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In the middle of a webinar yesterday on Artificial Intelligence (AI), I thought about spell check.

The webinar focused on the role that AI is playing in communications systems, and what the future holds. Our speakers -- consultant Brent Kelly of KelCor and Dan O’Connell, chief strategy officer of Dialpad -- focused most of their talks on AI in the contact center, and they offered an overview that I think was realistic: AI promises some quick wins on process tasks, with medium-term ability to improve the interactions between agents and customers, an accomplishment that would yield significant gains in the all-important customer experience battle in which enterprises are engaged.

But for now I want to stick to the boring part, which is the ability to shave time off contact center processes. Brent highlighted some of the contact center processes where AI could clearly cut time out of the agent’s workload, only some of which involve the actual customer interaction. These include tasks like post-call summaries -- imagine if this time away from customer interactions could be significantly reduced for every single contact by every single agent.

This is the way to get contact centers and enterprises excited about AI in the short term: Improve on the metrics you already use, which is another way of saying, “Save money.”

And that’s when I thought about spell check, which is a not-particularly-new little piece of AI that’s become part of every application in which we write down words -- not just word processing but email, texting, slide presentations, you name it. How much efficiency has spell check added to your life when you’re producing documents that can’t have misspellings? Now imagine that, like a contact center agent, every second of time you were saving translated into actual dollars, instead of just “soft” productivity cost savings.

Both Brent and Dan agreed that the futuristic notion of people reaching a contact center and talking to robots, instead of other people, is farfetched and probably not even optimal in most cases. But when AI is able to feed the right data to an agent in real time, and potentially even help the agent understand what the customer wants -- that capability will improve the customer experiences that provide brand loyalty. Add to this the benefit that AI-assisted customer service can further improve revenue-impacting metrics, especially measurements like first-call resolution -- and it’s clear why AI is a hot topic.

It’s a topic that will be all over the Enterprise Connect program next week in Orlando. Brent is leading a session on AI for the contact center, and we have a track on AI and Speech Technologies. The latter is an important focus because, as Dan pointed out on our webinar, voice is still the primary communications channel with customers; he cited data from Salesforce indicating that just over two-thirds of interactions are handled via voice today, with the next-highest channel being email at just 13%.

So AI will help you do the boring things faster, and that could lead to some pretty exciting results for your enterprise. Myself, I’m excited to see it all on display in our Enterprise Connect conference sessions and on the show floor. There’s still time for you to register—I hope to see you at the Gaylord Palms next week!

Eric Krapf
GM & Program Co-Chair Enterprise Connect & WorkSpace Connect
Publisher, No Jitter

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