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“I'm sorry, but I do not recognize that response.”

How many times have you heard that sentence while trying to pay a bill, change a service plan, update the address on one of your accounts, or get through to a customer service agent? The answer for most of us? Too many. Gartner predicts that by 2020 a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human, so how do you think your customers feel when they are misunderstood by your company's automated voice recognition system? And why is it that your customers are being misunderstood?

Why isnt natural language understanding naturalv2

We live in a diverse society—the United States really is a melting pot. Think of all the nationalities, races, and ethnicities that make up America. Now factor in age, gender, and location. Just for fun, let's throw in levels of education. Does it make sense for a 23-year-old female Mexican-American born and raised in Oregon to sound phonetically and contextually the same as a 68-year-old male from Louisiana? Are companies setting expectations too high when it comes to automated voice recognition applications?

Not at all. Companies are just making the mistake of misplacing their trust in inferior applications—and still expecting superior results. Fortunately, there are high-end applications—using the most up to date technology—able to understand not only your customers' words, but also, believe it or not, their feelings. It's true.

This impressive technology is called Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and it's a real game-changer, not only for your customers but for your call center agents, as well as your company's bottom line. When NLU is integrated into self-service applications, it represents the way we speak in our day-to-day lives—aka the way we naturally speak—and Natural Language Understanding uses "Natural" language to understand the differences in speech between different demographic groups.

Unlike inferior automated voice recognition applications, those which utilize Natural Language Understanding are able to interpret the differences in language between the hypothetical 23-year-old and 68-year-old customers mentioned above. But how? NLU recognizes the idiosyncrasies of natural language, including mispronunciations, colloquialisms, swapped words, and contractions—to name a few—so that each and every customer's needs are understood.

Not only is Natural Language Understanding able to interpret casual day-to-day speech, but it also provides empathy to your customers, a feature previously unheard of via automated conversation applications. Imagine an automated voice application that could pick up on sentiment, identify it, and then provide a relevant resolution.

Don't delay. All of this natural understanding is fueling Artificial Intelligence (AI) in self-service at an amazing rate. Interestingly enough, Gartner predicts that 15% of all customer service interactions will be handled solely by AI in 2021 -- that's a 400% increase from 2017!

Prepare your organization today for self-service that drives higher customer satisfaction, faster call handling, reduced operating costs, shorter average handle time (AHT), and higher first call resolution (FCR), which means your customers no longer have to hear the dreaded sentence, “I'm sorry, but I do not recognize that response.”