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Predicting the Emmys is hard; predicting customer engagement shouldn’t be

The Emmy Awards bring out everyone’s abilities to predict the future. But prediction doesn’t need to be reserved just for TV. Organizations around the world are turning to AI and prediction to improve how they deliver customer service. Implementing a predictive service for customer service channels like the IVR and digital improves the customer experience and an organization’s bottom line.
The Emmys remind us that predicting outcomes play into customer engagement

The Emmys are upon us again! The past few weeks have been a boon for those in the prediction business. Every entertainment show and website takes a stab at who will take home OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES (!). It’s not like the old days when a bet on Bryan Cranston or “Breaking Bad” was as close to a lock as there could be.

Some will accurately predict winners and then confidently shout “I told you so…” on air the next night. For those that get it wrong, there are no consequences as it’s likely nobody will remember their predictions.


But what if getting a prediction right could mean real financial gain? It’s possible.

Using the power of prediction isn’t just reserved for TV pundits. In fact, prediction, built with artificial intelligence, will be used more and more in customer service in the years ahead. Imagine being able to predict with 80% accuracy why someone calls your company for help? Or what if you could determine with 90% confidence why a customer moves from your website to your social media page and then calls in to your IVR?


Delighting your customers

Emerging AI technology combined with existing customer service best practices make this possible today. Highly accurate prediction opens a world of benefits for customer service:

  1. Reduce call waiting time or menu confusion – If your IVR greets a caller by predicting why they are calling – “Are you calling to re-order your prescription?” – that short-circuits the typical IVR menu mazes that frustrate many callers. Instead your customers speed through calls in less time and leave delighted.
  2. Speed up issue resolution – The ability to see where a customer searches on your website and then to identify their phone number in your IVR allows you to predict with extremely high accuracy that they are likely calling about the information they just read. Put this to use and you can resolve the issue faster on that call, either with automation in the IVR or by ensuring the live agent knows where the customer visited.
  3. Create a personal touch – Achieving pure operational metrics like automation rates and average call handle time are wonderful, but in the end satisfied customers keep the business running. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have customers receive such a personal touch that they finish their engagement smiling? Prediction that knows who they are and correctly guesses why they are calling will help them know you appreciate them and their time.

And these are only the benefits oriented around the customer. Let’s not forget how organizations will see improvement from fewer calls to live agents, improved customer satisfaction scores, and the ability to build a continuous learning machine that will get smarter – and better – over time.

And the good thing about prediction is it’s a low risk addition to the customer service experience. Getting a prediction wrong doesn’t hurt the customer’s journey; instead, each response – right or wrong – further refines the system for more successful future engagements. How about that? Trying a prediction and getting it wrong with no consequence? You’ll be an Emmy prognosticator in no time!


How… and where to start?

You don’t need fancy machinery or Melisandre the Red Priestess from annual Emmy favorite Game of Thrones to start using prediction. (I know GOT isn’t nominated this year but I needed an analogy so please go with me).

Basic prediction can be started in the IVR with a few pieces of customer information, including their phone number. If you can connect your IVR to your CRM system, then there is much you can do today to use simple prediction techniques to streamline the experience.

More advanced use of AI combined with data from multiple channels allows for increased accuracy rates and the ability to predict what your customers may do next or why they are engaging your organization.

It all starts with a conversation with your IT or customer service vendors to ask how to add prediction to your customer service plans. Getting prediction up and running will pay off in customer service improvements and improved automation rates. It’s as close to a 100% accurate prediction as HBO winning an Emmy each year!

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Chris Caile

About Chris Caile

Chris Caile joined Nuance in September 2015 as senior solutions marketing manager for Nuance Conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Before joining Nuance, Caile worked in various marketing and sales support positions at Microsoft and Motorola and has over 20 years of experience in the high tech industry. Caile holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University with minors in mathematics and economics.