O2 turn to AI customer service system

3rd Mar 2017

Mobile network O2 has revealed plans to implement an AI system capable of performing the same job as customer service staff.

AURA, as the voice recognition system is known, was revealed by O2’s parent company Telefónica at this week’s Mobile World Congress.

The company say it will enable customers to manage their digital experiences and control the data generated by using Telefónica’s products and services in a transparent and secure manner.

“Cognitive intelligence will allow us to understand our customers better, so they can then relate to us in a more natural and easy way, and generate a new relationship of trust with them based on transparency and the control of their data,” said Telefónica Chairman and CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete during the presentation event. 

“We are pioneers in this relationship model. Never before have the users of telecommunications services been able to talk with the networks in real time. We’re expanding the relationship with our customers, seeking to increase their satisfaction, and opening new possibilities for them so that they can enrich their digital lives with us.”

In the 2017 UK Customer Satisfaction Index, The Institute of Customer Service revealed that the percentage of customers who wanted fast and efficient service (29.3%) was comparable to the percentage who required proactive help and advice, even if this takes longer (30.7%). This means many companies will need to offer a balance between a speedy response, which may be best delivered through automation, and creative solutions, usually better offered by humans.

Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute explains that as customer behaviour and preferences continue to evolve, quick and convenient access to help must be offered by companies. “There has been a growth in interactions with organisations through email, reinforcing the need for a consistent customer experience proposition across all channels.” 

However, she warns that more customers have experienced problems with organisations and have expended more effort to resolve these issues. Any companies implementing automated services must ensure they provide a good service to avoid customer frustration. “This highlights a significant opportunity for organisations to deliver experiences that adapt to customers’ changing needs, as well as enhancing productivity and efficiency,” Causon adds. “It means that organisations need to raise their game in offering customers straightforward, seamless experiences as well as empathetic, proactive help and advice.”

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