AI for business communications gets boost from $50M investment
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The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to aid business communication is not a new thing.
Organizations of all sizes have benefited from automated voice transcription services, as well as contact center automation, in recent years. Among the many vendors that have built technologies to support business communications is cloud communications platform Dialpad, which raised $170 million in funding at the end of 2021. Dialpad has had AI-powered capabilities for the past five years, enabling business users to consolidate their communications.
Dialpad’s AI capabilities have enabled the company to collect over 3 billion minutes of data which is now being used to help train a next generation of functionality.
“The goal is for a company to be able to consolidate all of their communications around Dialpad,” Dialpad CEO and Founder Craig Walker told VentureBeat. “The secret sauce that ties it all together is the artificial intelligence built into that core platform.”
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Dialpad today announced it is investing $50 million in its new AI Labs initiative, which is an effort to build, test and execute enhanced capabilities aimed at providing more predictive and actionable insights to business users.
AI Labs expands Dialpad’s Customer Intelligence Platform
The new AI Labs effort will complement Dialpad’s flagship Customer Intelligence Platform, launched on December 6. The Customer Intelligence Platform is a rebrand of the Dialpad cloud communication platform.
Dialpad’s Customer Intelligence Platform integrates contact center functionality with voice capabilities, messaging, virtual agents and live transcription for meetings. The platform also includes Dialpad’s AI CSAT customer satisfaction technology.
Walker explained that using AI CSAT, Dialpad is able to generate a customer satisfaction score for every interaction a contact center has with a customer. This is a different approach than that used by many organizations, which require customers to fill out a survey after a call. Walker said post-call surveys typically have low response rates — something Dialpad aims to improve with the AI CSAT capability.
As a unified platform, the AI CSAT is able to measure customer satisfaction across all the digital communication tools an organization uses with the Customer Intelligence Platform, including chat and email.
What does $50 million in AI investment buy?
For Dialpad, the AI Labs investment is about providing organizations with new types of capabilities that further help support business operations and customer satisfaction.
AI Labs capabilities will provide experimental features initially available as a preview to Dialpad users.
One such future capability that Dialpad is working on is an AI-powered Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a commonly used metric to measure customer engagement. Walker said research efforts are expected to help predict customer traffic in the future. Additionally, Walker is looking to build out account health coaching capabilities to help organizations better manage user experiences.
As part of a future AI Labs update, Dialpad is looking to develop a recruiter screening capability. Recruiters making candidate screening calls will automatically have the questions they need to ask appear in Dialpad. The candidate’s answers will be captured by the system and can then be fed back into an applicant tracking system.
There are also possibilities to use generative AI to help drive personalization in the Dialpad platform. Dan O’Connell, chief strategy officer at Dialpad, noted that his company’s platform today has virtual assistants for both digital and voice. One of the capabilities of the virtual assistant is to provide suggested answers to questions.
“Generative AI opens up a whole range of opportunities around further personalization for those answers,” O’Connell said.
For example, if six customers ask the same question today, they are all going to get the exact same answer, formatted the same way. With generative AI, O’Connell said there is an opportunity to drive more personalization and customization for responses. Overall, O’Connell emphasized that the goal of the AI Labs effort is to build new features and give users a place to try them out, as well as provide feedback to help improve Dialpad.
As for why Dialpad is specifically investing $50 million as opposed to some other amount, Walker said it’s about fueling continued innovation and getting innovations into the hands of users faster.
“We are going to invest an incremental $50 million in R&D [research and development], on top of everything we’re already doing, to keep pushing boundaries,” Walker said. “We really want to use that investment in AI to help our customers gain insights into how to run a better business.”
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