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Transforming the contact center with AI

July 24, 2018
Dan Aharon

Product Manager, Speech

Daryush Laqab

Product Manager, Contact Center AI

Whether providing useful self-service tools, or offering detailed help through live agents, call centers make effortless customer experience one of their highest priorities. And AI can help.

AI technology and tools today have the ability to make high quality customer service accessible to all customers, 24/7, and without wait times, all while helping live agents better anticipate and respond to customer needs.

Today we’re announcing new features and solutions that will greatly benefit contact centers.  These include:

  • New features in Dialogflow Enterprise Edition to help you build AI-powered virtual agents for the contact center, including phone-based conversational agents known as interactive voice response (IVR).
  • Google Cloud Contact Center AI solution that includes these new Dialogflow features alongside other tools to assist live agents and perform analytics.

Empowering the contact center with Dialogflow

Dialogflow was created to help developers build interfaces that offer engaging, personal interactions. And with a community that’s now surpassed more than 600,000 developers, it’s become a trusted tool for building natural, cross-platform conversational experiences without needing expertise in natural language processing or AI.

In the past year Dialogflow has announced a number of updates, including an inline code editor, multi-lingual support, an analytics dashboardspeech integration, the general availability of Dialogflow Enterprise Edition and the v2 API, and support for multiple versions/environments.

Today we’re introducing new features that are particularly useful for contact centers. These features can automate simple, common interactions, freeing up live agents to focus on more complex issues.

Phone Gateway Beta

With Dialogflow Phone Gateway, you can assign a working phone number to your virtual agent and begin taking calls in less than a minute—all without infrastructure, on a platform that scales as much or as little as you need. All of the telephony infrastructure, speech recognition, speech synthesis, natural language understanding and orchestration are managed for you automatically so you won’t need to stitch together multiple services to build a phone application.


Knowledge Connectors Beta

Dialogflow Knowledge Connectors can understand unstructured documents like FAQs or knowledge base articles, complementing your pre-built intents with automated responses sourced from internal document collections, enriching the conversational experience with little extra effort. The added information extracted from your knowledge is seamlessly blended into your Dialogflow agent, saving the need for complicated integrations between multiple tools. Knowledge Connectors are available to try today, with unlimited usage available in the next few weeks through a new Enterprise Edition Plus plan.


Automatic Spelling Correction Beta

Natural language understanding can sometimes be challenged by spelling and grammar errors in a text-based conversation. Dialogflow can now automatically correct spelling mistakes using technology similar to what’s used in Google Search and other products.


Sentiment Analysis Beta

Sentiment Analysis relies on the Cloud Natural Language API to optionally inspect a request and score a user's attitude as positive, negative, or neutral. That score can flag situations where handover to a human agent is desirable, for troubleshooting a complex issue or otherwise offering a high-touch experience.


Text-to-Speech Beta

Voice is the soul of conversational IVR, so it’s important to give Dialogflow users building those apps robust text-to-speech capability that requires minimal development. That’s why we’ve added native audio response to Dialogflow, complementing existing Speech-to-Text capability. By taking advantage of DeepMind’s WaveNet technology, it closes the voice-quality gap with human voice (based on the Mean Opinion Score for voice quality) by over 70 percent. And when used in conjunction with the Dialogflow Phone Gateway, it’s optimized for phone calls.


Note that Google has several technologies that help users take action or communicate over the phone, and while Dialogflow and the recently announced Duplex share some underlying components, they have distinct technology stacks overall.

Enhancing the contact center experience with Contact Center AI

Giving developers the tools to build their own conversational interfaces is only part of the story when it comes to transforming the contact center. Many enterprises need a more comprehensive solution which seamlessly integrates automation with live agent support and robust analytics. To meet this need, we’re introducing Contact Center AI, a new solution that includes all the newest Dialogflow features with additional tools tailored towards contact center support and operations.

Agent Assist Alpha

Agent Assist system supports the conversation and provides the agent with relevant information—for example, suggested articles and shortcuts for fulfilling relevant tasks—in real time.

Contact center analytics (Conversational Topic Modeler) Alpha

Conversational Topic Modeler uses Google AI to analyze historical audio and chat logs to uncover insights about topics and trends in customer interactions. These topics and trends can also contribute to the development of a virtual agent that is tailored to the contact center’s requirements, as well as surfacing areas to improve agent training and knowledge base content.

Thanks to our strong partner relationships, Cloud Contact Center AI easily integrates with technologies and services from other trusted contact center providers.

We’re also working with several of these partners—including Appian, Chatbase, Cisco, Five9, Genesys, Mitel, Quantiphi, RingCentral, Twilio, UiPath, Upwire, and Vonage—to engage with us around the responsible use of Cloud AI. This includes best practices such as disclosing when customers are talking to a bot, and education around issues such as unconscious bias and the future of work. We want to make sure we’re using technology in ways employees and users will find fair, empowering, and worthy of their trust.

What our customers are saying

How Ticketmaster is using Dialogflow

Ticketmaster is exploring using Dialogflow in a number of different ways, like integrating it with its customer service IVRs to assist with intent recognition. It’s also building enhanced self-service features using Knowledge Connectors to help address its substantial volume of inbound calls.

According to Ticketmaster product manager Tariq El-Khatib, “Today, a lot of our customer calls are ‘general’ questions about specific events and venues that have to be handled by a live agent because the details vary by event. Now, with Knowledge Connectors, we can begin to explore answering those questions within the IVR, giving our customers easy, 24/7 access to that information without having to constantly build new intents. We're excited that Dialogflow continues to align with the Ticketmaster mission to build innovative products that help provide the best services and live event experiences in the industry for our clients and fans.”

How American Financing is using Cloud Contact Center AI

American Financing is using Cloud Contact Center AI to intelligently route calls. “We’ve been a Vonage customer for three years, leveraging their unified communications and contact center solutions,” said Duane Kibbee, Director of Technology for American Financing. “Now, using the Vonage CX Enablement Suite integrated with Google Cloud Contact Center AI, we’re taking our contact center to the next level. This solution will allow us to route calls to the most skilled agents and provide after-hours support without using a third party. We expect it to create a seamless, more meaningful customer experience through contextual communications, while also reducing costs.”

Getting started

Developers can get started with Dialogflow today—visit the Dialogflow website for more information.

Contact Center AI is available exclusively through our partners. For more information, sign up here.

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