Capitalising on AI and Contextual Communications

Monday 23 April 2018

A lot of businesses continue to rely on phone and email as their main types of communication. Work conversations like these have been normalised as a separate task or ‘special’ sort of interaction, which happen using a completely separate gadget or platform, away from the related task or process they are engaged in. 

The result is that these communications are devoid of context, and/or separated from the information pertinent to that exchange. Not only is this frequently frustrating and complicates the interaction, but it’s not how the digital generation want to communicate - or even, increasingly, how they are used to communicating. 

What is contextual communication?

Adding context to business communication is a simple step that can vastly improve its effectiveness. Contextual communications is the act of embedding rich media comms like voice, text and video capabilities inside an application, website or device - as an integrated part of the workflow and process of the application or site, rather than as an adjunct. It enables person to person, and person to application, interactions to become centered around, and informed by, the specific task.  This will result in improving efficiency and accuracy, as well as ensuring that users are informed to make the most intelligent decisions every time by presenting the most relevant transactional or trend-based data. It also facilitates a more natural flow between different communications types (for example, a chat session becoming a voice call) without losing that context or information.  It is enabled by the new-found prevalence of open web standards like WebRTC, which makes it straightforward to develop, and is pervasive across almost any connected device or web browser without needing to install plugins or download any special software - and tackles the problem of siloes.


How does it impact businesses and customer experience?

For many processes, it will mean workers and customers won’t even think about communication as a distinct, friction-bearing operation. Rather, it’ll simply be something that happens as they move in and out of the collaboration or communication phase of a task or workflow.


For customer focused businesses, contextual communications allows service agents to much more quickly and easily predict or pre-empt why a customer is contacting them. An agent would be able to see instantly which web page a customer is on before they hit the ‘click to call’ button, how they got there, and what other services they use. Additional context such as that customer’s previous contact history can also set the stage for more meaningful interactions.


For employees communicating with partner organisations outside of their firewall, contextual communications makes life easier by simplifying interactions, providing context and relevant information instantly and removing the need to download plugins. For example, a video conversation where participants simply click on a web link to get connected and that allows everyone to access the relevant current and historical documentation from within the same link - all without having to context switch to create a traditional conference phone call.


Even entirely new services could be created. For example, forward-thinking housing associations, and other organisations that provide accommodation to vulnerable people, are already improving daily contact for thousands of people in real time. By analysing patterns of communication they can identify when the cognitive state of an individual is changing, and give a predictive assessment about the needs of every resident calling in to them before that call is even answered.


Contextual communications is the open, pervasive and simple way to communicate that opens up new opportunities to add value to businesses. It makes it much easier for customers to interact with businesses using all, and any, available media. Key business functions like sales and support can make customer engagement quicker, more intelligent, human and ultimately more memorable – adding real value beyond cost savings and efficiency.


Join Rob Pickering, CEO at IPCortex for his presentation on ‘how to optimise value by adding AI and context into communications’ at UC Expo on Thursday 17 May at 13: 40.