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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: eGain customer engagement solutions

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By eGain

eGain customer engagement solutions deliver digital transformation for leading brands – powered by virtual assistance, AI, knowledge, and analytics.

Our comprehensive suite of applications help clients deliver memorable, digital-first customer experiences in an omnichannel world.

To find out more about eGain, visit

Why should you think about Chatbots?

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By mGage

Chatbots are nothing new, having first been introduced in the 1960’s in the form of a computer programme called ELIZA. This programme laid the framework for what chatbots would become, a computerised conversational tool.

Today chatbots have become much more common in everyday usage and for many businesses it’s become an essential part of their customer service department to deliver an enhanced customer experience for its customers.  In fact, a report by juniper research shows that chatbots will be involved in 85% of all types of business-customers interaction.

What is a chatbot

A chatbot or also known as conversational agents are applications that replicate written or spoken human speech for the purposes of creating an interaction with a real person.

Chatbots can be though text or voice and can be deployed on your websites, applications and messaging like SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more.

Why should businesses think about Chatbots?

  1. Invest to Enhance Customer Experience

Today’s customer requires quick and timely responses to their inquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience, and almost two-thirds will no longer wait more than 2 minutes for assistance.  By integrating a chatbot this can provide the immediate and time sensitive responses consumers expect from brands. This is reflected in research by Chatbot Magazine that shows 69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions.

Customer and user experience experts have realised that an omnichannel experience is essential in meeting the needs of today’s consumers. Smartphone users have access to a variety of channels including SMS, RCS, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. As brand websites and social media apps are always in operation this means that customer engagement is a constant. In a digital era, businesses no longer operate on a set time. This is where chatbots become essential to support this engagement. Once implemented they always allow each channel to effectively provide customer support.

  1. Automation Enables Operational Efficiency

According to a report by IBM, chatbots could handle 80% of routine customer questions. Customer service is an essential but costly function for businesses which is why having an automated tool like a text chatbot is vital, as it can provide customer service 24/7. The other reality is customer service reps can’t always be available.

By implementing an automated chatbot, this can enable businesses to easily answer customer service enquiries or issues swiftly and to reduce incoming call volumes and human interaction. In fact, it’s reported by IBM that integration of chatbots can lead to a 30% decrease in operational costs.

  1. The rise of conversational messaging

Conversational messaging is transforming the messaging landscape as it speaks to the desire for customers to receive more personalised, relevant and engaging messaging. By integrating chatbots businesses are able to have automated assistants that can support customers with their unique requests and interests.  We see this within the increasing popularity of NLP (natural language processor).  NLP chatbots utilise AI technology to be more natural and pick up on the context of a customer request to be in effect more “human”.

Furthermore, many businesses today are looking to new solutions like RCS (Rich Communication Services),  the much anticipated upgrade to SMS.  RCS enables conversational messaging with the chat capabilities so that they can respond to a customer’s request all within the same messaging thread on the native RCS app. Features like the carousels and ‘suggested responses’ act as automated actions that make the user experience more streamlined and enhances the B2C messaging experience to reflect the way customers expect to message today.

Final thoughts

Chatbots have been here for a long time and will continue to be an essential part of any business. Historically customers may not have liked automated and artificial customer service but the convenience and rapid service they provide has enhanced the customer experience and more importantly allows businesses to keep up with the requirements of operating within an ever-evolving digital era. Chatbots over messaging apps like SMS and RCS should not be ignored as a recent study conducted by mGage revealed that 97% of consumers use some form of messaging. It’s a widely used channel by consumers therefore the reach is remarkable.

To learn more about how you can utilise chatbots within your messaging get in-touch with mGage today!

GUEST BLOG: What role will Chatbots play in 2020? 

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Interesting times are ahead as contact centres cut through the jargon, dispel the myths and embrace new AI technology to serve customers and agents.

