At GITEX 2023, Avaya brings generative AI to the future of customer experience

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

The GITEX Global show kicked off this week in Dubai. For those unfamiliar with the event, it is the largest enterprise tech show in the world, with hundreds of thousands of attendees spanning 41 halls across two venues. I have been looking forward to this show as the 2023 edition of GITEX theme is “AI in everything,” and I was hoping to see some strong use cases for the technology.

One of the vendor’s stands I stopped in at was Avaya LLC’s. As a contact center vendor, the infusion of AI into the software stack transforms how businesses interact with customers. At GITEX, Avaya created some concept demonstrations to highlight what’s possible in the world of customer experience when AI is married with the contact center. Avaya went all-in on a new term — “Generative CX.” The company believes artificial intelligence will “sit at the core of customer experience transformation, touching everything from agent experience to customer satisfaction to operations.”

Much of the buzz about AI is just that — buzz. We’re either marveling at how Chat GPT answers questions or thinking about the scary possibilities for the future. However, many companies are working to use this fast-evolving technology to solve the problems of long-suffering information technology and CX executives but have a hard time envisioning what’s possible. Avaya’s demonstrations were designed to help business and IT leaders glimpse into the near future to better understand use cases.

Although all the vendors have been working on generative AI in the contact center, Avaya’s demos were unique. Almost all solution providers can show how AI can change how customers interact with a brand or how agents can use AI to be smarter and more informed. Avaya is using generative AI across every role that touches the contact center. This includes job functions involving analytics, workforce management and how supervisors interact with agents.

At the show, this was punctuated by Nidal Abou-Ltaif, senior vice president and global head of sales at Avaya and president of Avaya International, who said the company’s customers want to use large-scale AI as the core of their CX transformations.

“Until now, AI in the contact center has typically been at the front end, usually answering routine customer questions in the form of intelligent virtual assistants,” he said. “Today, we’re demonstrating how AI can also be extended to the heart of the contact center, creating workflows, reports and helping agents better serve their customers.”

ZK Research enterprise surveys and conversations with CIOs confirm Avaya’s thinking that almost 70% of executives plan to use GenAI to enhance customer service over the next three years. CIOs we’ve talked with are excited about the prospects of gen AI in the contact center, but they’re skeptical about how to get there.

The vision for Avaya’s Generative CX concept shows a roadmap that executives can look to. At GITEX Global 2023, the company shared three use cases focused on how CX leaders can type out the workflows they want, with the solution instantly sharing a full customer journey map that can poured into the Avaya Experience Platform.

One example is helping customers get the needed service by typing phrases in plain English. The demo showed a customer interacting with a virtual agent to book a cruise. The user can, in plain English, explain how long they want to go, how many people they would like to book for, and for how many customers, and the machines would generate recommendations and help with closing the deal and processing payment.

In addition, the company shared how a contact center manager could gather insights by just typing natural language requests into Avaya’s interface. For example, Avaya showed a supervisor dashboard that can measure the agent’s happiness level. Avaya can determine whether the agent is happy, frustrated, content, or something else through the voice channel or what the agent is typing. Avaya can track facial expressions if the user has a camera to see the agent’s mood and how it has changed.

It’s worth noting that when Avaya captures facial information, the emotion calculation is done on the user’s PC and then deletes it shortly after. The data is only captured to measure agent satisfaction, which should alleviate privacy concerns.

The last example showed how generative AI can be used to provide general recommendations on contact center improvements. The system can constantly monitor itself and provide suggestions that lead to incremental changes that can help optimize performance. Use cases include how to cut hold times, improve agent performance, and how customer satisfaction has changed. In then can measure the impact of the metrics tracked and quantify the benefits of the changes.

GITEX Global 2023 is a fascinating event. Billed as the world’s largest tech and startup show, GITEX hasn’t disappointed. But so many announcements and presentations at events like this are all bluster and little substance.

Avaya did something a bit different. It shared an achievable approach with use cases that show the urgent need for CX improvements. These solutions won’t be available until calendar year 2024 but if they are as good as the demos, Avaya has a solid set of generative AI capabilities that benefits all job functions, not just the agents.

In the years to come, the most valuable generative AI solutions, especially in CX, will do more than create “Oh, wow!” moments. Products and services will need to have a real impact fast. Think back to the early days of the web, when many companies talked about the cool things they could do online rather than the productive (or profitable) things. With this latest announcement, Avaya has moved beyond theory to practical solutions that deliver improved experiences through generative CX.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.