This level of personalization can lead to higher customer engagement and increased brand loyalty.

Streamlined Workflows and Enhanced Collaboration

Integrating ChatGPT with these platforms can streamline internal communication and workflows. The AI-driven system can assist in managing schedules, routing internal messages, and tracking agent performance. This seamless collaboration can improve overall efficiency, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks and allowing agents to focus on delivering exceptional customer service.


The collaboration between ChatGPT and established answering service platforms promises to revolutionize the industry by leveraging the power of AI. By embracing this innovative technology, businesses can enhance customer experiences, streamline workflows, and optimize call center management.

As AI continues to evolve, the possibilities for its application in the answering service sector are boundless, and early adopters will undoubtedly reap the rewards of this innovative integration.

Michael McMillan is an influential thought leader and keynote speaker specializing in customer experience (CX) and patient experience innovation. With a strong background in healthcare and technology, Michael serves as the Chief Revenue Officer of MedCall Plus (www.medcallplus.com), a leading telehealth solutions provider. His passion for delivering exceptional experiences led him to the TEDx stage, where he delivered a powerful speech highlighting the importance of empathy and human connection. Michael’s expertise at the intersection of technology, healthcare, and customer experience makes him a trailblazer in his field.

AI in Answering Services

A Shift Towards High Complexity Roles and Greater Profitability

By Michael C. McMillan

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to evolve and permeate various industries, the call center sector is experiencing a significant transformation. In the answering service domain, AI is expected to automate many tasks, leading to concerns about job loss.

This article, however, aims to emphasize the positive aspects of this technological revolution: the enhancement of job roles, increased profitability, and, ultimately, better compensation for employees.

AI-driven tools like chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated voice systems have made their mark in the call center industry. They can handle simple inquiries and complaints, freeing human agents to focus on more complex tasks.

This shift is predicted to create new job opportunities as employees transition into high-complexity roles that require critical thinking, problem-solving, and empathy.

Some of the new roles that may emerge because of AI integration in answering services include:

  • AI Trainer: AI systems must be fed substantial amounts of data and fine-tuned to interact with customers effectively. AI Trainers will ensure these systems function optimally, providing feedback and corrections to improve performance.
  • AI Integration Specialist: As AI technology advances, it becomes crucial for businesses to seamlessly integrate AI solutions into their existing systems. AI Integration Specialists will oversee implementing and maintaining AI-driven tools, ensuring a smooth transition for employees and customers.
  • Customer Experience Strategist: Customer satisfaction remains the top priority for any answering service. As AI takes over routine tasks, human agents will focus on enhancing customer interactions and providing personalized solutions. Customer Experience Strategists will develop strategies to improve the overall customer experience and ensure satisfaction.
  • Data Analyst: AI-driven systems generate vast amounts of data. Data Analysts will be responsible for analyzing and interpreting this data to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the answering service, identify trends, and drive business growth.

These high-complexity roles will offer a more challenging and fulfilling work environment and lead to higher compensation. As AI automates mundane tasks, businesses can focus on providing exceptional service and personalized solutions, leading to increased customer loyalty and repeat business. This, in turn, results in higher profitability, allowing companies to invest in employee development and pay them more for their expertise.

In conclusion, the AI revolution in the answering service industry presents an opportunity for businesses to enhance their service offerings and profitability. By automating routine tasks, human agents can concentrate on high-complexity roles that require advanced skills and contribute to a better customer experience.

As a result, companies can expect higher profits and better compensation for their employees. Embracing AI in the call center sector will lead to a more sustainable and prosperous future for businesses and their employees.

Michael McMillan is an influential thought leader and keynote speaker specializing in customer experience (CX) and patient experience innovation. With a strong background in healthcare and technology, Michael serves as the Chief Revenue Officer of MedCall Plus (www.medcallplus.com), a leading telehealth solutions provider. His passion for delivering exceptional experiences led him to the TEDx stage, where he delivered a powerful speech highlighting the importance of empathy and human connection. Michael’s expertise at the intersection of technology, healthcare, and customer experience makes him a trailblazer in his field.