Colin Hay at Puzzel takes a closer look at the top three uses for Chatbots… 

This time last year, Gartner predicted that Virtual Customer Assistants (VCAs) or Chatbots will dominate the contact centre industry by 2020. Already, more than half of organisations have invested in the technology for customer service.[i] 

However, despite all the hype and discussion about Chatbots and all things Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is still an element of confusion about their value and a reluctance to adopt this new technology more quickly.

These are interesting times with exciting possibilities on the horizon for Chatbots as organisations explore the options and the opportunities ahead. From accelerating response times for customers to plugging the gaps in agent skills and availability, Chatbots are here to stay but how are they best used?

Three Top Uses for Bots 

Here are three ways to use bots to enhance customer conversations and boost agent performance for improved service.

  1. Direct transactional contact with customers – these are good old-fashioned Chatbots as we know them and their function focuses primarily on the customer. Designed as an efficient and cost-effective addition to any organisation’s self-service offering, they integrate directly into the core contact centre solution to improve first contact with customers and save valuable live agent time. For contact centres which already have existing investments in Chatbots, ready-made connectors allow companies to “Bring their own Bot” and seamlessly link to their contact centre infrastructure.
  2. An all-important triage resource – in many ways, Chatbots are a Chat version of IVR by acting as a smart connector as they transfer customer conversations over to human agents. Chatbots bridge the digital and human worlds by ensuring live agents have all the information they need, at the time of hand-over, to deliver a complete and end-to-end satisfying customer interaction.
  3. Dedicated Virtual Personal Assistants for Agents – the latest application of Chatbots maximises AI learning from the contact centre and other parts of the business to provide agents with the real-time knowledge they need, along with suggested solutions, to solve customer queries. Media archives within the contact centre solution are a perfect place to create a living library of machine learning and historical records of previous Chat interactions. Transcribed voice conversations, full of unstructured data, are transformed into structured data that is easily searchable by text, thanks to the power of AI.A new breed of “bot buddies” will enable advisors to boost their performance at work and deliver exceptional customer experience. Agents can engage with them through speech or text communication while the virtual technology works hard behind the scenes, using inbuilt intelligence to respond to agent enquiries and support staff in real-time.

What role will Chatbots play in 2020?

Some might say that “the jury is still out” in terms of the real role that Chatbots will play in 2020 but one thing is sure they will be a part of customer service. According to Gartner, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more per annum on bots and chatbot creation, than on traditional mobile app development by 2021[ii]. It’s just a question of what part those bots will play in contact centres?

To find out more, Puzzel invites you to join an executive breakfast briefing with the UK Contact Centre Forum on 27th February 2019.

To register or to discover what role Chatbots will play in your contact centre in 2020, click here.

Top mistakes businesses make with AI in the Contact Centre – And how to avoid them

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By Enghouse Interactive

There is a great deal of discussion in the marketplace regarding robots and artificial intelligence (AI) and their future role in the contact centre. Much of this is hype.

A lot of people are talking hypothetically about what robots might do in a customer service context. Fewer are using a truly AI-driven approach to engage with customers today.

There is no one-size fits all answer here. Some organisations will continue to use human service as a key part of their value proposition and differentiation, but most are bringing in a growing element of AI and automation as they move to a more self-service-based approach.

As early as 2011, analyst, Gartner was predicting that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.

But, as they implement chatbots and other types of AI, there are a range of pitfalls businesses need to watch out for. Here, we outline some of the biggest and how businesses can best avoid them.

Click here to download our resources to help you on your journey with ChatBots and AI strategy into the contact centre.

UK insurance contact centres ‘battle 60% rise in call duration’

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UK insurance companies expect to make significant investments in AI-enabled web chat, automated customer identification and interaction analytics technology within the next two years.

A survey of over 200 UK contact centres undertaken by ContactBabel shows that insurance operations expect their use of web chat to grow from 44% today to 94% by the beginning of 2020.

The use of interaction analytics is expected to rise to 43%, as is automated speech recognition, with much of the latter being used to reduce fraud and the time required to take phone customers through security.

In 2012, only 7% of inbound interactions with insurers were through email, but this has risen sharply to over 15% today.

