iacsf: Executive Summit

Brett Beranek, Nuance
Fred Brown, NextIT
Brian Garr, LinguaSys (21 languages, today’s process release)
Phil Gray, interactions
Tom Lewis, Smart Action

Dan: people turn to others as they escalate customer care, going to people as last resort. Human interaction? Phil: path is invisible to customers. Highly conversational experience does take people, but systems learn too. Looking for same level of service. Fred says his work is getting very close, accurate. Brian works with semantics. Look at Google translate that works with swashes of words, vs LinguaSys which gets the right fidelity of the conversation. They build first 21 language maps, will add next 20 languages at no cost. Brett: great digital experience for gen y or millennials feel that if they have a to talk an agent, you’ve failed.

Dan: how much is automated and how soon? Fred: it’s not simple implementation. Must build it well first. Sargent Star is a good model, how much effort to build it up. Tom: $3.5 billion investments, but consumer has been programmed to think that IVR stinks. Call center manager perspective for 2050 will not be same as today, so where is tipping point? Investments in AI, also in voice recognition in HD vs calling a copper line device. Plumbing, standards, telcos.

How to resolve the zero out problem? Phil: from Hyatt, don’t remove people, maximize their expertise. Is about making things easier for customers. Tom: reflective interaction is key. Fred: start on smart device. Brett: consumer expectations are changing quite a bit, experience with e.g. Dom makes consumers aware that this experience may be elsewhere. Its up to enterprises to make that work. Brian: conversation needs to expand to consistent global experience.

Plumbing: when will this happen for smaller enterprises? Brian: we are doing this now, will change the price structure for NLU. Phil: call centers have different adoption curves, different technologies. Where are priorities? Today this is scalable. Brett: is accessible technology, kaspersky software implemented, got Roi within 3 months. Fred: it matters what consumers need, getting the natural language understanding, and how to hook that to back end. Brett: business models need to evolve, esp in contact center space. Dan: models, APIs, will happen, is in a parallel experience.

Brian: going for statistical to semantic application, coder I can build a system.

Brett: lot of enterprises waking up but not a good comprehension of where this might deliver good business value. Where are your cost drivers? What are your shopping cart use cases that cause problems? Build virtual assistants to address these problems. Fred: look at conversations, drop AI in after examining. Roi will be proof. Tom: need to present in a way that minimizes risk, adoption of technology has decreased over time. Business model includes understanding risk.


iacsf: Dennis Maloney, Domino’s

Four years ago, brand started going through a reinvention (pizza tastes like cardboard), by listening, going digital to ordering online. Goals: increased customer satisfaction, increased revenue and profit, and better products and trials. About 45% of their orders come for digital, >$1B in business. Consumer experience drives results.

From order, you can track your pizza’s process from order to delivery, including who made the pizza. “FedEx of pizza.”

Pizza profiles enables simple order with 4 clicks. Now voice ordering in iPhone and android. 25 SKUs on their site, some items are customizable.ordering by voice is common, allowed them to break some constraints. This is a foundational technology, adds to a strong brand message. Their persona Dom is a character, fully integrated into ordering process. Nuance is partner. Huge learning curve. Was harder, took longer, was more expensive, but was worth it.

Demo done live (worked pretty well) for ordering pizzas. Knew from store what selection to offer, dealt with ambiguity, has a sense of humor and is conversational. “Easy order” would place order in one step. Consumers like it: appears faster, simpler (less steps), easier process, more intuitive, positive brand impact.

Problem: consumer needs to choose store first, then limited by what that store offers, not by what consumer wants.


iacsf: John Romano, Hyatt Hotels

Global hospitality company, 8 brands, growing. Contact centers (8), speak 30 languages. John was part of early planning 4 years ago, asking what do customers what, not what they thought they wanted. 3M active gold passport members, premium level service. They deliver 95% comprehension rate adaptive understanding technology! streamlined and scalable, and agent-like experience.

Automation assists with sales process with respect to live agent time and value of calls. Potential of $50-80 million in revenue.

Collect data in natural form: property, check in & out dates, number of guests, payment to an associate. Interface can facilitate change and cancel info, also faqs. Good sample calls. ROI is 125% and more personal benefits in company side. New bookings save 15%, 94% on fully automated transactions.

Review noted “mildly robotic, male voice” without a persona–a corporate decision. Experience is on-property. Cultural hump with agents who perceived system was taking their jobs; was put in place to maximize their expertise. Now if data doesn’t move to agents, they are frustrated.

Opus has a case study available. They are working with interactions.net


iacsf: Mobile Personal Assistant

Stefan Weitz, Microsoft
Mikael Berner, EaailyDo
Robert Weideman, Nuance
Balaji Narayana, Openstream
Dan Miller, Opus Research

Robert: applying speech to customer service
Michael: helping organize info in various apps
Stefan: applying search and intelligent agents to life
Balaji: enterprise coordination platform

Human-like speech isn’t core. Robert agrees, Iva needs to respond through any channels that customers use. Mikael says what they are doing is hard, tech of predicting and changing intents. Stefan says Speech is one modality, and there are others. Balaji: W3C has been working on it since 2002, context is important to conversion and adds meaning to words. Robert: they are also working with robot to assist shoppers.

Stefan: take all the corporeal and map it, map relationships before we understand our interactions. Blocks happen and take us out of our path. Mikael noted that people have alive calendars on average. There are a lot of signals to consider in each call.

Dan asked about employer-employee platform uses and expectations. Balaji says systems are strong in business process management but challenging to make all things come together. Mikael: things people find most valuable are in email that have helper tasks. After spam is filtered out, people only open 20% of their email. People hate email. Stefan: good questions in search, like how to hide a body, will you marry me (asking Kortana). Robert: customer service world, people are of focused on integrating marketing, sales, support; also health care questions about drug interactions, etc. We personify things. Opportunity for enterprise’s brand. People will engage more for certain things with virtual agent than live person (late paying a bill).

Trust in personal mobile devices? Security is Robert’s starting point, resistance was about trust abut focus is on convenience and power. Stefan: Kortana notebook is premised on device not cloud, lots of thought about partitioning personas and where on certain aspects are stored. Dan notes that people don’t take a lot of effort to be secure. Intimacy? Mikael: trust is a brand a promise as well as secure and convenient. Things are creepy when they start. We’re evolving at a startling rate. Look forward, how will you live without trusting?

Kortana has a relationship with foursquare, service agents driven by customer. Robert: other considerations for banks (PCI compliance), huge market so different companies serving different parts of the market.