How Conversational AI Can Power Up Your Contact Center

SingleComm: cloud-native omnichannel TAS solutions

Presented by The SingleComm Team

“Like any other tool, AI should be viewed as something that can improve the performance of the humans on your team rather than something that replaces them altogether,” says Michael Puccinelli, CEO and founder of SingleComm.

As a business leader, you know how important it is for your customer service team to have the right tools in place. 

If you’re looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs in your contact center—and we all know that you are—implementing features that leverage conversational AI (artificial intelligence) can be a tremendous help.

What is Conversational AI?

Conversational AI is the use of artificial intelligence to simulate natural conversations between two or more parties. It is used in a variety of applications, from customer service chatbots to voice assistants. With conversational AI, computers can understand natural language and respond in meaningful ways, allowing humans to have conversations with machines that mimic human interactions. By using machine learning algorithms, conversational AI systems can comprehend and respond to questions more accurately than ever before, making them invaluable tools for businesses and individuals alike.

The Basics of Conversational AI and its Benefits

Conversational AI leverages natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to enable businesses to automate routine tasks and engage with their customers, such as to answer questions, collect information, and schedule appointments.

From customer service chatbots to virtual assistants, conversational AI is revolutionizing how businesses interact with their customers. Benefits of this technology include increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, improved efficiency, and reduced operational costs. By understanding the basics of conversational AI, businesses can achieve a competitive edge and stay ahead of the game in today’s digital marketplace.

IVR Helps Save Time and Money

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a prime example of an AI-powered technology contact centers can deploy today to streamline operations and reduce costs. With its advanced automation capabilities, the IVR platform can handle a wide range of customer queries and transactions without human intervention. This means that your team can focus on higher-value tasks while the IVR handles routine requests.

IVR technology can be customized to meet the specific needs of any business. With the IVR, customers answer pre-qualifying questions and are directed to the right department or representative. The IVR can even consider a customer’s location and current events, such as recent weather disruptions, to provide relevant and timely information. This feature saves customers time and ensures they receive the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Another benefit of using an IVR system is call routing based on scoring. When a customer calls in, they go through a series of questions that determine which agent is best suited to handle their call. In contact centers that prioritize sales, better lead scoring equates to more deals. In centers that help customers get their questions answered, better lead scoring means higher first-contact resolution rates.

One of the greatest benefits of using an AI-powered IVR system is the relief it provides to customers. Not only are they able to get the assistance they need faster and more efficiently, but they can do so at any time of the day or night. IVR systems are available 24/7, so customers can get help outside regular business hours. This is especially useful for companies that have customers all over the world, as they can receive assistance no matter what time zone they’re in.

Automating Chatbots Powered by Conversational AI

Chatbots powered by conversational AI can help contact centers streamline operations and provide faster, more efficient customer service.

With the ability to automate repetitive tasks like answering common customer inquiries and scheduling appointments, chatbots not only allow companies to save time and resources but also enhance the customer experience by providing instant support around the clock. 

Notably, businesses can deploy chatbots without the need to write any code. 

Conversational AI/Contact Center Workflow Integration Productivity Gains

By leveraging advanced natural language processing technology, contact centers can enhance the customer experience by providing more personalized, efficient service. Not only does this lead to greater customer satisfaction, but it also allows agents to handle more requests in less time, resulting in improved productivity levels. 

With the ability to handle a variety of tasks, such as scheduling appointments, answering frequently asked questions, and processing payments, conversational AI is proving to be a valuable tool in boosting productivity and improving overall customer service.

SingleComm: TAS solutions

Whether you are a business just starting out or have been around for decades, SingleComm’s IVR, chatbots, and additional AI features can help your contact center handle queries faster, free up your agent’s time, and raise customer satisfaction. Click here to set up a time to talk about your business and how we can help you achieve your customer service goals and save you time and money.