Due in part to increased automation, the sector will see a drop in contact centre employment of around 5,500 jobs by 2020.

The report’s author, Steve Morrell, Principal Analyst, ContactBabel, said: “With average call lengths in UK insurance contact centres having risen by over 60% since 2010, the industry has embraced the opportunities that digital channels can bring, especially in terms of automating simpler interactions.

“AI-enabled web chat can handle a large proportion of straightforward customer requests, while automating the customer identity process will shorten call times and reduces fraud. The insurance sector has also seen very significant rises in the average time taken to answer calls, as well as the length of calls. The significant growth in digital activity, particularly email, shows that insurers are understanding how their customers wish to contact them, while managing the cost of service.”

The report is downloadable free of charge from

Digital channel use gaining ground – and it’s not because of AI Chatbots

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Use of digital channels by consumers to contact brands is gaining ground on more traditional methods, with email doubling and chat tripling among US consumers in 2018, according to a new study.

However, the research by NICE inContact also found that use of “automated assistants” or chatbots by consumers for recent service interactions is still limited at only 8 per cent globally.

The second annual NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark includes consumers from three countries – United States, United Kingdom and Australia – with year-over-year results for US (2018 vs 2017), and new benchmark data for UK and Australia.

Key findings include:

  • Agent-assisted Digital Channels Gain Ground, Chat Reigns for Satisfaction

The CX Transformation Benchmark year-over-year results among US consumers show growth of digital channels for service – use of email doubled and chat tripled. Consumers in all regions are most satisfied with online chat with a live agent, compared to ten other channels evaluated. At 56 percent, more than half of US consumers surveyed are highly satisfied with chat interactions; 47 and 44 percent of UK and Australia consumers, respectively, report being highly satisfied with their most recent chat experience.

  • Consumers Want True Omnichannel Customer Service

Consumers want true omnichannel customer service, and service that’s seamless, convenient and quick. If a conversation needs to move from chat to a phone call, nine out of 10 consumers say they expect a seamless transition when moving from one communication method to another. Chat and phone are each viewed as convenient and quick, requiring a minimal amount of effort.

  • Consumers Reward Companies Who Deliver Exceptional Customers Service

Today’s consumers are vocal about the brands they love, and aren’t afraid to share negative experiences through their network. The study found that, overwhelmingly, customers who have exceptional experiences are more willing to: recommend that company on social media (83 percent), buy more products and services from that company (89 percent), and go out of their way to purchase from that brand (82 percent). But, one-time exceptional service is not enough to cement loyalty as 81 percent of consumers reported that they are very likely to switch to another company if they’ve had a bad customer service experience.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Has Room for Improvement, Consumers Skeptical

While businesses continue to experiment with AI applications within customer experience channels, only eight percent of global consumers interviewed had used an AI enabled service channel like chatbots or a home electronic virtual assistant for their most recent customer service interaction. The study found that nine out of 10 consumers prefer to talk to a live agent rather than a chatbot or virtual assistant. And, consumer satisfaction with automated assistants is low, with only 27 percent of users giving a 9 or 10 rating out of 10. AI has yet to mature, and consumers agree. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said chatbots and virtual assistants need to get smarter before they are willing to use them regularly, and 66 percent disagree that chatbots and virtual assistants make it easier to get issues resolved.

“Businesses are no longer just being measured against their direct competitors – they are being measured against every positive customer experience a consumer has ever had,” said Paul Jarman, CEO of NICE inContact. “The global CX Transformation Benchmark Study findings highlight that to deliver exceptional customer experiences that drive growth, businesses must continue their digital transformations to power smart and seamless omnichannel interactions. Despite widespread interest in AI, the research shows that its application is still finding its way in delivering exceptional customer experiences. Investing in an open, native cloud contact center platform can help businesses meet evolving and demanding customer expectations highlighted in the study.”

NICE inContact surveyed more than 2,400 consumers across the globe on their most recent customer service experience across 11 different channels – both agent-assisted and self-service – on over 4,600 total interactions.

