8x8 adds to AI self-service capabilities with voice interactions for customer assistant

Open beta programme sees launch of service based on conversational artificial intelligence designed to allow contact centre customers to add voice self-service capabilities

Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be pervading every aspect of business and social life, and believing that a subset of this, conversational AI, can be a real and cost-effective choice to improve self-service and productivity in contact centres, integrated cloud contact centre and unified communications platform provider 8x8 has announced the availability of voice conversational AI in its core assistant platform.

The addition of voice to expand the 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant with user-friendly conversational AI self-service capabilities is designed to enable businesses to create simple to complex experiences across digital and voice channels.

8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant is an add-on to 8x8 Contact Centre, delivered through the 8x8 eXperience communications as a service (XCaaS) integrated cloud contact centre and unified communications platform, which includes cloud contact centrebusiness phonevideo meetingsteam chat and SMS capabilities. 8x8 XCaaS is described by the company as a resilient, secure and compliant platform, offering very high levels of reliability with a financially backed, platform-wide 99.999% uptime SLA across an integrated cloud UCaaS and CCaaS offering.

“Whether a contact centre has thousands of agents or less than 100, organisations are recognising that conversational AI is a real and cost-effective choice to improve self-service and productivity in contact centres to better support customers,” said Sheila McGee-Smith, founder and principal analyst at McGee-Smith Analytics. “Starting with digital self-service in March, 8x8 is now making its voice conversational AI capabilities available to its customers as a fully integrated part of its contact centre solution to provide full orchestration of customer journeys across voice and digital channels.”

Key features of voice self-service for 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant are based in five key groups: streamline workflows; complete customer context; build and deploy rapidly; rich conversation insights; and turnkey integration options.

From automated voice self-service experiences to live agent assistance, interaction workflows are said to be “seamless”, minimising the need for manual data collection. Voicebot interaction context is designed to eliminate blind transfers as messages are delivered to the agent upon connection, allowing them to deliver more personalised, frictionless experiences.

Using graphical scripting tools, a single bot can be built and deployed across any channel, such as voice, WhatsApp, SMS and web chat among others, while built-in analytics deliver insights and intuitive monitoring and reporting for advanced customer journey visibility. Marketplace and turnkey integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) services allow for customisation for a highly personalised customer experience in a voicebot interaction.

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“There is an incredible amount of opportunity around AI-enabled technologies and the ways in which those technologies allow organisations to engage with and support customers,” said Hunter Middleton, chief product officer at 8x8. “Since the launch of 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, the feedback we’ve received has been astounding.

“Our customers have been thrilled by the ability to easily reduce resolution times for simple inquiries, as well as being able to handle a significant portion of customer interactions without requiring an agent. Additionally, the delivery of fast and easy deployments is noteworthy in how quickly our customers are able to see the value. As voice remains an increasingly relevant and preferred channel of communications, we are continuing the momentum we’ve already seen with the introduction of a conversational AI voice self-service option.”

Among the customers examining the offering is Cape Air. Commenting on how it could see use in the organisation, Thomas Rocharz, director of contact centres and reservation, said: “For the airline industry, providing a seamless and quality customer experience is incredibly important.

“Our contact centre needs intelligent, AI-driven tools to help us handle a high volume of customer interactions while providing excellent service in a fast and timely manner,” he said. “8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant will first allow us to apply AI-enabled voice self-service to quickly resolve customer inquiries, with the ability to easily add new channels and agent-facing AI assistance as our company grows.”

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