How Remote Video Calls Can Transform the Customer Experience

By Rama Sreenivasan

We all know how important customer experience is to call and contact centers. After all, 76 percent of customers say they would stop doing business with a company after a single bad experience. Among the top candidates for bad experiences? Phone calls.

It’s no secret that phone communication can be tough. In many industries, customer service requires that we communicate complex information without the benefit of physically seeing anything. We can’t see the customer, and we can’t see the problem.

At the end of the day, this can lead to miscommunication, increased hold times, and unnecessary escalations that even the best training programs, scripting services, and other workforce management tools can’t solve on their own.

There’s a solution: remote video technology. Let’s take a look at how this technology helps call centers become more agile and responsive to customer needs—and transform the customer experience in the process.

What Is Remote Video Technology?

Imagine that a customer calls in with a dishwasher problem. They’re having a tough time describing the problem, and the call center associate can’t quite identify the issue. It’s no one’s fault. There’s simply a communication barrier.

The associate texts a link, the customer clicks it, and both are looking through the phone’s camera together. The customer joined a video call in seconds as they didn’t have to download, register and login to an app like Teams, Zoom, or Webex from the app store.

The associate immediately sees it’s a broken spray arm mount, circling the problem area right on the screen. They offer to ship a new part, the customer agrees, and the call ends, all within a few minutes. The customer is happily surprised by the efficiency, and the associate is already answering the next call.

That is the power of remote video support.

Remote video technology gives associates “eyes in the room,” but it’s more than just a video call. This is an important distinction: remote video technology for call centers includes additional tools to improve customer experience. This includes:

  • Augmented Reality: Associates can use on-screen tools to annotate and “point” directly on the customer’s device, showing what they may not be able to communicate verbally.
  • Optical Character Capture: This feature captures those inevitable long strings of numbers—such as a serial number, a model number, or a part number—and delivers them to associates, saving time and reducing the risk of error.
  • One-on-one and Group Calls: Associates can quickly add team members or supervisors to calls, all without disrupting the interaction with the customer. This helps with both support and training.
  • Resolution Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Catalog associate actions, video, and images from sessions for future reference. AI can then prompt associates with resources from prior calls that successfully resolved similar issues.

The Benefits of Remote Video Technology

The most obvious benefit of remote video technology is that it makes troubleshooting faster and easier, which improves the customer experience.

Customers equate long complicated phone calls with poor customer service. Remember the Consumer Reports study that found that nearly 60 percent of respondents had hung up in frustration while talking to a customer service representative without a resolution.

Let’s look at some of the top complaints from that report and see how remote video technology could have mitigated the situation and tallied up those resolutions.

Rudeness and Condescension to Empathy: Seventy-five percent of respondents cited rudeness or condescension as a top complaint. Visual support humanizes customer interactions—for the customer and the associate. It’s called visual empathy, the human connection that forms with face-to-face interactions.

Both sides can see facial expressions and body language, reducing the risk of miscommunication and misread tone. Barriers break down, bonds strengthen, and customers feel cared for. What might be read as rudeness or condescension now becomes empathy, something more than 50 percent of customers want out of their customer care calls.

Transfers without Resolution to Seamless Support: No customer wants to be passed from associate to associate with no resolution. Being transferred to someone who can’t or doesn’t help was a top complaint for 70 percent of respondents.

Sometimes transfers happen because associates are having trouble diagnosing the problem, often due to miscommunication. Video assistance empowers associates to diagnose problems quickly with their own eyes. But when support is needed, a team member or supervisor can join the video call. Therefore, instead of sending customers down a different path, help comes to them, reducing friction. This can be done silently, so troubleshooting with the customer is not disrupted.

