Savio Tovar Dias, Senior Director at Avaya International
What emerging technology are you most excited about at the moment?
For banks to meet and exceed today’s customer expectations, they need to deliver consistently excellent service across all channels, provide a hyper-personalised experience, support mobility with security, and empower employees for better collaboration and customer support.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a fundamental enabler of these objectives. However, presently, most AI projects in the sector are focused solely on entry-level chatbots that automate basic customer service interactions.
We believe the potential for AI to positively impact customer experience extends far beyond this. This is why we are focused on delivering solutions that augment the intelligence of machines. By giving machines knowledge from all channels, we empower AI to create the right outcomes based on the right information.
This in turn enables banks to drive intelligent self-service and significantly reduce errors during customer interactions—all leading to improved brand reputation and trust. Mashreq Bank stands as prime example of a regional bank that has successfully implemented AI to its customers’ benefit.
Working together with Avaya, they have deployed the region’s first digital engagement banking bot which acts as a visual and conversational virtual assistant. This enables their customers to access banking services and complete service requests almost entirely through an AI-powered ‘agent.’
The ‘chatbot agent’ can verify customers, complete transactions, and sign up for new services on the customer’s behalf— from anywhere and through any device.
What are your projections on technology and its impact on the financial services sector this year?
In our latest Avaya Global CX Happiness Index report, we uncovered that for the banking sector, staff knowledgeability, using digital technologies to enhance efficiency, and providing a consistent level of service every time, are among the top five factors driving customer happiness.
Agent Scripting, a flexible, browser-based call flow scripting platform that provides the ability to define in- and out-bound call flows.
Addressing inconsistencies in agent skill sets with a clear rules-based script that adapts in realtime as conversations progress, Agent Scripting provides on-screen, step-by-step guidance to better navigate customer interactions. And through integration with CRM and other back-end systems, the capability can also make invaluable customer data instantly available to agents, enabling more effective service and contributing to a faster time to resolution.
AI Routing, which enables enterprises to leverage AI to more effectively pair customers with the most suitable agents. With a user-friendly dashboard, the solution provides real-time insights and actionable management controls so that even the most demanding customers can have their issues resolved by being paired with the best-trained agents.
Avaya IX Teamspace, which deepens integration with the back office by providing open, rich media chat and messaging capabilities between customers, agents and backoffice staff, for easier, faster, real-time communication and collaboration.
By making back-office subject matter experts easily accessible to customers and front-line agents and providing them real-time context of the customer journey, IX Teamspace can drastically increase resolution speed for customer queries and issues for improved business results.
What would you say is the biggest challenge for banks right now?
The banking sector, across the globe, is at the forefront of digital transformation—in fact, according to Ovum's recent ICT Enterprise Insights report, the banking sector recorded a digital maturity progression index score of 42 per cent, a close second to the telecom sector at 43.9 per cent.
This commitment to innovation has had a measurable positive impact on customer satisfaction. According to research conducted by Avaya—SuperServe: Five Strategies For Superior Customer Service—20 per cent of consumers found that banks most exceeded their customer service expectations, a number that is more than double that of consumers who said the same of other service-centric industries such as airlines, hotels, restaurants and retail.
As fintech technologies, that were once revolutionary, now begin to reach maturity, banks have the challenge of identifying the next set of cutting-edge solutions that are now so vital in gaining the differentiating digital edge.
At the same time, the sector is bound by strong compliance and governance regulations, so any innovation must conform to these restrictions. So the key challenge CXOs and IT decision makers in banks face is defining a long-term vision and ensuring the speed of execution to stay at the forefront of the market.
Tell us more about Avaya Spaces and how important it is for the Middle East market?
The way teams interact with data, technology and their colleagues is rapidly evolving into a richer environment of converged digital channels and modes of communication. Gartner forecasts that by 2023, fewer than one-third of digital workers will choose the office as their preferred place to work.
Organisations need to empower teams to work in more effective and productive ways with their preferred channels and touchpoints, wherever they may be and using whatever devices and platforms they choose.
Avaya is giving organisations the ability to meet these needs with Spaces. This easy-to-use app integrates web meetings and team collaboration, allowing users to create cloud workspaces where they can message, meet, share content and manage tasks. Because Spaces is cloud-based, it is conveniently accessible from any device, via a browser or mobile device. This makes seamless collaboration and communication possible from anywhere, and at any time.
Moreover, Avaya Spaces will soon be available in over 60 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and can support up to 500 video meeting participants. The app features connectivity with existing Avaya IX Collaboration Unit CU360 huddle and SIP-based video room systems and integrations with Google, Slack, Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, and Teams.
What can the market look forward from Avaya in 2020?
In the coming year, we will focus on augmenting the intelligence of machines by giving them knowledge from all channels. By enabling AI to create the right outcomes based on the right information, we are enabling organisations to drive intelligent self-service and significantly reduce errors during customer interactions.
An example of our innovation in this area is the conversational interactive voice response (IVR) with embedded biometrics that can identify customers and provide the option of continuing through visual IVR.
We are also empowering humans to choose the right customer experience and employee experience journeys by giving customers the ability to choose the channel of their choice with the guarantee of consistently exceptional service.
We recognise that by 2020, customer journey analytics will be the main customer analytics investment, with 85 per cent of organisations investing to optimise cross-channel experiences.
In line with this, through the application of analytics, we are personalising interactions across the entire customer journey. For example, by identifying subtle and valuable patterns in human interactions, we facilitate better pairings between customers and agents, to drive better outcomes from resulting conversations.
These analytics also feed into our powerful workforce enablement tools, delivering the ability to transform each employee into a super-agent and brand champion.