When I was looking ahead to 2016 and forecasting the advances we’d see in the world of customer service, one theme that I expected was a radical shift in expectations and experiences. I was convinced we’d see companies moving from delivering “ordinary” customer service to offering “extraordinary” experiences. Specifically, I felt we’d see transformation in three areas:
- Customer authentication that delights rather than dismays – replacing PINS and passwords with voice biometrics
- More personalized, human interactions with automated systems – introducing natural language and dialog in self-service.
- Self-service will become even more intelligent – with artificial intelligence and agent-assisted learning driving new system capabilities.
At Nuance we work with leading global companies across all industries, which afforded me early insight on emerging trends. This was confirmed last Friday night in Las Vegas at the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service when we received awards for our work with seven different companies.
Manulife, Eastern Bank, ING Netherlands, and SK Telecom were all acknowledged for offering customers an effortless authentication experience through voice biometrics. CenterPoint Energy and American Airlines received awards for their intuitive, anticipatory Conversational IVR experiences and USAA took gold for leveraging artificial intelligence to create a proactive virtual assistant that helps Millennial customers save money. Nuance collaborated with each of these companies to deliver exceptional customer experience and win recognition.
The Stevie Awards recognize organizations that are changing the sales, customer service and contact center landscape. With more than 2,100 companies nominated this year, it’s an honor to be recognized. We are delighted to have won in seven categories for delivering innovative self-service solutions that provide effortless customer experiences in financial services, utilities, telecommunications, and travel.
Additional details on the seven Nuance wins can be found in the press release and are included below:
- Nuance’s Nina and USAA Savings Coach – Gold, Best Use of Technology in Customer Service. USAA collaborated with Nuance to introduce one of the first proactive virtual assistants for banking. The app leverages natural language understanding and artificial intelligence to provide a truly proactive and personalized experience with the goal of helping users to navigate the world of personal banking.
- Nuance’s Voice Biometrics & Conversational IVR and Manulife – Silver, Best Use of Technology in Customer Service. Manulife is the first company in Canada to introduce voice biometrics as well as natural language understanding in a single Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system offered in both English and French to provide a more natural and secure customer experience in the call centers.
- Nuance’s Voice Biometrics and Eastern Bank – Silver, Innovation in Customer Service (Financial Services). Eastern Bank was the first bank in North America to launch voice biometrics in the call center to help customers achieve desired end-results more efficiently. Customers engage in natural conversation with a customer service agent, and during that time, voice biometrics technology signals to the bank representative when the customer’s identity has been verified, and grants them access to their account.
- Nuance’s Conversational IVR and CenterPoint Energy – Silver, Innovation in Customer Service (Other Service Industries). CenterPoint implemented a Conversational IVR solution that understands customers’ wants and needs through advanced NLU technology, with their intent and reason for calling already predicted, making the path to resolution more efficient and streamlined.
- Nuance’s Voice Biometrics and ING Netherlands – Bronze, Innovation in Customer Service. ING Netherlands incorporated voice biometrics into its mobile banking app powered by Nuance’s Nina. This unique pairing of the virtual assistant and voice biometrics technology created a truly end-to-end mobile experience that allows customers to simply speak via a human-like conversational interface to control the mobile banking app.
- Nuance’s Voice Biometrics and SK Telecom – Bronze, Innovation in Customer Service (Telecommunications). SK Telecom deployed voice biometrics to allow customers to easily authenticate into their accounts simply using the sound of their voice, streamlining the call center process and providing customers with a quick and convenient experience.
- Nuance’s Conversational IVR and American Airlines – Bronze, Innovation in Customer Service (All Other Industries). American Airlines deployed a world class Conversational IVR system that has advanced functionality, including the capabilities to book a new trip, change an existing reservation, and change/upgrade seats, to meet consumers’ needs in an exceptional timeline.
Across multiple industries, the customer experience is changing from ordinary to extraordinary. More than ever before, self-service is on the rise. Consumers want to be able to help themselves through whatever channel (website, IVR, mobile App, text message) works best when and where they need to engage. With intelligent self-service solutions in place, businesses no longer need to prioritize investments designed to reduce operational costs over those that increase customer satisfaction. Automated interactions that are personalized and effortless satisfy consumer expectations for quality service and allow businesses to achieve cost savings.
Nuance’s intelligent self-service solutions include: Conversational IVR, virtual assistants, voice biometrics, and proactive engagement. We at Nuance are reinventing the relationship between people and technology and will usher in the day when nearly all customer service is automated and consumers prefer it.