Disruption is a word that gets thrown around a lot in business. It’s curious because most people don’t want their day to day to be disrupted in regular life. People don’t just casually offer up the phrase, “I can’t wait for some disruption today.” But that’s why it’s absolutely necessary. It helps to change things up and see the world differently. Umesh Sachdev, the Co-founder and CEO of Uniphore, explains how he first realized the call center industry was ready for an evolution.
- Creating Super Call Center Agents: A.I. in conjunction with automation can act as a coach or mentor for agents. It can give clues as to customers’ engagement while helping provide data and facts in real time. It can also take notes on the conversations so there is a record to reflect back on and use to make improvements. This A.I. augmentation turns agents into super agents.
- Language, Tone, and Facial Recognition: A.I. has had an incredible progression. Initially, A.I. was trained for language and then for tone of voice. Now, A.I. can read faces and gestures. All of this accumulated interpreted data can be applied to provide call agents, or whomever, with the information they need to better communicate with customers.
- Applying Knowledge: It’s one thing to acquire information as an engineer or a business leader. But acquiring knowledge without applying it is like holding the best tasting spice in the world in one’s hand but never adding it to any food. Knowledge that is held but not applied is wasted. Use knowledge to solve problems.
- Switching to Sales: Sometimes engineers and creators are so focused on their work that they forget about sales. The obvious aspect of doing so is that without funding, the creativity stops. Reframing striving to make sales as a creative, communicative job helps. Also, customers can provide insights and ideas for new, interesting projects.
For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.
Disruption is a word that gets thrown around a lot in business. It’s curious because most people don’t want their day to day to be disrupted in regular life. People don’t just casually offer up the phrase, “I can’t wait for some disruption today.” But that’s why it’s absolutely necessary. It helps to change things up and see the world differently. Umesh Sachdev, the Co-founder and CEO of Uniphore, explained how he first realized the call center industry was ready for an evolution.
“In 2014 [and] 2015, I started researching [and] it turns out [that] 15 million workers work in call centers,” Sachdev said. “It’s a $500 billion industry. And I said, ‘This is an industry that’s waiting to be disrupted much like the founders of Uber would have thought the logistics or transportation industry is waiting to be disrupted or the founders of Airbnb would have thought the same thing about their industry.’”
Constructive disruption isn’t destructive. It’s also not an end in itself. Instead, it’s a means to an end and the desired result is to build upon an earlier version of a solution and to enhance it. With that sense of purpose, disrupting morphs into innovating to improve the quality of life for people. In business, the benefit is cornering a market with loads of potential.
On a recent episode of IT Visionaries, Sachdev discussed how revolutionizing the call center industry was really about his primary passion — utilizing A.I. to help people better understand each other. Sachdev explained that A.I. can now understand language, tone, and even facial recognition. A.I. that truly understands humans and is automated to provide relevant information as needed in real time has the potential to disrupt and improve just about every aspect of society.
Innovating starts with discovering a widely held problem and then working to solve it. For Sachdev, this issue was building an A.I. system that could operate in real time to understand humans.
“The first problem that we started to solve was speech recognition, natural language processing, and intent recognition,” Sachdev said. “Then once we got better at it and we said, ‘You know, it’s not enough. The way [the] human brain works it doesn’t just hear the words [but] it also pays attention to tone…So then we worked on developing the ability for A.I. to listen to tonal changes, not just the words, but now tonal changes.”
After that first problem was solved, the next one was to figure out how to get the A.I. to come back with the right answer when it was asked a query.
“Then we had to go build a robotic process automation, or RPA, which is now this robotic system that can go into a knowledge base or go into an ERP or go into a CRM and extract things out,” Sachdev said. “Because we need it in real time.”
Eventually, Sachdev realized that this technology could be very helpful when applied to call centers.
“It’s equipping the call center agent with the right answer at the right time, with the right tools at the right time, [and] the ability to read the room or read the emotion much better,” Sanchev said. “And [this] ultimately converts the call center agent into a super agent and helps them do a much better job at what they want to do.”
Supporting call centers is really the tip of the iceberg for Uniphore.
“Early this year, we ended up acquiring a company called Emotion Research Lab out of Spain…,” Sachdev said.…”They have a computer vision A.I. software that can pick up facial moments [and] the moments of our muscles in real time and say, ‘This is a distracted viewer. This is a very engaged viewer. This viewer has a question. This viewer is not interested.’Now, as we combine it with our technology, we’re building products not just for the call center, but for sales and marketing and talent departments in the organization, et cetera. So the scope of what we do just expanded and became a massive opportunity.”
A.I. technology has evolved to comprehend language, tone, facial cues, and to pour over immense data to provide ideal feedback — all in real time. The possibilities are endless for applications that will make life easier and better.
To hear more about how Sachdev and Uniphore are building A.I. tools that support effective communication between people, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries!
To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here.
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