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Zendesk AI Enhances AI Tools for Bots and Agent-Driven Interactions

Zendesk AI Enhances AI Tools for Bots and Agent-Driven Interactions

The News: Zendesk announced Zendesk AI, its CX-focused generative AI tools and features that are designed to enhance customer satisfaction, improve productivity, and drive customer loyalty. The solutions include the deployment of generative AI-powered bots to enable better self-service tools and AI-generated conversation summaries and transcripts. The announcement also included new data privacy and protection tools to help ensure that generative AI is safely and securely deployed.

You can read the press release announcing the news on Zendesk’s website.

Zendesk AI Enhances AI Tools for Bots and Agent-Driven Interactions

Analyst Take: With the announcement of new AI tools and features, Zendesk customers can now deploy generative AI across the platform to better support self-service use cases and agent-driven interactions. Zendesk AI enables the use of generative AI-powered bots that are designed to surface information and answers to questions, allowing customers to self-serve via the channel of their choice.

In addition, the company announced the availability of additional generative AI tools to customize and enhance Zendesk’s CX solutions, including AI-generated summaries and transcripts of voice interactions that capture customer sentiment, which Zendesk says will increase agent productivity and reduce costs. Zendesk also announced that its customers have access to advanced safeguards and controls to manage customer data and ensure that generative AI is safely and securely deployed.

Incorporating generative AI functionality to improve the performance of bots for both customer self-service use cases and to serve as an assistant to human agents increasingly is becoming table stakes for CX platform providers. The key differentiator between the various providers is usually related to how well a model can detect the intent of the customer’s inquiry.

Leveraging Intent Detection To Improve Efficiency and Meet Customer Demands

The 2023 Zendesk CX Trends Report found that nearly 70% of consumers expect most companies will use generative AI to improve their experiences. That said, customers ultimately are most concerned about getting their question or issue resolved quickly, efficiently, and completely, without being forced to reauthenticate several times or repeat their inquiry to a bot or a human agent.

To provide intelligent automation at scale, algorithms need to be trained on lots of data. This requisite is Zendesk’s key strength—the company says its generative AI models are trained on millions of interactions, thereby enabling Zendesk to learn common customer phrases and then link them to specific actions. Further, these models benefit from Zendesk’s focus on identifying the customer’s intent, based on context, which can be provided by the vertical industry that is applied. For example, asking for a flight means something completely different depending on whether a customer is at a beer garden versus an airport.

Improving Workflows Through Data Analysis

Zendesk’s large database of interactions is also used via Zendesk AI to identify gaps in the existing question and answer flows. By capturing and analyzing previous inquiries across a wide range of topics customers inquire about, Zendesk AI can suggest new flows to plug holes in queries that are missing keywords or phrases. Furthermore, by leveraging the summarization capabilities of its Zendesk AI technology, support tickets can be analyzed and grouped based on context, enabling agents to resolve similar issues more quickly.

Zendesk AI also includes tone shift, a feature that allows administrators and agents to adjust the tone of a bot’s responses to be more casual or professional to match the brand persona. Further, its new generative AI capabilities allow bots to summarize key information from multiple help center articles, thereby supporting more natural conversations with customers that can lead to providing a more accurate and relevant answer.

Additionally, Zendesk announced AI for Voice, which further reduces manual work for agents working on the phone by summarizing the conversation, generating a transcript, and identifying customer sentiment. This functionality saves time and allows agents to focus on customers’ questions and finding a resolution to their problems instead of on manual work. It also helps the AI model further identify future conversations with similar signals for intent and sentiment.

Promoting Responsibility With Generative AI

As part of Zendesk’s commitment to trust and security, Zendesk says that its platform provides auditability, encryption, and business resilience, and has specific certifications, including Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications. It also incorporates compliance controls to meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

To further support its trust-based approach to AI, Zendesk also announced the launch of its Advanced Data Privacy & Protection package, which offers companies more granular control and flexibility over their customer data, including stronger and more targeted encryption technology, clear specifications on which data is shown and retained, and audit logs that include who accessed and searched for data.

This commitment to data privacy and security is a basic requirement for any vendor deploying generative AI, simply because the key buyers and purchase influencers – which increasingly are IT leaders and C-suite denizens – care most about issues that could expose the firm to liability, rather than AI feature sets and capabilities.

Zendesk’s Focus On AI for Automation

One of the key focus points for Zendesk is clearly intelligent automation and using AI to enable smarter and more intuitive interactions and workflows. The company’s acquisition of workflow automation provider Cleverly in 2021 and the installation of its Cofounder Cristina Fonseca as Zendesk’s head of AI is clear evidence that a core focus remains on automation.

Perhaps most important, Zendesk is applying this intelligent automation to both self-service use cases and the determination for which experiences should be directed to AI-augmented agents. The ability to effectively direct inquiries to the system or human that is best equipped to provide a resolution can be the difference between positive and negative CX.

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:

Zendesk Acquires Workforce Management Software Provider Tymeshift

Zendesk Announces New AI Intelligence Layer to Power Seamless Interactions

Zendesk Launches Conversational Commerce Capabilities

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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