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How Conversational AI is Transforming Contact Centres

How Conversational AI is Transforming Contact Centres

Cormac O'Neill | Chief Executive Officer

Webio CEO, Cormac O'Neill's, opening address at the UK Credit & Collections Conference 2023 on the Impact of AI on Contact Centres


It's a little early for a show of hands, but I'm quite confident if I was to ask you guys to tell me the companies that these logos stand for, you can at least get two out of the three correct. I'm not sure about the last one. So the first one, as we all know, is Nike. It's been made famous by the likes of Tiger Woods and our very own Rory McIlroy. And yeah, he's Irish by the way, regardless of what you hear on Sky Sports. And the second one, that's my guilty pleasure. There is nothing like the Sausage Egg McMuffin breakfast in the morning. I see a lot of heads nodding, you know what I'm talking about. That is, of course, McDonald's.

The third one, I'm not sure if you guys know who that is. The third logo is the logo for Open AI. And as you probably know, the guys in Open AI are the folks who gave us the technology that powers ChatGPT.

So why are we bringing this up?

The reason I say this is because I firmly believe that ChatGPT and the technology behind it is going to significantly change the way we work.

And if I were to come back here in two years' time and put those logos up, you guys would know every single one of them. So why do we think that?

Quick story. This is the hardest-working team you guys are ever gonna meet. OK, this, of course, is the Webio team. So we are 100% remote working and we cross nine different countries every morning. We have a daily stand up which we call the Jim Bob. I'll explain that to you later if you want. But on our Jim Bob a couple of weeks ago, I asked the team to give me a show of hands how many of them were using ChatGPT or some other form of large language model to help them in their work?

So we have 37 people on our team. Out of those 37, 35 of them are currently using ChatGPT in their daily work. So that's in Sales, it's in Marketing, it's in Product, it's even in Development. I did not know this, but you can write code, put it into ChatGPT, and it will tell you whether it's good or not. So this is clearly very, very powerful, and I think that you're going to see it more and more as we go on.

AI and Language Models Brings you the Power of 'Knowing'

So I was thinking about this in relation to the industry that we're all in - credit interactions. So what impact is it going to have on us? And the more I thought about it, I kept coming back to one word. And that word is knowing.

Knowing Customer Intents in Real Time

So I can see LLMs, the technology behind ChatGPT, really empowering our 'knowing', and what do we mean by that? Well, let's think of it across two different areas. The first is your customers. The customers that you have in your company. LLM's and large language models and ChatGPT are really going to assist you in knowing your customers in real time. If you're a customer, you're contacting an enterprise not because you want to chat or you're bored. You're doing it because you want to get a resolution or you want to get an answer to a query. So that's an intent. The customer is doing it for a particular reason. If you can understand that intent in real time, then you can help your customer.

So for example, a customer may be reaching in to ask what's their balance and how much they owe and when's the next payment due. These are all intents and you can use AI to understand those intents and go back and get the answer and give it to them right there and then. That's very powerful for the customer. They don't have to wait 45 minutes on the call to get that answer, and it's obviously very cost-efficient for you guys in your contact centers.

Knowing a Customer's State of Mind in Real Time

The second area from a customer point of view is: what is their state of mind? Are they vulnerable, are they angry or happy or excited? If you can predict that in real time, then again you can take actions. The last thing you want for your brand is an automated platform dealing with an angry or vulnerable customer that has only become exasperated. What you need to do is recognise that they're vulnerable and they're angry and then pass that customer to somebody who's trained professionally to handle that. That's what AI and machine learning is going to help you do, and that's just from the customer side.

How AI Helps Contact Centre Agents

If I look at your agents, the people who work in your contact center, what they're going to have very soon is a copilot that sits alongside and that's going to help them at the point that help is needed. You hear a lot about generative AI and that's really what it's all about. You can use this technology to put answers in front of your agents, whether that's policies and procedures that you have in your organisation, whether that's terms and conditions that's connected to a loan or a product that you're selling, your agents can use generative AI to interrogate those and get the answers right there and then.

As a company, Webio has been doing this a long time before the folks came out with ChatGPT. But I firmly believe it's going to change the way that we interact and deal with our customers. My challenge to you - go back to your offices and ask your teams how many of them are using ChatGPT and I guarantee you you'll be surprised by the answer. Thank you very much, folks!

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