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AI: The customer support agent that doesn’t bring the drama or call in sick

(TECH NEWS) The future of customer support is self-service and so far it sucks, but this tool may help.




Getting there

Automated support isn’t exactly a new concept, but we’ve certainly come a long way from, “Please listen closely, for your menu options have changed.” While in some cases convenient, I think most people understand the frustrations of automated voice systems enough to have had at one point one-sided yelling matches with them.

Hint: Sometimes you’ll unlock a human depending on your tone or if you cry “representative!” enough times.

It’s not the best system in place, but when you’re a large company that receives thousands of similar requests a day, a bit of deflection is needed, and that’s what we have to work with, at least until recently.

The awkward subject: job automation

We’ve previously discussed at length regarding what AI (Artificial Intelligence) is and whether or not it should be anything for us to fear. For some, there is a palpable fear of job replacement due to automation.

Fair enough.

Considering we’ve seen many factory jobs replaced due to automation, there is a justifiable reason for concern. As the world continues to change, so does innovative technology but along with that, our ability to adapt to these evolving technologies. More and more businesses are looking toward AI in order to enhance their current support experience.

A 2011 Gartner report states that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be via AI services.

One of the chief benefits of using AI self-service is that it’s adaptable. It can be utilized as a great deflection tool or a provider of support assistance without the end user having to worry about hold times or business hours. This frees up times for more senior agents to handle the more complex issues rather than being tied up with a barrage of simple questions the AI could address in a fraction of the time.

Not to mention, the AI isn’t going to call in sick or request PTO.

Meet your new support agent

One particular AI self-service AI support tool is is a “conversational support self-service that requires no coding” or operational burdens.

The company touts higher satisfaction and NPS as it’s a service that allows for 24/7 support with the ability to deflect up to 33% of tickets, “cutting down on repetitive support inquiries.”

This is a much better alternative for customers who are seeking out help, but either don’t’ know a knowledge base exists or do not have the time or patience to search out the answer they’re looking for.

The AI adapts to the conversation in order to quickly address the customer’s needs. In order for the system to “learn,” you will need to have on hand an FAQ or some sort of knowledge base along with a history of chat/support logs; so keep in mind this may not be ideal for a new business or a business that does not have a record of support inquiries. The AI assistant collects detailed information based on context delivering a 95% accuracy rate in helpfulness, allowing you to resolve complicated issues for end users much more easily. The application integrates seamlessly with other ticketing platforms such as Zendesk and Salesforce allowing you ease of viewing key insights for your day-to-day.

You can enable the self-service on your website by copy pasting a single line of code.

The site is fairly simplistic as there’s not much to see or to navigate to look more into the product. To request a demo you’ll need to provide your email, name, company name, size of your support team, and the customer service platform you’re using. Unfortunately you don’t get the demo right away. It looks like someone will reach out to you directly regarding your request.

I am still waiting on my email, but maybe they can smell BS in a fake business name. I just wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

And so we can only really speculate how well this particular service works, but this is just one of many up and coming AI customer support tools being developed. As someone who’s worked many years doing support-type jobs, I for one welcome our new overlords. With the replacement of old jobs comes the creation of new ones.

Encyclopedia Britannica didn’t see Wikipedia coming,” and look where we’re at now.


Ashe Segovia is a Staff Writer at The American Genius with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southwestern University. A huge film nerd with a passion for acting and 80's movies and synthpop; the pop-cultural references are never-ending.

Tech News

Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.




You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Tech News

Freezetab streamlines how you save tabs in Chrome

(TECH NEWS) Freezetab is the newest chrome extension that allows you to organize saved tabs in a myriad of ways.




Internet made easier

With the browser becoming more and more of a workspace than merely an application, the built in bookmarks tool may leave you a bit hungry for more.

Chrome users who need better tools to organize and manage bookmarks may find the power they need in Freezetab.

Bookmark’s cooler, hotter younger brother

Freezetab seeks to answer the questions of “what if I could organize my bookmarks by website” or “I only want to save all but two of these tabs on zen office designs.” It seeks to give you more options beyond the “one or all” choices in chrome. Here is the lowdown:

  • The calendar feature remembers WHEN you saved a tab – so if you can’t remember the title you can just go back to the day.
  • Chrome either lets you save one or all tabs. Freezetab expands those options to include: all, current, everything but current, right of, left of, or pick and choose.
  • If you are sharing a collection of tabs with a workgroup or a partner, it exports as a nice textbox that is easy to share in integrated messaging, IM, or email. Or even social media!
  • Sorting is robust, and there is a solid search feature that searches as you type.
  • That quick save feature saves all the tabs and closes them – and you can adjust that quick save feature to meet your needs.
  • There is a handy little star feature to note important bookmarks (i.e. recipes and excel techniques).
  • Enhances your close tab capability to close everything to the left and specific tabs – this great if you work in chrome and have 75 tabs open that have one letter names.
  • It is easier to sort tabs after you save them – you can search for them and then sort into folders you create rather manually organizing them into folders.
  • As a bonus: for those who don’t want to have to sort bookmarks – unlike Chrome which requires you to pick a folder or risk turning your bookmarks to an unorganized mess, the extension automatically organizes it for you.

Freezetab findings

After spending a few moments with Freezetab, it does fit in nicely with a workflow. Solidly reviewed, the developer did solve an issue with “pinned” tabs in the 1.2 update. – so it doesn’t remove or add them. The features are nice and easy to use, and it doesn’t require more than five minutes of playing around.

One complaint – if you choose to the right or left of the current tab to close, it did close the active tab as well – which was a little funky. But once you get comfortable with the nuances, it’s easy to use.
The interface is function over form, but you won’t have any problem using or customizing this extension. Now Bookmark smart y’all!


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Tech News

We’ve all seen job listings for UX writers, but what exactly is UX writing?

(TECH NEWS) We seeing UX writer titles pop up and while UX writing is not technically new, there are new availabilities popping up.



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The work of a UX writer is something you come across everyday. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints UX writers work on are interface copy, emails and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find a UX writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must have. Excellent communication skills is a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post.

But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater UX design team. In larger companies some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User centered design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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