Intelligent engagement: Meet the AI pioneers behind billions of customer interactions

16 December 2020

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Imagine you’re on your lunchbreak, and you’ve a to-do list the length of your arm.

First off, you need to upgrade your phone plan. You start browsing online, get talking to a live chat agent, and make the switch. Next, you want to open a new savings account. You call your bank, they use your voice to verify your identity, and you’re set up in no time.

Next you ask fashion brand’s virtual assistant if your new trainers have been dispatched. You receive a WhatsApp notification about your electricity usage. You get to grips with a new ride-hailing app. You look up your tax code. All this, and you’ve still ten minutes left to savour your sandwich.

Today, there’s every chance AI was involved in every one of these interactions. (OK, maybe not your interaction with the sandwich.)

What’s more, there’s a good chance that AI was developed by Nuance.

One company. Billions of AI-driven intelligent engagements.

If you haven’t heard of Nuance, you should have. The company holds more than 3000 patients and its AI-powered, intelligent engagement solutions are currently trusted by 2,500 leading brands worldwide—including 9 of the top 10 telcos, and 19 of the top 20 financial services organizations. They support 31 billion intelligent customer interactions, and prevent  £1.5 billion in fraud losses every year. So, how did one company come to support so many smart customer experiences?

Nuance has been delivering award-winning AI for over 20 years. Having pioneered speech recognition and Natural Language Understanding technologies—the tech that helps IVRs to direct your call to the right person, and smart speakers to understand your request—the company rapidly expanded its focus to include conversational AI.

Conversational AI and omnichannel digital engagement

Whether you’re chatting to a virtual assistant online or over the phone, conversational AI is what allows it to hold a human-like conversation. It’s at the heart of Nuance’s own virtual assistant, Nina, which has been deployed by everyone from H&M and Swedbank, to the Australian Tax Office—and has been ranked first for enterprise customer service by Forrester.

But as Nuance’s Sebastian Reeve Director of International Go-To-Market explained to us, even the best virtual assistant can’t meet the digital needs of today’s customers on its own.

“As digital channels have evolved, most brands have added point solutions over time,” says [Insert SME Name]. “Too often, the result has been costly, siloed operations and fragmented customer experiences. We’re solving that problem. Our digital engagement platform brings together our virtual assistant, live chat, and multi-channel customer messaging and proactive notifications, as well as agent tools and contact centre analytics.”

Plenty of customer-centric brands already share Nuance’s vision. The Netherlands’ leading telecommunications provider, KPN, has seen great success integrating its VA with live chat.

Pioneering biometric security technologies

For many years, one of the highest barriers to better customer—and agent—experiences has been knowledge-based authentication. Asking your customers to provide passwords or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is often a slow and stressful process for all involved. And with so many people’s PII now for sale on the dark web, it’s an increasingly ineffective check.

Nuance, as you might expect, has applied AI to the problem. Its award-winning biometric security solutions include technologies that identify customers by the sound of their voice, the language they use, and even how they hold and interact with a mobile device.

In the UK, the company’s voice biometrics solutions have already helped Barclays Wealth and Investment Management shave 15% off its average call times. In Mexico, they’ve helped Santander cut average authentication times by 42 seconds, and in Spain, they’ve helped Telefónica to identify, prioritise and protect its elderly customers during the pandemic.

And in Germany—well, you can watch Deutsche Telekom tells its own biometrics story.

AI-assisted fraud prevention at RBS

But voice biometrics technology has applications beyond simpler, faster customer authentication. Some brands are using the tech to bolster fraud prevention by comparing the voice of people ringing their contact centre to the voiceprints of known career criminals. With the help of Nuance Security Suite, Royal Bank of Scotland has been able to identify one in every 3,500 calls as a fraud attempt.

Even a single positive ID can have a huge impact, as Jason Costain, the bank’s head of fraud strategy and relationship management, explains. “One prolific fraudster identified through Nuance Security Suite was connected to suspect logins on 1,500 bank accounts,” he says. “That’s helped us protect potential fraud victims and identify the ‘mules’ being used by the crime network to perpetrate fraud, leading to two arrests so far.”

Dive deeper in our next article!

In the next article in this series, we’ll dive deeper into how brands are rethinking customer engagement with conversational AI.

In the meantime, why not check out Nuance’s Creating Compelling Customer Conversations  webinar series. You can watch previous episodes on-demand, and hear some of Europe’s leading brands explain their own adventures in intelligent engagement and biometric


Nuance Communications