Software CEO says AI-human combo will drive industry’s future

The top executive of a tech firm that creates solutions for call centers said software that is powered by the blended use of AI and human touchpoints will produce a more personalized customer service in the BPO industry.

Genesys CEO Tony Bates

According to Genesys CEO Tony Bates, the blended approach will thrive despite the industry projections of automation completely overturning human interactions. Bates said its system design is a customer experience that does not solely rely on chatbots.

Based on a research Genesys commissioned with Vitreous World, most consumers are having a generally positive experience with chatbots, with reservations to more complex problems. With the American demographic, a high 38% of them believe perceive chatbot experience as politer. And as long as the commands are simple enough, i.e. account balance checking or order confirmation requests, 73% of the respondents react positively with their use of chatbots.

Bates explained: “We’ve really tried to design a system that allows that flexibility that is not limited to the chatbot. They can do things very well and there’s positive reception, but when you get to the next level of escalation, you need to get to a different experienced person. I think it’s a big opportunity to really change the notion of an agent, of the BPOs, to get to higher skills and knowledge.

But for a country like the Philippines, a leader in the BPO industry when it comes to workforce volume even despite a global slowdown, chatbots pose a great risk especially when it comes to more automated customer experience services. This proved a factor why Genesys restructured to two business units — Cloud and Core. The Core unit will focus on PureEngage and PureConnect on-prem and cloud services while the Cloud unit will be a fusion of PureCloud and workforce engagement management (WEM) groups that equip agents with the tools for personalization-oriented service.

When asked if this positioning will enable them to capture the market share of Avaya in the market, Bates answered positively. He also noted that displacements and movement have been a growth area for the company with YoY growth of 170%, as well as new digital transformations. But according to a recent statement from Avaya, their company is still able to remain relevant contrary to what Genesys claims, since they recently rolled out their enterprise private cloud offering called ReadyNow.

“I respect all competitors. I really don’t enjoy to talk about the negatives of our competitors, but the world we live in, you have to invest,” said Bates. “We invest in R&D more than our four closest competitors today. This is a constant game of investment, and some of the incumbent players like Avaya, have had a challenge to move across the different operating models.”

Bates also pointed out that they chose to attach more than 60% of workforce engagement to every contact center that they sell right now on the cloud.

He said, “I have a vision, for all of us at some level, will have some kind of AI assistant. All of us need to improve, there’s things that can be automated, and it will go along inside everyday life. But it won’t take away what real value is — the expertise, the knowledge, the personalization. And that comes from a blended approach.”

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