To download the full research report, click here.

GUEST BLOG: Most customers hate AI & chatbots for this reason…

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By IFS | mplsystems

There’s no doubt that artificial intelligence is going to be more and more common in customer service and support interactions. Its versatility in expanding self-service options across channels, ability to capture robust customer insights, and efficiency in handling contacts make it a very attractive investment for contact centre leaders.  Customers realise this and are tolerant of the increased use of AI technologies, but they fear that organisations will abuse and misuse the automation.

Research by pwc1found that 78% of UK customers (and 75% across all other countries) “want to interact with a real person more as technology improves.” Additionally, 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience. Most customers hate AI because organisations are using it to replace the human touch, instead of augmenting it. This is not a sustainable solution for companies who want to stand apart from their competition. The customer experience is increasing in importance as a competitive differentiator and a bad AI implementation puts revenues, customer satisfaction, and even employee engagement at risk.

With how customers feel about AI, and all that is on the line, what can contact centre and customer service leaders do to find the balance between creating exceptional experiences and delivering efficient service through chatbots or virtual assistance?

One of the best ways to get started is by leaning into the natural advantages of each method for delivering service.  Artificial intelligence carries certain distinct advantages in efficiency that aren’t easily duplicated by humans. In the same respect, humans provide advantages in handling emotional, volatile, or complex interactions that technology cannot. If organisations want to deliver a service experience that their customers won’t hate, they need to play each platform to its advantages and seamlessly integrate them together.

This poses two fundamental challenges for contact centre leaders:

  1. They need to thoroughly understand their customer’s expectations and the moments of truth within the typical customer journey.
  2. They must leverage technology that enables immediate self-service, provides seamless transitions to agents, and delivers access to the full context of each interaction.

The first challenge can’t be overcome by the contact centre alone. It takes a cross-functional group of stakeholders, ranging from the contact centre to marketing, product development, and more, to fully understand and map customer expectations and moments of truth in their journeys. Along the way, customers should be interviewed – using methods like focus groups and surveys – to test and affirm any assumptions about their preferences and previous experiences.

From the perspective of technology, contact centre and IT leaders should not underestimate the importance of using an integrated platform that balances self and assisted service. For example, the highly repetitive and transactional tasks should be easily automated; contacts needing a degree of triage should employ chatbots or virtual assistance solutions as a first line of defense, and the platform should quickly and seamlessly escalate to an agent when necessary. If the customers need is resolved quickly and easily, they’ll be satisfied, and they won’t care how a company gets it done.

The reality is that customers don’t hate AI & chatbots, they hate organisations who don’t know how to provide great service.

1 PwC Future of Customer Experience Survey 2017/18

GUEST BLOG: Chatbots – should we believe the hype?

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By James Rein, Senior Account Manager, Adexchange

Probably, yes. If you’re responsible for a contact centre and find your advisors listlessly answering the same, simple, non-specific questions every day then read on – a chat bot is likely to have a big impact on the efficiency of your operation.

‘In 2015, Swedbank achieved a 78% first contact resolution rate using a text based assistant which resulted in a 60% deflection from live assistance’ (


Let’s flip the perspective for a moment and think about things from the customer’s point of view. How many times have you sifted through pages and pages of FAQs, got bored, and thought ‘Nope, I’ll just call them’? How would it be if you could just type your question and get the answer straight away? Pretty nice, huh?

Chatbots aren’t infallible but it’s not the technology that could trip up your bot – that side of things is straightforward – it’s the effectiveness of the content.

Let’s dig a bit deeper.

What is a chatbot?

Think of a chatbot as the guardian of your FAQs and knowledgebase. It has access to all non-specific information any customer could possibly want and can deliver it to that customer instantly.

No need for any agent interaction, no need for customers to wait on hold for twenty minutes to get an answer and no lost business. That’s right – aside from improved efficiency generally, 53% of people are actually more likely to shop with a business they can message online. (

Just like advisors, chatbots evolve too. They might start life on your website and be set up to deal with your 30 most frequently asked questions. Within the first month of use a couple of trickier questions get asked and, at the same time, you get 5000 new ‘likes’ on Facebook.