Useless Remedies to First Call Resolution: When customers call into a contact center, it’s usually a last resort. They’ve already tried to solve the problem on their own or it’s an issue that needs immediate attention. The last thing they want is to hang up with an ineffective solution, but 65 percent of respondents cited this as a complaint.

Remote video technology creates an environment where both associates and customers can resolve issues on the first try. This is called first call resolution (FCR), and it’s often a better barometer for stellar customer service than other key performance indicators (KPIs), such as average handle times (AHT).

Even when the call takes a little bit longer, FCR prevents follow up calls or support visits and the customer hangs up with their problem solved.

Finding a Remote Video Technology Partner

Not all remote video technology is the same. The best remote video technology for call and contact centers integrates seamlessly into the center’s current workflow software and requires no app downloads or installs, extra equipment, or extra steps on the part of the customer.

The technology should also be flexible. Does it have on-screen tools? Can it automatically adjust call bandwidth? Does it work on Wi-Fi?

Remember, the goal is to provide empathetic and seamless resolution for customers. Likewise, the last thing your associates need is another unnecessary technological step, because faulty tech is a top stressor among call center associates.

Rama Sreenivasan is co-founder and CEO of Blitzz, a live, remote video support and inspection platform. Sreenivasan has led the company through its initial inception, launch, and subsequent growth to several million video support minutes per month.

Artificial Intelligence in the Call Center

3 Responses to Using AI to Serve Customers

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Predictions about the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) have been with us for decades. But until recently they only showed up in science fiction books and movies—usually with dire results. Such is the basis for good fiction.

Yet in recent months, advances in artificial intelligence have surged forward, reaching into every industry, including the call center and customer service sphere. With AI, just as with any technological advancement, there are three responses.

Ignore It and Maybe It Will Go Away

The first reaction, which is really a nonreaction, is to dismiss it. Maybe you’re already sick of the hype or maybe you’re not aware of it. Yet assuming a computer algorithm has no place in your call center is not a wise conclusion to make.

The risk of this approach is getting left behind. You will find—likely in short order—your call center operation and your company competing with others who have thoughtfully integrated artificial intelligence into their operation.

They will serve customers in a way you cannot and save money you’re not able to.

Gung Ho Adoption

The second response is the opposite. It’s to go full speed ahead in adopting artificial intelligence technology for the call center. Yet this is also fraught with peril.

The news is filled with artificial intelligence going awry. In recent months, companies have been publicly embarrassed and their stock has taken a hit, not because of human error (at least not directly) but because of computer error. These occurred from AI applications running unchecked and without restraint.

If you’ve ever used text chat to submit a customer service request, you’ve likely interacted with a chat bot, which is an artificial intelligence application. In my experience they’re unlikely to solve my problem, but usually they collect some preliminary information and route me to a real person who can help.

Yet just recently, a chat bot took me down the wrong path, leaving me with two unacceptable options: agree that the chatbot had solved my problem or pay to upgrade my service. End of discussion. But it wouldn’t allow me to start a new chat session until I concluded the first one by picking either of its two unsatisfactory answers.

I also think artificial intelligence was involved in a recent near-miss with an email support effort. I had submitted a service ticket, but a couple hours later I figured out the solution on my own. I sent a follow up email to cancel the ticket. The response told me how to cancel my service with the company. This may have been a human error by an agent who scanned and didn’t read my email, but I suspect it was artificial intelligence which responded wrongly to the word cancel. Fortunately, the AI bot didn’t take the initiative to close my account.

Imagine seeing these examples extended to telephone calls at your call center. Yet it’s already happening.

I recently read a report of artificial intelligence telling human agents how the solve customer problems and what to say. The AI then grades the agent on compliance, penalizing agents who use common sense to override the AI’s bad guidance.

Then the common excuse of “I was just following orders,” becomes “I was just doing what the computer told me to.” May it never be.

