Every day, billions of conversations are happening worldwide.
Every single one of those conversations – whether it’s with your daughter about a homework assignment, your manager about status updates on a project, or your significant other about weekend plans – is complex. That’s because conversation is shaped by so many different attributes, from language, to intent, to context, to emotion.
That same level of complexity applies to conversations that happen every day between customers and businesses. With advances in AI and automation and the introduction of self-service tools like chatbots and voice assistants, we are delving into a whole new era of customer experiences – where even something as innately human as conversation is being augmented in new and exciting ways with technology.
One of the pioneers of this customer experience revolution is Uniphore, a conversational automation company that leverages AI to improve the “pre-call” experience, deflecting calls and lowering agent costs, the “in-call” experience, increasing higher first-call resolution, NPS scores and reducing agent handling time, and “post-call” experience, optimizing agent after-call work and reducing customer wait times.
Uniphore serves some of the largest enterprises in the world, with customers including some of the world’s largest BPOs, telecom providers, insurance companies and financial service organizations. In 2021, Uniphore was named “One of the Fastest-Growing Companies in North America” by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™.
Cisco Investments participated in Uniphore’s Series D round in March 2021. This week, Cisco is excited to welcome Uniphore to Cisco’s SolutionsPlus, our industry-leading partner program that helps enterprise buyers design and implement complete end-to-end solutions.
I recently sat down with Sachdev, a former recipient of MIT Technology Review’s’ Innovators Under 35, to talk about the company’s journey, what they’ve accomplished so far, and what lies ahead.
Combining Vision, Voice AI and Tonal Emotion to Ensure Every Voice is Heard
The many elements that shape conversation, from language and intent to context and emotion, all greatly influence perception and response. In the not-so-distant past, we relied on human ability only to interpret emotion, context, intent and meaning. Now, Uniphore combines vision, voice AI and tonal emotion to bridge the gap between humans and machines and improve tech-assisted communication.
Uniphore recently acquired Emotion Research Labs to add real-time video AI capabilities to detect user emotion and engagement. Self-service tools like chatbots and voice assistants help manage those conversational elements to further improve support outcomes.
Uniphore supports customers across industries, whether to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, call center agent productivity, or operational cost reduction and efficiency. With the recent additions of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) capabilities from NTT DATA and low-code automation capabilities via its Jacada acquisition, Uniphore uniquely combines conversational AI, RPA, and workflow automation capabilities to drive streamlined customer experience.
Recently, the company worked with a customer in the healthcare industry with 1,000 customer service agents. The company was dealing with many of the typical call center issues: decreased satisfaction ratings, too much time spent on post-call summary work, inaccuracy of call notation, increased call volumes and longer wait times, and inability to properly monitor call center agent performance.
After implementing their solutions, Sachdev says the customer saw a 20% reduction in handling time, an 80% reduction in after-call work time, and an 18% increase in human work automation, which, all in all, saved the company $6 million in annual bottom-line savings.
“We are literally changing the way people communicate – a core function of who we are fundamentally,” says Sachdev. “And we’re doing it through machines. That’s the beauty of AI. With the help of powerful technology, we can solve problems.”
Four Ways Uniphore’s AI is Helping Service Assistants Communicate with Customers
Uniphore’s platform breaks down into four offerings:
- U-Self Serve: The U-Self Serve omnichannel self-serve bots deflect calls from higher-cost channels and give customers 24/7 access to critical information. U-Self Serve drives personalized engagement with a multimodal, AI-driven Intelligent Virtual Assistant to optimize customer engagement.
- U-Assist: The most advanced agent augmentation, U-Assist, is a lightning-fast solution incorporating RPA, the industry’s only AI-driven tool that automates after-call work summary, notation and categorization. U-Assist’s real-time transcription, sentiment and intent detection significantly improve agent efficiency and productivity.
- U-Trust: The voice ID employee authentication solution, U-Trust, provides seamless, ongoing agent verification with real-time supervisor alerts to drive trust.
- U-Analyze: U-Analyze incorporates AI-driven analytics, quality automation and conversational analytics to measure agent quality management and deliver actionable insights from omnichannel member interactions.
Cisco and Uniphore: A Shared Dedication to Better Customer Experiences
At Cisco, we have a decades-long dedication to partnering with companies that deliver end-to-end solutions and options for our customers.
By adding Uniphore as a Cisco-compatible solution to our SolutionsPlus Program, our customers and channel partners can now purchase Uniphore’s conversational automation products to enable more efficient, seamless, and secure conversations between customer service agents and customers.
“We know Cisco is a trusted partner for many enterprise businesses, and we are pleased to be added to the Cisco ecosystem through the SolutionsPlus partnership,” says Sachdev. “Like Uniphore, Cisco believes in innovation and collaboration as being key to transforming the customer experience. Cisco has a long history of leading on-premises contact center deployments in the U.S. I’m excited about what we can do together for customers.”
Uniphore: What’s Next?
The pandemic caused significant shifts in customer behavior, some of which are likely here to stay. “People got accustomed to solving their problems on the phone and with chat bots. In the workplace, people are using video and conferencing tools more in place of in-office work and travel. Education, healthcare, marketing, HR, legal, finance, sales and companies of all types and sizes are implementing more ways to do things remotely,” says Sachdev. Capitalizing on these tailwinds, Uniphore grew 250% in 2020 and forecasts a bright future.
“If anything is keeping me up at night it’s excitement for where we’re headed,” says Sachdev. “There’s much more work to be done.”