In a bid to help enterprises optimize customer service, Google Cloud is extending its Contact Center AI (CCAI) service with the ability to integrate with CRM (customer relationship management) applications in order to provide real-time insights and data analytics.
The extended service will be called the Contact Center AI (CCAI) Platform and is scheduled for general availability in August. The CCAI Platform will include capabilities offered by the current service, such as DialogFlow flowcharts to provide scripts for staff and automated software assistants to follow; CCAI Insights, which include reports on whether or not call center agents have solved customer problems; and what Google calls the conversation core, or AI brain — which combines capabilities including NLP (natural language processing), text-to-speech and speech-to-text, to aid in call-processing automation.
The idea is to help companies enhance customer experience.
“It (CCAI Platform) brings together the advantages of AI, cloud scalability, multi-experience capabilities, and tight integration with customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to unify sales, marketing, and support teams around data across the customer journey,” Yariv Adan, director of product management, cloud conversational AI, Google, wrote in a blog post.
Modernizing the contact center with CCaS
Along with the CRM integration, the new platform allows enterprises to manage all inbound and outbound interaction with customers with support from an AI assistant that provides suggestions based on historical CRM data and real-time interactions — essential features for modern CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) solutions.
Enterprises that have no contact center solutions in place can simply sign up for the CCAI Platform as a service. For companies that want to enhance the contact center technology they already have, the CCAI Platform features can be integrated into existing applications via the software telephony components embedded in such solutions.
The platform can also monitor whether call center agents are following guidelines and scripts; manage employee scheduling preferences with a Workforce Optimization (WFO) feature; and provide customers with self-service features via web or mobile interfaces using a Visual Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capability, Adan explained.
Enterprises can orchestrate the customer journey on websites or other channels with UI features and applications with mobile or web software developer kits (SDKs), compatible with iOS and Android and included with the CCAI service, Adan added.
“The solution is for CIOs and enterprises looking to add a robust AI driven intelligence and personalization capacity on top of their contact center tools and solutions, especially for those who are already on Google cloud or are looking for another option other than Amazon Connect – AWS’ contact center solution that provides similar services,” Liz Miller, principal analyst, Constellation Research, said.
Google CCAI Platform integrates with CRM
According to the company, the CCAI platform includes the functionality to integrate directly into CRM applications from companies including Zendesk, Salesforce, Microsoft and Oracle, directly via APIs and connectors (adapters), to provide real-time insights and help store data.
This means that when a customer calls, these connectors can tap into APIs to check the historical data of the customer calling and suggest actions along with making a log entry into the CRM, which can later be used to generate insights to better consumer experience, a Google executive explained.
“The point Google is trying to make is that optimized customer experiences demand that organizations centralize and connect their systems of customer records, so tight integration with CRM helps bridge the gaps across the entirety of the customer experience front-line, namely sales, marketing and customer service,” Miller said.
However, the analyst believes that this approach may not work for all enterprises.
“This is ideal for organizations that still consider CRM to be the center of gravity for customer experience strategy and customer engagement delivery. Larger enterprises that must contend with complex data stores across a vast landscape of customer engagement points have started to leverage customer data platforms (CDP) as their center of engagement gravity,” Miller added.
Google has also partnered with Salesforce to integrate the CRM vendor’s Service Cloud Voice API natively to the CCAI platform, to offer a single unified agent console.