Cautious Implementation

The third response—the one I recommend—is a balanced perspective. Investigate the use of artificial intelligence in your call center operation. Make an informed decision as to how to best use it. The wise application is to implement artificial intelligence to better serve customers. Don’t pursue AI merely to save money, even though this should emerge as an expected outcome.

Seek ways where artificial intelligence can make your agents’ jobs easier. Look for ways where AI can help your human staff better serve your human customers. A guiding principle in this is to keep AI in an advisory capacity. Give your agents final say. They should be able to control the AI, not have the AI control them.

As you appropriately implement artificial intelligence in your call center, the goal should be to offer better customer service, improve response times, and lower payroll costs. But don’t look for AI to replace your staff anytime soon. And my advice is to resist the urge to blindly implement AI, lest you end up with a public relations nightmare, lost business, and a decrease in new customer acquisitions, all through AI run amok.

A good baseline requirement to guide your use of artificial intelligence in the call center is to empower your agents to control it, not let AI replace the common sense and empathetic problem-solving ability of real people.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Learn about his books and read more of his articles at  Peter Lyle DeHaan.

The Power of the Bot

Increasing Customer Satisfaction with a Human-AI Team

By the SingleComm team

Today’s customers have little patience for long waits, multiple handoffs, and unresolved issues. It only takes one unpleasant experience to send them headed for the hills–or another brand.

Adequate staffing has long been the go-to method for handling call volumes. But the days of readily available employees are gone as contact centers struggle to attract and retain talent.

The solution is a future-forward strategy that maximizes their teams’ capabilities, also known as AI (artificial intelligence).

According to Gartner’s 2021 Technology Roadmap Survey, more than 65 precent of customer service and support leaders are optimistic about the value that AI can provide, and they plan to increase their adoption of AI capabilities over the next two years.

Furthermore, new research conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that improved customer experience is now the most frequently cited driver of AI implementation decisions, above cost reduction and the ability to drive top-line revenue.

Advanced technology solutions are not new to the contact center industry: call-routing and interactive voice response (IVR) systems have been in use for decades. But today’s AI-powered options are taking the customer experience to new heights.

Myth versus Reality

When people hear the term artificial intelligence, scenes from the movie The Terminator often come to mind. But AI reality is quite different from AI myth. According to Seth Earley, author, founder, and CEO of Earley Information Science, here are five common myths about artificial intelligence followed by AI truths:

  • Myth 1: AI algorithms can magically make sense of all your messy data.
    Reality: AI is not “load and go,” and the quality of the data is more important than the algorithm.
    Translation: Regardless of any AI interaction, good data in means good data out.
  • Myth 2: You need data scientists, machine learning experts and huge budgets to use AI for the business.
    Reality: Many tools are increasingly available to business users and don’t require huge investments.
    Translation: There are AI solutions available to fit any business and any budget.
  • Myth 3: Cognitive AI technologies can understand and solve problems the way the human brain can.
    Reality: Cognitive technologies can’t solve problems they weren’t designed to solve. 
    Translation: AI technology performs according to design. 
  • Myth 4: Machine learning using neural nets means that computers can learn the way humans learn.
    Reality: Neural nets are powerful, but they are a long way from achieving the complexity of the human brain or mimicking human capabilities.
    Translation: You don’t have to worry about computers taking over your contact center.
  • Myth 5: AI will displace humans and make contact center jobs obsolete.
    Reality: AI is no different from other technological advances in that it helps humans become more effective and processes become more efficient.
    Translation: AI will not change the need for skilled and talented call center representatives. In fact, AI will enhance their superpowers while improving the performance of the contact center and increasing customer satisfaction.

Taking Your Contact Center to the Next Level

There are many ways that AI can strengthen your team’s performance and improve your processes.

  • Personalization: Tailoring the experience based on information that the platform has learned about the caller or user.
  • AI-Based Customer Routing: The ability to match customers with the best resource or agent.
  • Chatbots and Conversational Assistants: Interacting with customers, either by text or voice, taking care of simple and/or repetitive issues, and freeing up contact center representatives to focus on more complex assistance needs.
  • Workforce Management: Data analysis capabilities that help predict when agents and resources are needed.
  • Post Call Wrap-Up: AI assists representatives in entering call-action summaries and wrap-up codes.

