Every successful business knows that their communication strategy is the key to their success. With companies losing $75 Billion per year due to poor communication strategies, it’s imperative that your business is constantly innovating and improving their communication strategy. This will ensure you’re performing at maximum efficiency. That being said, one tool we are seeing integrated into organizations business communication strategies is Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). But what does this actually look like, and how is it changing the way businesses communicate internally and with their customers?
The Current State of A.I.
Artificial Intelligence. The name alone instantly brings to mind the notion of sentient robots that can reason and make their own decisions independent of human instruction. Even searching A.I. on Google results in a variety of blogs and images showing some sort of virtual robot or cyborg with a human-like design. The truth is, A.I. in practice is still very far from the image perpetuated by pop culture. We are still quite a ways away from a machine achieving general intelligence, the sentient version of A.I. that people usually think of when they hear the word A.I. While general intelligence is still out of our grasp, there have been advancements in other subfields of A.I. like Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning.
Since the introduction of chatbots back in 1966 with Eliza, chatbots have seen a significant rise in both complexity, capability and popularity. They went from needing to be hosted on large supercomputers, to being built into almost every phone and computer by default (Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant). We have also seen the rise of chatbots in the business communication space with many businesses using chatbots to streamline their customer service systems. In many cases these systems create better, more efficient customer service experiences, but they also lead to a rise in robocalls which use chatbots to scam millions of people in order to steal their personal information. These scams may become even more prolific and harder to detect, with the introduction of new capabilities like Google Assistant’s ability to sample someone’s voice and generate new conversations while almost perfectly impersonating that person’s voice. Despite these abuses, it is already projected that chatbots will save businesses “more than $8 billion per year by 2022”. Platforms like Facebook’s messenger chatbots allow customers to order entire meals, file complaints and even apply for apartments via a couple of text messages in Facebook messenger. Currently, chatbots work best with binary input such as “Would you like to order something? Yes or No” and currently struggle with complex requests like “My boss fired me with 2 weeks notice. How much money could I get if I sued?”. As the field advances and we see improvements in the NLP field, those current limitations may cease to exist, saving companies billions of dollars on customer service and sales reps.
A.I. Powered Unified Communications
Unified communications are communication tools that combine email, instant messaging, voIP, and virtual conference calling into a single cloud-based solution. Ucaas suites gets rid of the hassle and high maintenance requirements of traditional communication systems and allow you to seamlessly transition between different channels of communication. However, one of the challenges presented by these tools is analyzing the vast amounts of data they produce. This data can be used to uncover valuable insight, but manually processing it is a cumbersome task, particularly for enterprise-level organizations. This is where the power of A.I. comes in. Tools like NLP (sentiment analysis), Machine Learning algorithms (logistic regression, decision trees), and Deep Learning (neural networks) provide a way to process these large amounts of data at scale. When successfully integrated, A.I. powered unified communications solutions can provide valuable capabilities. Some examples are the ability to predict where all of your customers are in the sales pipeline, based off of sentiment analysis done on customer service call data, or the ability to autonomously identify what communication tool your employees will want to use to communicate, based on data about which tools employees use most often. A.I. applications are still in their infancy when it comes to the unified communications space, but some organizations like 8×8 are already finding ways to integrate A.I. with their unified cloud communications solution.
While A.I. is still in its infantile stages, and a far cry from being capable of taking over the world, we are already seeing vast improvements in what we even thought was possible. With business technology changing so rapidly and competition getting tougher every year, it is imperative that you ensure that your business stays on the cutting edge. Whether it’s making predictions on the best communication tools to contact your customers with, or identifying the communication tool that costs your business the most money, A.I. is here and it’s up to you to learn how your business can leverage it and strengthen your strategic capabilities.