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8×8 Adds Voice to AI Self-Service Capabilities

8x8 Adds Voice to AI Self-Service Capabilities

The News: 8×8, Inc., a provider of integrated cloud contact center and unified communications solutions, has introduced voice conversational AI to its 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant. This enhancement expands the platform’s capabilities, enabling businesses to create seamless digital and voice channel experiences. More information about the addition of voice conversational AI to 8×8’s Intelligent Customer Assistant can be found on the 8×8 website.

8×8 Adds Voice to AI Self-Service Capabilities

Analyst Take: The CX technology ecosystem is a broad one, encompassing solutions such as customer data platforms (CDPs), customer feedback, personalization, customer data and analytics, and contact center technology. As a CX analyst, over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time writing and talking with companies about, not shockingly, AI. In the scheme of CX technologies and AI, the contact center has been taking up an increasing share of AI-infused product announcements lately. This makes sense as the applications in this segment are practical and cost-saving and span both CX and EX, providing a potentially higher ROI. 8×8’s addition of voice to its Intelligent Customer Assistant fits the bill.

This feature uses conversational AI to offer customers another avenue for self-service. It is an add-on to 8×8 Contact Center and is delivered via the 8×8 eXperience Communications as a Service (XCaaS) integrated cloud contact center and unified communications platform, which includes cloud contact center, business phone, video meetings, team chat, and SMS capabilities.

The company started with digital self-service in March 2023, and in this most recent announcement, 8×8 Chief Product Officer Hunter Middleton alluded to future rollouts in this area:

“Since the launch of 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, the feedback we’ve received has been astounding. Our customers have been thrilled by the ability to easily reduce resolution times for simple inquiries as well as being able to handle a significant portion of customer interactions without requiring an agent. As voice remains an increasingly relevant and preferred channel of communication, we are continuing the momentum we’ve already seen with the introduction of a conversational AI voice self-service option and look forward to allowing 8×8 customers to design more channels, deploy additional use cases, and exceed their organization’s customer experience targets,” says Middleton.

The 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant conversational AI self-service solution is powered via a partnership with Cognigy. In general, self-service offers many benefits to a contact center as well as the individual customer. For contact centers, there is the potential for end-to-end automation and lower costs. For customers, a potentially faster resolution, a consistent experience across geographies and languages, and if done well, personalization.

Now in open beta, the new voice self-service for 8×8 Intelligent Customer Assistant will help streamline interaction workflows and lessen manual data collection. The add-on also offers insights based on conversations and built-in analytics, monitoring, and reporting. It can be built and deployed quickly and has many turnkey integration options. Important to the customer, the voice bot interaction can provide context to the agent if a transfer is required, hopefully avoiding too many repeat questions needed to get background.

8×8’s Deepening Contact Center Commitment

These 8×8 product enhancements show 8×8’s deepening commitment to its contact center solution set. In a recent briefing with The Futurum Group, Jessica Smith, 8×8’s director/head of contact center as a service (CCaaS) product marketing, spoke about the company’s goal of delivering functionality that brings customer obsession to life, and leading that charge with the contact center. Smith also spoke to the company’s desire to work toward a more data-driven contact center, acknowledging that often the data needed to best provide a great customer journey is sitting in disconnected repositories and that unleashing and combining that data was, and will continue to be, a priority area for 8×8 along with AI and automation.

Smith specifically brought up the bot experience, and 8×8’s desire to make implementation easy. “For our particular market, something that we noticed is that a lot of available solutions make it very complex for the business. We wanted to provide a bot experience that would be easy for companies to design and deploy right out of the box, and to also get the right data out of what was actually happening,” says Smith.

“Another factor that was truly important to us was ensuring that as a customer was having a digital interaction, and if they potentially needed an agent escalation, that it would be friction-free and when that transfer happened to a live agent, all the context went with the transfer. That was something very core to our launch and I think is something all consumers can relate to.”

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

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Author Information

As a detail-oriented researcher, Sherril is expert at discovering, gathering and compiling industry and market data to create clear, actionable market and competitive intelligence. With deep experience in market analysis and segmentation she is a consummate collaborator with strong communication skills adept at supporting and forming relationships with cross-functional teams in all levels of organizations.

She brings more than 20 years of experience in technology research and marketing; prior to her current role, she was a Research Analyst at Omdia, authoring market and ecosystem reports on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and User Interface technologies. Sherril was previously Manager of Market Research at Intrado Life and Safety, providing competitive analysis and intelligence, business development support, and analyst relations.

Sherril holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from University of Colorado, Boulder and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University.

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