Optus is using a Google Cloud-based contact centre system to underpin a large-scale customer service transformation announced at the end of last year.
The telco will today unveil a three-year “strategic partnership” with Google Cloud, under which it is the first telco in Australia and New Zealand to use Google’s contact centre AI or CCAI platform.
CCAI comprises three products: Dialogflow for automating interactions and self-service, Agent Assist to help contact centre agents find information while they are on calls, and a contact centre “insights” tool.
CCAI is the platform piece that will enable Optus to transform customer service.
Until now, it had not been clear how Optus was technologically enabling this restructure.
CCAI will “support [Optus] customers in reaching dedicated support teams 24/7 via messaging and eventually voice services”, Google Cloud said in a statement.
That would appear to suggest that the initial CCAI-powered contact channel for Optus is text-only, and that voice-based - “conversational” - interaction with an AI-powered virtual agent will come later.
In any event, whether the interaction is text- or voice-based, the intent is the same: ensuring customers with problems can skip “complicated phone menus and complex routing” of calls internally while the right person or department is found, and have a response from a subject matter expert (SME) inside each dedicated support team.
This, Google Cloud said in a statement, “is made possible thanks to [our] enhanced natural language recognition technology, alongside faster processing and real-time access to customer insights, to enable shorter call times, faster resolutions, and a more natural and streamlined experience for customers.”
A brief demonstration of CCAI at Google Cloud Next ‘20 late last year showed that the platform is trained to recognise keywords or phrases in order to correctly route and resolve the interaction.
In addition, Optus is using Agent Assist in CCAI to power “a real-time digital assistant that gathers relevant articles within the knowledge base and recommends personalised responses, enabling Optus customer care experts to get to the root of customer queries faster with the right answer.”
Optus digital consumer vice president Vaughan Paul said that telco customers “expect more from their experiences in this digital-first era.”
“Google Cloud’s technologies allow us to blend digital and human experiences, which has been transformative for our customers,” he said.
Optus claimed its use of CCAI “has already resulted in a reduction in customer resolution times”, though it did not elaborate on the measure.
Google Cloud ANZ vice president Mark Innes added that “by supporting Optus with its industry-first use of our AI and machine learning technology, we can create a hyper-personalised and seamless experience that drives better customer engagement and differentiates Optus in the market.”