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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.

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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.

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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 Ult.ai. Ult.ai 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.

#csai

Tech News

Want to save snippets of a Zoom meeting? Listener makes it possible!

(TECHNOLOGY) Listener lets you screenshot or bookmark important sections of live meetings, as well as curate a playlist of snippets, to share or playback.

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Listener for Zoom tool landing page on laptop.

We live in a very computer-mediated world where the bulk of communication is done virtually. Many of us spend a great deal of time – whether for work or pleasure – on video calls connecting with people that we’re unable to meet with in person.

Zoom became the unofficial mascot for the pandemic and has shown no signs of going anywhere. So naturally, people are looking for ways to put this to even more of an advantage – like by creating messaging extensions to utilize in lieu of live meetings.

Now the folks behind Listener are getting in on the action by creating Listener for Zoom.

The new tool allows users to bookmark important moments of Zoom calls in real-time and easily turn long recordings into bite-sized video clips.

As founder Nishith Shah puts it, “Zoom meetings just got more productive!”

Listener allows users to do a myriad of things, including live bookmarking to create short video clips; ability to transcribe your entire meeting; edit video clips by using transcripts instead of struggling with video editing tools; share video highlights with your team; create playlists from video highlights across different Zoom meetings to tell powerful stories; use projects to organize your meetings and playlists.

Founders say that Listener is designed for pretty much anyone who uses Zoom. In early testing, the founders found that it is especially helpful for product managers and UX researchers who do customer interviews.

They also reported that early-stage founders have been using Listener to add powerful customer videos to their investor pitch decks. It is also helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who search transcripts across hundreds of hiring interviews to remember who said what and to pass on important clips to other people in the interview process.

The tool is also beneficial for teams and hiring, as customer success and sales teams create a knowledge base with Listener to train and onboard new employees. They also use it to pass on customer feedback to the product teams.

This could also be great for clipping video elements that are appropriate for social media use.

On January 11, 2022, Listener was awarded #3 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.

Listener for Zoom is free while in Beta. The tool works only with licensed (paid) Zoom accounts.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. 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 these 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 these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are 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 user experience 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 the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric 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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Tech News

How Apple is trying to combat the AirTag backlash (hint – its not working)

(TECHNOLOGY) Apple’s weak-kneed attempts at fixing their AirTags issues aren’t working. They can be placed on anything (or anyone), and it is detrimental.

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Apple airtag being held between two fingers.

A few weeks ago, I wrote up an article on how the Apple AirTag can be used to stalk and track people, and now it’s happening. Unfortunately, not all stalkers have the same glamour as Joe from the hit series You.

Engadget reported that model, Brooks Nader, says someone used an AirTag to track her. Per her account, she didn’t receive the notification until she was walking home, alone, at night. If that’s not scary enough, now imagine she was an android user. The only way for her to know someone was tracking her would be if she had installed the Tracker Detect app.

As stated by TechCrunch, “Apple has made its own post-launch efforts to tighten up how AirTags that don’t belong to a certain user can be detected, but these notifications have proven buggy and have often waited far too long to alert users. Add in the fact that Apple has seemed to treat Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership in order to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence looks a bit more severe.”

The app itself, which was released on December 11, 2021, is getting a lot of negative feedback. One issue is that to see if you’re being tracked you have to manually scan to find the AirTag. How often and when you do that is up to the user. Whereas with the Apple Find My app, it alerts you automatically without the user having to scan anything. It’s not perfect, however. It’s buggy and can take hours to notify the user that an AirTag is tracking them. However, it’s still better than the android app.

Another dreadful scenario that hasn’t been factored in this equation is children. Not all kids have devices, much less Apple devices, nor should they necessarily, but if someone was going to track them, they would be easy targets.

Apple, for the love of all that’s decent, pull AirTags and reconsider how they function. Examine the ways an AirTag could be used without using the mesh network of all iPhone users so that it doesn’t continue to emit a location or, I don’t know, give up. If it doesn’t mean anything to you to risk other’s lives with this product then consider the possible dangerous consequences as a reflection on Apple.

Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity.

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