Augment Unveils Customer Service Platform Infused with AI

    There is virtually no business process that can’t be rendered more efficient with a little extra artificial intelligence (AI). Augment today revealed that it has developed an AI platform that leverages machine and deep learning algorithms to enable customer service representatives and automated chatbots to work together in a more hand in glove fashion.

    Augment CEO Matt Swanson says the goal should not be to employ chatbots to replace customer service representatives, but rather to employ chatbots and humans in a way that provides a much better customer experience.

    To achieve that goal, Swanson says, Augment aims to leverage AI to enable chatbots to participate in a more natural conversation by being able to make suggestions to customers based on previous interactions. At the same time, however, Augment provides a suite of tools that makes it simpler for customer service representative to monitor those conversations. Once an issue starts to escalate beyond the capabilities of the chatbot, the customer service representative can take over that conversation, says Swanson.

    The truth is that not everyone wants to interact with a human customer service representative. Most of the time, the customer wants to resolve an issue or question as simply and as quickly as possible. Chatbots infused with AI allow that to occur at a greater scale and for less cost. In fact, Swanson says he expects chatbots to reduce reliance on expensive business process outsourcing (BPO) services.

    “We’re already seeing BPO providers starting to struggle,” says Swanson.

    Swanson says relying on chatbots infused with AI reduces reliance on impersonal BPO services typically provided by offshore companies. Instead, organizations can invest in high-value customer service representatives that know their products and service really well, while more routine inquiries are handled by chatbots.

    Augment is not the only IT vendor focused on transforming customer service using AI. Both IBM and Salesforce have set their sights on these types of applications as well. But it is clear that chatbots are already transforming customer service. Many customers can’t distinguish between a chatbot and a human when it comes to simple interactions. But instead of merely replacing humans with bots, the real opportunity now is to provide significantly higher levels of service using human customer service representatives who should have more time to focus on truly delighting the customer.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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