With each new year comes a new set of resolutions. And while some are inevitably tossed away within days of being made – perhaps given their loftiness or unrealistic nature – those resolutions that are kept are generally used as a measure of how the year ultimately fared. The ones that are kept become accomplishments and cornerstones of the year. Hallmark moments.
Fortunately we had several hallmark moments in 2017 – the majority of them centered on innovations designed to further enhance the customer service experience.
2017 sealed the deal: We’re living in an AI-driven world
This year, in-home virtual assistants were top of mind for consumers worldwide. Being able to talk with an inanimate object in our home to get information about the latest weather, news and more, is nice and albeit entertaining when silly questions are involved (admit it, we’ve all asked them). But we took it a step further by not only ratcheting up this in-home interaction to make these exchanges even more purposeful and truly helpful, we also applied our AI capabilities to other consumer-focused solutions. Understanding that consumer expectations are rising for seamless and effortless service amidst an evolving landscape of digital and mobile channels, we unveiled a series of AI innovations across our Digital Engagement Platform. These AI innovations are powering a new generation of customer engagement apps that enable enterprises to communicate with consumers anytime, anywhere, and through virtually any channel.
Nuance Nina for Amazon Alexa. We teamed up two virtual assistants – Nuance Nina and Amazon Alexa – to deliver enterprise customer engagement to the Internet-of-Things world. Enterprises with Nina-powered intelligent assistants can now engage with their consumers through all devices that support Amazon Alexa, including the Amazon Echo. Delivered as an Alexa Skill, any enterprise that implements Nina can leverage that investment to engage through Alexa-powered devices.
Nina Coach. With our Nina Coach solution, we are now enabling enterprises to train and deploy their virtual assistants faster through automated learning based on live engagements and hidden human coaches. When the virtual assistant doesn’t know an answer to a question, the conversation is seamlessly escalated to a live-chat agent within the same engagement window, and includes the transcript and history of the conversation. As a next step, the virtual assistant is trained from the live chat conversation, so it knows the answer on its own the next time. This learning loop between the virtual assistant and live agent creates a seamless user experience while making the natural language understanding (NLU) technology smarter and more accurate over time.
Customer Service Messaging spanning asynchronous messaging for SMS, In-App and social messaging. Asynchronous messaging allows organizations to simply and contextually engage with their customers – independent of traditional customer service channels – creating a more natural way for customers to communicate with the enterprise and receive the information they want. Further, enabling asynchronous messaging allows us to optimize the experience when inviting a customer from an offline channel or when moving them from a voice to a digital channel. Customers receive an immediate response, addressing their demand for instant, always-on service, but also giving them the flexibility to answer at any time, immediately or later, with the conversation kept in context.
IVR to Digital. As part of a series of cognitive and conversational AI innovations for customer care, we also unveiled IVR to Digital. An offering that further strengthens the OmniChannel Customer Engagement Platform, IVR to Digital enables callers to move seamlessly from traditional phone calls to digital channels, and engage with brands through enhanced self- and assisted service.
Keeping all customer engagement channels top of mind
In 2017, we additionally made great strides with our Biometrics, Analytics and Proactive Engagement Solutions portfolios, including:
Expanded, Multi-Modal Biometrics Security Portfolio. With consumer fraud continuing to be a major pain point for organizations worldwide, we took a major step toward reducing the risk of consumer fraud by announcing a new suite of biometric security solutions, driven by the latest in AI innovations. In addition to our award-winning voice biometrics technology, the new Nuance Security Suite includes new advancements in facial and behavioral biometrics that combine to provide advanced protection against fraud, across customer service channels.
Full-Lifecycle Customer Analytics Portfolio. We expanded the Nuance Analytics portfolio of advanced solutions to empower enterprise organizations to transform their customer engagement data into actionable insights. Nuance Analytics can identify insights across the customer journey, take action and optimize the customer experience. The result: enterprise organizations can increase operational efficiency, reduce customer churn, improve sales conversion, mitigate risk and maximize ROI.
Proactive Engagement Portfolio Latest Addition: Conversational Text. We continued to strengthen our popular Proactive Engagement solutions portfolio with the addition of Conversational Text. Leveraging our NLU technology, Conversational Text allows consumers to have a two-way text conversation with businesses, without involving a contact center agent – making it easier and more intuitive than ever for customers to take action across their channel of choice, including voice and text, through simply talking or typing a question or response to an automated system, and receiving a response just as if they were talking to a live agent.
Empowering organizations worldwide to better serve their customers
We’re not an organization focused on wiz-bang creations with no real purpose but to innovate for innovation’s sake. Rather, we’re quite the opposite. Behind each innovation is a specially laid-out plan that encompasses the customer service challenges it will address, and the types of organizations that will use it – which is why it’s been so rewarding to see our solutions being adopted by even more organizations this year – including Virginia Credit Union and ANZ for our voice biometrics, Dallas311 for our conversational IVR, Australian Taxation Office, and Domino’s in Australia, New Zealand and India for our Nina virtual assistant, and more.
The icing on the cake
The industry accolades we received this year were icing on the cake of a stellar year. The more than two dozen awards and recognitions we received in 2017 span nearly all facets of our business – from Nina winning gold from the Stevie Awards and being recognized as Best Intelligent Assistant Innovation at The AI Summit, to Nuance being named by Opus Research as the leader in Biometric Authentication in its Voice Biometrics Intelliview Report. These accolades underpin our team’s hard work and focus on creating purposeful solutions for our customers and end-users.
Looking back, we certainly accomplished a lot in 2017 – from innovations and customer wins to industry accolades. I look forward to what 2018 has in store.
Happy New Year!