You decide to add new questions and answers to your bot’s database and launch it in Facebook Messenger too. Then WhatsApp. Then you launch a new product and add FAQs about that as well. It’s easy to get all kinds of data relating to your bot’s performance and every reincarnation reduces the number of calls to your contact centre. This frees up your agents to deal with specific, more complex questions from customers.

So should I get one?

If your advisors are mostly occupied with intricate, customer specific questions then a chatbot probably isn’t going to be for you. However, if you’re inundated with calls from people asking questions they could easily have found the answer to online then yes, it’s definitely worth exploring the option of a chatbot.

The technology is only one part of the set up and, isn’t difficult or necessarily time consuming to get in place. The crucial element is making sure you get the content right.

In such a distracted world it’s time to ditch the corporate waffle and formal tone and really engage your customers by writing in a clear, informal and friendly way that they’ll find effective and refreshing.

Forget paragraphs of text – use white space, bullets, short sentences – and make your communication to the point and succinct.

A chatbot is only as good as the content powering it.

If you want to get more out of your Chatbot get in touch to see how we can help.

WHITEPAPER: Robots replace advisors – Fact or fiction?

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80% of the cost in a contact centre is its unhappy agents. So if the burden can be reduced on them with AI, then you will also be able to reduce attrition costs, while boosting employee engagement and tenure.

Unsure how to deploy chatbots and AI in the contact centre and of how they fit best alongside your customer service agents?

This paper from IFS-mplsystems explores the adoption of AI in customer service to date and also where it offers the most benefits. It provides practical guidance for customer service leaders to understand how to best progress your AI projects.

This paper will provide the answers that you are looking for before it’s too late. Download here.

Puzzel announces new chat bot functionality and GDPR readiness

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Puzzel has announced new functionality in the latest release of its cloud-based contact centre solution, designed to extend the system’s multi-channel capabilities and help organisations to meet important changes in EU data protection legislation.

Users are now able to integrate third party or Puzzel’s own Chat bots directly into their core contact centre solution to improve first contacts with customers and save valuable live agent time. Furthermore, Puzzel has made several adjustments to its platform in preparation for the advent of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May this year.

Christian Thorsrud, Product Manager at Puzzel, said: “Chat bots and GDPR are hot topics in the contact centre world today. On the one hand, innovations based on Artificial Intelligence such as Chat bots are creating new opportunities to expand and improve customer interactions and Puzzel’s latest release is designed to make them a reality. On the other hand, the imminent arrival of GDPR is putting pressure on contact centres to review how they collect and store their own and third party data. The latest version of our cloud-based software brings renewed assurance that contact centres can rely on Puzzel to provide them with a secure and auditable framework to help meet critical new legislative requirements.”

The key features of the latest version of Puzzel include:

• Chat bots – bring your own or buy from Puzzel – contact centres are able to connect directly to a variety of Chat bots from the core Puzzel platform. Users now have the option to bring their own bot and simplify the integration using Puzzel’s standard integration modules or to buy a bot direct from Puzzel. Whichever approach you take you will be able to ensure a smooth handover from the bot to live agents in the Puzzel Contact Centre. Importantly, this keeps humans in the loop for more complex enquiries as the bot technologies are evolving.

• GDPR readiness – to prepare contact centres for the arrival of GDPR, Puzzel has introduced new functionality that will simplify the compliance process. It will enable organisations to identify end user data quickly; delete data when requested to do so and easily collect and document any approvals given by end customers calling into the organisation.
Already, Puzzel allows the encryption of call recording files which can only be listened to by downloading them to devices with the correct private key to decrypt the file. Today’s announcement underlines Puzzel’s commitment to protecting customer data and aiding compliance with external GDPR requirements.

The latest release of Puzzel’s cloud contact centre solution is available now.

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