Cognitive Technologies

Cognitive Technologies

3 . August . 2018

Computers cannot think. But increasingly, they can do things only humans were able to do. It is now possible to automate tasks that require human perceptual skills, such as recognizing handwriting or identifying faces, and those that require cognitive skills, such as planning, reasoning from partial or uncertain information, and learning.

“Technologies able to perform tasks such as these, traditionally assumed to require human intelligence, are known as cognitive technologies.”

Cognitive technologies have been evolving over decades. Businesses are taking a new look at them because some have improved dramatically in recent years, with impressive gains in computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition, and robotics, among other areas.

Because cognitive technologies extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans, they have the potential to enable organizations to break prevailing tradeoffs between speed, cost, and quality.

We found that applications of cognitive technologies fall into three main categories: product, process, or insight.

• Product applications embed the technology in a product or service to provide end-customer benefits.
• Process applications embed the technology in an organization’s workflow to automate or improve operations.
• Insight applications use cognitive technologies—specifically advanced analytical capabilities such as machine learning—to uncover insights that can inform operational and strategic decisions across an organization.

Each of the type is further discussed below.

Organizations can now embed cognitive technologies to increase the value of their products or services by making them more effective, convenient, safer, faster, distinctive, or otherwise more valuable.

Not only can cognitive technologies be used to enhance products and services, they can also bring about entirely new classes of products and services that can create new markets and generate large gains for inventors.

Process: Automating internal processes with cognitive technologies

Another category of cognitive technology application is automation. By automation we mean using computer systems to do work that people used to do. The result is that the work gets done faster, cheaper, better, or some combination of the three.

Some applications of cognitive technologies eliminate jobs by taking on all of a worker’s responsibilities. Automated voice response systems that replace human customer service agents for first-tier customer support are well established.

Cognitive technologies are not the solution to every problem. Organizations need to evaluate the business case for investing in this technology in an individualized way. Organizations should look across their business processes, their products, and their markets to examine where the use of cognitive technologies may be viable, where it could be valuable, and where it may even be vital.

Insight: Cognitive technologies learning from information

The third category of cognitive technology application is creating insight. Natural language processing techniques, for instance, make it possible to analyze large volumes of unstructured textual information that has not yielded to other techniques. Machine learning can draw conclusions from large, complex data sets and help make high-quality predictions from operational data. Many companies are using cognitive technologies to generate insights that can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase revenues, improve effectiveness, or enhance customer service.

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Tips for Optimal IVR Call Flow Design

Tips for Optimal IVR Call Flow Design

17 . August . 2018

Never underestimate the importance of your IVR. It is often said that good service starts at the front door. Just like a good hotel, where the doorman greets you and the whole experience is set by the ambiance of the lobby and the welcome received, for call centers, the IVR is a crucial doorway to your company. The way it greets your customers and directs them often dictates the impressions customers have about the service they will receive. When IVR messages are long and tedious, customers may rethink the value of their relationship with you and look for alternatives.

IVR’s represent a complex integration of processes and technologies that include call routing, prompts, voice talent and more. Each of these must be put under the microscope to optimize the total functionality of the IVR and initiate the best customer service experience possible.

Not every contact center has a frustrating call flow design; however, many do confuse and confound customers, which contributes to a growing dislike of IVR’s. The challenge of creating an effective and user-friendly IVR requires a seamless blend of technology with the need for simplified human interaction.

Our experts suggest that following one Golden Rule will help to eliminate a large majority of design issues. This rule states “Each customer, reaching each menu, should easily find one, but only one logical choice for them.” In addition to the Golden Rule, it would benefit IVR design teams to give consideration to the following:

What are the needs of the customers accessing the IVR?

What are the demographics of the customers?

Have you avoided jargon used by the company that may be foreign to the customer?

Do you have multi-language options? Could you incorporate speech recognition?

Speech recognition technology is one of the most widely deployed technologies used, and one of the most identifiable to the customer. It’s use of simple phrases and stated numbers makes it easy for people to get it right the first time. Moreover, speech recognition works especially well with customers who are mobile – who represent a growing percentage of those reaching contact centers. People on the go have a harder time punching in numbers and therefore speech recognition offers the ease of conducting business using their voices. Speech recognition also can reduce menu options. When properly designed and implemented, tools like speech recognition enable companies to change business process easily and quickly, thus making the IVR more
efficient and cost effective.

To understand the efficiency of an IVR system, identifying the right metrics to track is essential. Our experts agree that Transfer Rate is perhaps the single and most valuable metric for measuring IVR efficiency. The IVR is designed to route calls of specific types to specific agent groups; therefore, by tracking the number of transfers that agents do in order to get the call to the correct location for issue resolution provides an indication of design flaws within the IVR. The second metric is the average time it takes to navigate through the IVR.
For those looking for best practices in IVR design, our experts suggest:

Establish a strategy: understand what the IVR is supposed to accomplish;

Create an IVR team comprised of people from IT and your business units so that both sides of the equation are addressed;

At the customer interface, keep the IVR as simple as possible;

Track Transfers, the time to navigate the system, rates of IVR abandonment, and the rate that people opt out of the IVR to speak to a live agent;

Use satisfaction surveys to gain feedback on its usability; and,
Consider its design from the user aspect.

Don’t let your IVR drive people away from your business. When properly designed, the IVR can be efficient for the company and effective for the customer. The overall process seems simple, but IVR design often requires some intensive tweaking to get it right for you, and to get it right for the customer.

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Card less, Cashless payment

Card less, Cashless payment

30 . July . 2018

Technology is repainting the payments landscape. Given the complexity of the payments ecosystem in various countries, change happens slowly. Sometimes it takes decades, but change does happen. Newer digital technologies may accelerate this evolution. This post looks at the future of money and how it will evolve to become cash-less, card-less and paper-less.

The Future of Money, which looks at the overall industry and factors leading to greater digitization of payments. Mobile phones have been a catalyst for much of the change, but it is important to remember that it is still very much a cash-based world.

While countries differ in terms of moving toward cards, mobile phones or other new digital technologies for payments, one thing is clear: ALL countries are trying to move away from using relatively expensive and inefficient paper money and metal coins for making payments.

Some countries have begun to move away from cash to primarily plastic cards for payments, while others are leap-frogging cards to use their mobile phones. Still other countries are exploring new all-digital bank accounts accessed by the consumer’s mobile phone number and PIN.

The replacement of magnetic stripe cards with chip cards reduces the risk of criminal sabotage and prevents skimming techniques that criminals use to read and store data of cards inserted into ATMs.

The one common denominator is the evolution away from cash, which has many obvious and hidden costs. With greater recognition of increasing income inequality around the world, new mobile money/digital payment solutions can also help to alleviate this problem.

The future of money will leverage digital and mobile technologies to enable the creation of new lower-cost, highly efficient payment solutions. This future will be cashless, card less and paperless. It may take a LONG time to become reality, and it will surely be unevenly distributed.

There’s an evolution certainly toward more and more card-free forms of payment. Even if you look at the growth rate of e-commerce, it’s all card-based but not with actual cards, and that’s growing much faster than the rate of retail where people maybe actually swiping or dipping a card. Ultimately we are going to be in a position where we won’t need a physical element to carry around with you to provide the information you need to pay. That information is stored on a mobile phone or a wearable device, or some combination of all of those things. It’s going to take time just because people are very used to cards. But that’s going to change pretty dramatically.

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