Everything You Need To Know About Google’s Agent Assist

In a bid to ease the burden of customer support teams globally, tech giant Google recently announced the launch of Agent Assist for Chat, which is now available for public preview.

Developed under Google’s Cloud’s Contact Center AI (CCAI), AI-powered Agent Assist tool provides customer service agents continuous support during their calls and chats with real-time insights and recommendations (articles, responses and FAQs) to effectively resolve queries.

Google claimed its enterprise customers using Agent Assist have managed to handle up to 28% more conversations while also increasing customer satisfaction by 10%. The company also said their customers were able to respond up to 15% faster to chats.

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Besides Agent Assist, Google’s CCAI tools also offer Virtual Agent (powered by Dialogflow) and Insights. Verizon, State of Illinois, Marks & Spencer, GoDaddy, and easyJet are using the tool.

Recently, Google relaxed the pricing for new customers using its Virtual Agent platform. Accordingly, the customers will receive a $600 credit for a free trial of Dialogflow CX. The credit amount would be activated upon using Dialogflow CX for the first time and expires in 12 months. 

The latest announcement by Google comes when companies are heavily impacted by Covid-19 and are struggling to manage their customer support teams globally. Agent Assist platforms become crucial to boost the performance of contact centre agents by assisting them in real-time, during live customer chats or interactions.  

IBM’s Watson Assistant, Azure Machine Learning Studio, TensorFlow, and Amazon SageMaker are the other major players.

According to Grand View Research Inc, the global contact centre software market is expected to reach a valuation of $90.6 billion by 2028. The market is expected to scale at a CAGR of 21.1% from 2021 to 2028. The industry’s growth is driven by the rise of social media platforms, alongside the growing need to cater to constantly changing customer needs. 

Gartner said customers would prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service customer conversations by 2023. IDC Research found single-function contact centres are increasingly rare across the world. In 2020, although the voice is still responsible for most interactions (18%), email and live chat accounts (without automation) for 13% and 8% of interactions, respectively. 

Why Agent Assist? 

Previously, when managers saw contact centre volumes increase, they had two options: allowing customers to wait long to speak to someone (at the cost of customer satisfaction) or hiring more agents (increasing cost). Google claimed that by deploying CCAI, agents now effectively manage customer interactions while maintaining high-quality service effortlessly.   

Google’s latest AI-powered chat assistant platform, Agent Assist, uses machine learning technology to provide suggestions to human agents when conversing with a customer. The recommendations are tailor-made as per business needs and uploaded data. 

Google said its Agent Assist provides two key features to help agents manage conversations better — Smart Reply and Knowledge Assist.  

While Smart Reply automatically suggests responses to the human agent each time the end-user uses a question, its Knowledge Assist feature provides articles and FAQ (frequently asked questions) to agents in real-time as the conversation progresses. 

Telecommunications company Optus said it sees great potential in Agent Assist to minimise representatives’ workload by providing response and typeahead suggestions, helping improve the efficiency of their agents. The company also said it has been using Google’s CCAI Dialogflow CX.

London-based travel tech company LoveHolidays said it uses Agent Assist to support its agents and customers in the travel industry. Director of CX Engineering & Business IT at LoveHolidays, Eugene Neale, said that Agent Assist gives the power to flex their contact centre staff levels in hours and not weeks. 

Furthermore, Google CCAI’s Agent Assist for Chat, a set of public APIs, can be integrated directly into an agent desktop to control the end-to-end experience. The tech giant has partnered with LivePerson and 247.ai to boost its solution multifold. 

Amit Raja Naik
Amit Raja Naik is a seasoned technology journalist who covers everything from data science to machine learning and artificial intelligence for Analytics India Magazine, where he examines the trends, challenges, ideas, and transformations across the industry.

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