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Webex Introduces AI Capabilities for Contact Center Agent Support

The News: Webex by Cisco has introduced AI-powered functionalities into its Webex Contact Center solution. These capabilities will help support agent well-being by identifying burnout and by leveraging a deepened partnership with behavior change technology company Thrive Global. AI-driven Suggested Responses and Conversation Summaries were also introduced, promising productivity gains and a welcome shift from mundane tasks. Capabilities are in various stages of development.

Webex is also launching a new CX Essentials package that is designed to support companies of all sizes. More information on these announcements can be found on the Cisco website.

Webex Introduces AI Capabilities for Contact Center Agent Support

Analyst Take: The Cisco WebexOne Conference has been filled with energy and some exciting announcements. This particular announcement focuses on both sides of the experience equation, employee experience (EX) and CX. The new AI-driven capabilities promise help for agents with mundane tasks and support for their mental well-being. Supporting contact center agents is crucial. It has always been a high turnover and burnout role and with the extra layers of complexity and channels driven by digital transformation, extra attention should be given to making sure those performing it have the tools they need for their job, are empowered, and are not at risk for burnout. All these factors help agents keep engaged and do their job better, resulting in more positive CX.

Suggested Responses, Conversation Summaries, and Coaching

The leadership team emphasized its intention was not going to be to use AI just for the sake of it, but that they would be deliberate and purposeful. This set of capabilities demonstrates that. AI has best been leveraged within contact centers when it is used for practical purposes.

Suggested Responses is a capability that uses generative AI to suggest responses to agents when responding to customer questions on digital channels. This feature can help to increase productivity, especially when agents are faced with many similar types of questions all day long. Suggested replies is planned to be in beta by the end of 2023.

Conversation summaries and wrap-ups pull together and summarize the issues and resolutions that have happened during self-service, as well as call and chat summaries for both the agent and the customer. This happens automatically. Wrap-up codes and actions are created and, according to Cisco Webex, they eliminate an average of 5 minutes for the agent.

Coaching is an area that helps support improved CX and EX. A dashboard for supervisors shows the best-rated and lowest-rated interactions and produces summaries for supervisors, along with coaching suggestions. Low-rated interactions are also analyzed for coaching opportunities. The Suggested replies feature is set to be in beta by the end of 2023.

Agent Burnout Detection and the Thrive Partnership

Agent burnout is a real issue, and one that is costly both in terms of lackluster employee engagement as well as the actual costs if employees leave. Cisco is working on AI-powered agent burnout detection, which will allow companies to be proactive in their efforts to support agent well-being. Actions such as real-time coaching after a challenging interaction will help agents develop the tools they need moving forward to handle situations differently – ideally in a way that is healthier for them and perhaps better for the customer as well.

This area is a focus area for Webex Contact Center, as evidenced by its deepened partnership with Thrive Global, a behavioral change technology company. Thrive Reset will be integrated into Webex Contact Center, delivering a science-based agent wellness solution in the form of 60 second reset, de-stress, and recharge breaks between customer interactions.

The Webex and Thrive combination uses AI-driven real-time insights to identify when agents are moving to a high stress and burnout level, automatically setting them up for a pause and the Thrive Reset video. The library Thrive offers includes videos on stretching, breathing, mindfulness, and gratitude, combined with relaxing visuals.

Happy agents equal happy customers, and according to Cisco Webex, when a financial services customer trialed its AI-driven burnout analysis in conjunction with Thrive, there was a 4x improvement in time spent handling customer inquiries in addition to improved customer satisfaction scores.

Agent burnout detection application programming interfaces (APIs) are planned to be in beta in February 2024, and Thrive Reset for Webex Contact Center is planned to be generally available in the first half of 2024.

Webex CX Supports Businesses of All Sizes

Although not AI-focused, another announcement of note was the introduction of CX Essentials, designed to support businesses of all sizes. As described by the leadership team, this package targets companies with employees that might need to get involved when resolving a customer issue but who are not really part of the contact center. This use case does not really need a fully featured contact center but does need more than the Webex Customer Experience Basic offering.

The CX Essentials package takes a place between the Webex CX Basic solution and the Standard and Premium offerings.

Webex Introduces AI Capabilities for Contact Center Agent Support
Image Source: Cisco Webex

It connects employees who might be able to solve a problem, with a solution that brings the core capabilities of the Webex Contact Center to Webex Calling users. It is a great way to keep a customer journey moving, with faster resolution and happier customers if they can get their problem solved in that single interaction. The CX Essentials package is planned to be available in the first half of 2024.

Overall, a good slate of improvements to the contact center solution. The company has been seeing a lot of traction in adoption of its contact center solution and is really digging into innovations that will serve its customers, and their customers, well.

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:

Unleashing the Power of AI: Cisco’s Bold Webex Strategy

Webex Advances Digital Sovereignty With New European Partnerships

Cisco Q4 2023 Earnings

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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