Verizon boosts customer experience with AI-based tools for businesses

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Verizon's new AI-based platform helps business improve their customer service. (Verizon)

On Monday, Verizon announced a new addition to its managed services portfolio that uses AI to improve the customer experience for its business customers.

Verizon took a two-pronged approach to creating the managed service by combining artificial intelligence (AI) with a human touch.

The telco's "Digital Customer Experience" (Digital CX) offering is an end-to-end management service that integrates automation into organizations' existing customer experience tools. With Digital Customer Experience, consumers who contact businesses via social media, chat, email, text message or over the phone will receive personalized support and experiences based on past their past interactions that are delivered through a mobile interface.

Digital CX blends the artificial intelligence information with human interaction to help business customers solve problems with their end users. With the information gathered from all of the various platforms, customer service representatives are able to offer support 24/7 based on the insights that have been gathered.

"Every year, the experiences people have with business are becoming more personalized and tailored. Consumers increasingly want digital and intuitive self-serve support options on the channels that they prefer to use, and they challenge businesses to deliver,” said Verizon's Alla Reznik, director of customer experience, global products and services, in a prepared statement. “Digital CX will give businesses one comprehensive solution to address this need today while also helping to prepare them to grow and evolve with their customer demands over time.”

Digital CX is comprised of four core components. The Virtual Agent uses AI to integrate intelligence that can solve customer challenges on the spot. The chatbot is able to escalate problems to human support agents when needed without losing situational context.

The Live Agent component can be used as a stand-alone offering to enable communications via text, voice and video, or through standard connectors to other contact center agent desktop applications such as such as Virtual Contact Center or Unified Customer Experience.  Live Agent enables direct connections to support agents while also providing those customer service reps with pertinent details such as website browsing status and interaction histories.

Digital CX's Knowledge Assist blends authoring tools with machine learning to provide the most relevant answers and the best course of action for the agents. By combining internal and external data sources with consumer history, Knowledge Asset helps provide personalized responses to agent inquires.

The Social Engagement tool helps businesses stay on top of social media trends and insights by offering monitoring analysis and engagement tools across one platform. With Social Engagement, businesses can generate their own social media advertising campaigns from a unified dashboard, engage with influencers, and manage crises.

In an email to FierceTelecom, Reznik said Verizon had been working on Digital CX for the past eight months.

"With our experience in delivering solutions for contact centers and increasingly the larger scope of customer experience spanning marketing, sales and support we started to see interest in 2017 and embarked on development effort in late 1Q18 delivering the product set in the 4Q18," Reznik said. "The AI tools behind the chabot, social media and knowledge base can be used interchangeably depending on best fit for specific use case. Our solution encompasses professional services at the set up and on-going support and curation of the tools. We selected Astute Solutions to assist Verizon with deep expertise in this regard."

The use of AI and chatbots are becoming more prevalent across retail websites as a means to both solve problems and engage with potential customers.

The promise of integrating AI into customer service applications is a growing field. According to an IDC report, within the next year 40% of the digital transformation projects will use AI services, as will 75% of enterprise applications by 2021.

Reznik said that Verizon was working on additional features for Digital CX.

"We plan to enhance the product with verticalized solutions, where the bot is pre-trained for faster implementation," she said. "We are also integrating the product with our existing Contact Center as a Service solutions such as Virtual Contact Center and Unified CX.  We also plan to bring the capability to new markets - Public sector, Global reach is under consideration as well.  The features and capabilities will be continuously enhanced as AI technologies continues to mature.

"We are also working to add Voice interface to the bot where it can be accessed through smart speakers or a phone call.

Related: Verizon tunes up AI internally for SDN and its business customers

Verizon is using AI both inside of its network and for business services and applications. In the network, Verizon is using AI to enable closed-loop automation and for predictive analysis of network outages. Verizon is also using AI within its managed SD-WAN and wireless LAN solutions.