By using AI systems and solutions, you are not taking anything away from your human team members. Instead, you are empowering them to raise the bar to meet and exceed customer expectations by streamlining processes and tasks, which allows them to spend more time on supplying the best service possible. Talk about a win-win.

Interested in learning what a human-AI team might look like in your organization? We have the information and solutions you need. Contact us today to schedule a demo.

Using Knowledge Management to Simplify Complex Customer Queries

By Trey Norman

More complex customer queries call for knowledge management to simplify tasks. Simplifying the steps taken for answer retrieval is beneficial not only for companies and their employees but also for customers.

In addition to reducing time and cost, more benefits arise. With knowledge management technology, call center agents have it easier with access to all company data right at their fingertips every time a customer picks up the phone. The request often requires more details than someone confirming their account number or product delivery date, and complex queries send agents on an endless hunt for information.

Knowledge management turns complex queries into a simple and productive phone call between brand and customer.

Call center agents can look up relevant data in no time to help customers get the information they want. This diminishes the need to transfer them because the first person on the phone has a 360-degree view of company knowledge, allowing them to quickly find the data and keep the lines open for the next caller.

The Value of Search and a 360-Degree View

Considering a company and its data, so much comes to mind with the breadth of technology and applications used today. From emails, sales documentation, contracts, support tickets, chats on internal collaboration platforms, and marketing analytics, there is way too large of a scope for customer service agents to find what they need and keep a customer happy in a timely manner. Eventually, they may resolve the issue, but at what cost?

High-level knowledge management with the help of artificial intelligence can slash through data silos and connect prominent information from all relevant sources. All a company needs to do is make it accessible to employees on the front lines.

While search is a significant function of these systems, proactive input and graphical displays can also be essential within call centers. From a search standpoint, representatives can search for keywords related to the specific customer or the issue needing resolution. Generated are search results, like on Google or Bing, of resources and content about the topic—precisely filtered the way the agent needs it. Query results could lead to a support ticket of a past customer who called with the same problem, or it may lead to a helpful whitepaper that discusses the topic in question.

But there is more to solutions than just searching and finding. We all know this is not always how it goes, as many of us have been on page ten of google results before. Machine learning techniques like Natural Language Processing (NLP), understand written and spoken language. That said, queries will lead to the exact sentence of a whitepaper or support document because intelligent systems understand what the employee needs just as a human would.

Not All Answers Have a Single Source

Search and search only may not be what the company and customer need. With complex queries, it may be unlikely the full answer lies in a single document. Connecting data sources allows graphical overviews to be created from all relevant sources. On one display, past customer tickets can appear to agents while specific data about the customer is highlighted on another, right next to each other in one central location.

Customer service agents don’t need one source opened on their primary monitor, another open on a second monitor, and a third source hiding behind another window. They can relay information back to the customer on the other end from one place that shows every source.

Auto-Generated Responses: Answering Questions for Agents

The last part is where technology really amazes. Another popular machine learning technique used in knowledge management is NLQA, Natural Language Question Answering. Not only does NLQA understand human language the way NLP does, but it can auto-generate answers based on sources of information within the company. Many companies have turned to chatbots to reap the benefits of Natural Language Question Answering and automated assistance.

But why should a chatbot get all the cool and innovative tools when people are still picking up the phones and relying on humans to support them? Taking advantage of this could lead to support agents receiving answers in real-time based on the spoken words of the caller or typing in the query. This practice saves many hours and dollars while making a difficult job more manageable.

Taking a hard look at company data sources and what is relevant to customer service and call center agents is especially important for businesses to move forward. Quick and efficient support is key in retaining business and maintaining happy, paying customers. With these tools and innovative knowledge management, many dollars and stressful phone calls can be saved.

Trey Norman is the COO at Mindbreeze.

Knowledge Management: What you Need to Know

By Donna Fluss

The knowledge management (KM) market is experiencing the most rapid adoption cycle in its history. Driven by customer expectations for a great experience, increased demand for self-service, the need to empower employees throughout the enterprise, and the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), KM solutions are being purchased to meet a wide range of requirements.

The significantly increased demand is driving a large research and development (R&D) investment cycle, which is invigorating and greatly enhancing all aspects of these solutions, enabling vendors to convert them from searchable information repositories to highly contextual sources of intelligent content.

The KM vendors are applying AI to enhance many aspects of their solutions, including the creation, curation, and oversight of content. The “garbage in/garbage out” issue has long been one of the largest impediments to acceptance and adoption of KM solutions. Authoring and maintaining pertinent and up-to-date content will always be a critical element of these applications, and the vendors have started to introduce tools and best practices to help companies manage this essential aspect of the system (and process).

Artificial intelligence is being used to locate and prioritize the most relevant knowledge utilized by organizations, as well as to help administrators keep it current by identifying outdated, redundant, and missing information. Artificial intelligence and other enhanced features also enable companies to create one answer and automatically render it in a manner appropriate for each user and channel.

This is just the beginning of many practical and game-changing innovations that the KM vendors are delivering to the market, along with improved system usability, integrations, and much more coming during the next couple of years.

Process is as Important as the KM Solution

While technology makes a difference for any solution, including KM, how it is perceived and used are equally important. Contact centers and other enterprise departments that want to realize benefits from KM need to build a culture that prioritizes agents’ use of knowledge over productivity.

For years, contact center leaders asked their agents to use KM to standardize inquiry handling and then complained that it took them too long. The new generation of context-sensitive and highly responsive KM solutions can more rapidly serve up the information agents need to resolve customer issues, eliminating one of the biggest impediments to adoption.

However, it will still take training and encouragement to get agents on board and contact center leaders need to support these efforts by making KM usage one of the department’s core tenets for success.

Selecting the Right KM for your Contact Center

Prospects need to carefully assess the KM offerings in the market, as each one is in a different stage of its development, despite vendor claims. Adding complexity to the challenge, vendors in many IT sectors, including customer relationship management (CRM), contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS), and even workforce management (WFM), are claiming to offer their own KM solutions.

In many cases, these are knowledge repositories designed to provide information, best practices, and tips to support the use of their own core solution and are not full-fledged KM offerings. (This doesn’t make them bad, but it limits their overall scope and contributions.)

Given the tremendous amount of innovation introduced into these solutions, it’s time to find a vendor whose product and plans align with the needs of your organization. And be sure to select one that listens and has a proven record of accomplishment of applying customer feedback to its roadmap.

Final Thoughts

The current generation of KM solutions are excellent and have proven benefits. The next generation of KM solutions that are expected to be delivered during the next two years will be even better, as significant improvements to the underlying technology should enable vendors to deliver on the benefits they have been promising for decades.

For an in-depth analysis of the knowledge management (KM) market and the solutions that are vital in supporting the needs of today’s digitally transformed and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled enterprises, please see DMGs 2022 – 2023 Knowledge Management for the Enterprisereport.

Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC, provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes and technology that drive the strategic direction of the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. Donna can be reached at donna.fluss@dmgconsult.com.

Six Ways Attended Automation Can Transform Your Call Center

By Jeff Fettes

Contact centers are more hectic and overworked than ever. While agents deal with a huge volume of calls, they also deal with expectations of superior customer service. Although businesses have tried to reduce call volume with features like texting and more robust web interfaces, the reality is many requests still need personal attention. Those workers, however, often struggle to resolve calls quickly enough to keep a good pace while still making customers happy.

The answer to this problem isn’t more hiring. Rather, it’s harnessing the best elements of humans and artificial intelligence to create a seamless call center experience. Think of it as a hybrid that merges the best elements of people and technology. Attended automation uses AI and machine learning to guide and support human agents by answering questions, handling repetitive tasks, and preventing errors. The automation is attended by the agent; it does not replace the human.

How Attended Automation Makes an Impact

Most companies offer customers several self-service options, so when a customer calls, it’s likely a critical issue. Agents are left to deal with the complex matters a bot alone can’t handle. Chatbots can perform only limited tasks, while other options like texting often result in handing off customers to live agents to complete the case.

Attended automation, on the other hand, works alongside an agent from the beginning of the call or contact. Here are six ways attended automation can quickly transform a call center.

1. Attended Automation Crunches Data

Attended automation software sits on an agent’s desktop and can access the same programs and information. Unlike humans, it can browse, crunch, and compile this data at breathtaking speed. This added assistance enables an agent to deliver the care and concern that’s at the heart of customer service—without the hassle of switching between tabs, screens, or programs.

Essentially, attended automation allows agents to work smarter, not harder.

2. Attended Automation Handles the Grunt Work

Everyone has experienced a call where an agent struggles to find account details, financial history, or order status. It’s incredibly frustrating for both customer and agent, especially if a customer has already waited on hold before getting to the agent.

Attended automation can be the JARVIS to an agent’s Iron Man, uncovering necessary information and suggesting the right action, all while taking care of repetitive or low-value tasks in the background.

3. Attended Automation Helps Agents Act with Empathy

An agent who is trying to root out the right information will not be able to be present and helpful. And customers who wait on hold to connect to an agent often have complex issues or might be upset or frustrated. The last thing an agent needs when helping an upset customer is to navigate multiple programs and complex policies while the customer’s impatience grows.

With attended automation, agents have exactly what they need when they need it and can focus on making sure a customer is happy and resolving the issue in a way that benefits everyone.

4. Attended Automation Supports More Flexible Workforce Management

Traditionally, managers must account for weeks—sometimes months—of training time before new employees are ready for the floor. But technology like attended automation helps decrease the time needed to train agents to full proficiency and supports veteran agents in providing even better service.

It guides agents through workflows that once required lengthy training, like a GPS for customer care. And beyond faster speed-to-production, attended AI technology has a related benefit: a larger selection of qualified candidates. Recruiters can put less focus on hiring for technical expertise and agility. With a built-in coach on their computer, agents can focus on connecting with the customer—the job they were hired to do—rather than remembering systems and workflows.

5. Attended Automation Does More Than Expected

Companies expect an attended automation program to handle certain low-level tasks like retrieving customer data, auto-populating forms, and logging call details. However, it can do much more, including preventing unintentional overpayments and intentional ones (fraud); highlighting personalized insights; and drafting professional, on-brand emails.

New features and capabilities are frequently added to most automation software.

6. Attended Automation Can Overhaul Call Center Metrics

Call center agents aren’t just under pressure from upset customers. They are also under pressure from their supervisors to resolve calls quickly and handle a certain number of calls per hour or day. Attended automation can significantly reduce AHT (average handling time) and rap-up time, increase productivity and accuracy, and improve CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores.

Agents contribute to the bottom line but are also able to do their jobs well with less stress and pressure.


With attended automation as an agent-assist tool, the agent can focus on interacting with the customer and providing outstanding service versus fumbling around for the right information or keeping a customer on hold. The agent—and by extension, the brand—gets credit for an amazing customer experience with a little support from some advanced technology.

Attended automation in the contact center has the potential to deliver happier agents, happier customers, and ultimately, a happier bottom line.

Serial entrepreneur Jeff Fettes is the founder and CEO of Laivly, a leading AI-powered attended automation platform designed specifically for the contact center environment. Laivly helps some of the world’s best-known brands transform their call center operations with next-generation automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning so they can excel, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction and experience.