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One of UK’s Largest Retailer M & S to Use AI to Replace Call Center Staff

Artificial intelligence is rumoured to be the next global technological revolution. Currently, it appears to have penetrated into various industries across the globe and is expected to soon change how human live, interact, work, and receive services among other benefits.

Also, this groundbreaking is proving to be quite useful in carrying out mundane tasks in various companies in a bid to allow human experts to deal with more important jobs. For instance, Mark & Spencer (M&S) is substituting call center staff with an AI-driven chatbot, which is made to rapidly handle customer complaints.

For this undertaking, Mark & Spencer will utilize software from various technology companies including Google and Twillo in an effort of automating its calls’ routing. Before the company embarked on this revolutionary endeavor, individuals calling M&S would require to speak to a human operator in a bid to be transferred to the ideal department for the preferred assistance.

READ MORE: 10 Powerful Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Retail

READ MORE:  World’s Largest Clothing Brand H&M Turns to AI to Reverse Sales Slump

The new groundbreaking tech or AI-powered chatbot will be rolled out in all M&S’s 640 UK-based stores, an exercise that is expected to take place by the close of September. What’s more, the technology will be incorporated in all its 13 call centers spread out across the United Kingdom.

Despite the massive implementation of the technology, all jobs have been retained and the company said that it intends to reassign more than 100 employees to in-store duties.

M&S has always been viewed as an ideal place to work. In fact, it has been training its staff on digital skills in response to the ongoing changes taking place in the retail space.

Additionally, the company’s staff can register for longer courses in both AI and Python, even though the relevance of such an undertaking to checkout is not yet identified. M&S has also been collaborating with various firms including Microsoft to introduce AI into the company as well as bring in digital transformation through True, a specialist firm.

Twillo, the company charged with the role of creating the chatbot, claims that the AI-powered technology cannot only correctly recognizes 90 percent of queries but it can also direct a call in seconds.

The company also said that the M&S solution can deal with over one billion inbound telephone calls in a month. Even so, it can do other roles including transcribing the customer’s speech into text in real-time, determining caller intent based on the transcribed text, and routing the call to the right department.

What is not clear about the new tech is how it will deal with accents. In the past, voice recognition systems like Amazon Echo and Siri have struggled with Yorkshire and Scottish accents among several others. Nevertheless, if the software does not understand what a customer wants, it will ask various questions in a bid to prompt him or her to rephrase.

M&S’s IT Programme Manager Chris McGrath acknowledged the fact that M&S needs to modernize. He added that the company has numerous backstage resources just sitting in switchboards, which handle such calls manually. However, Chris said that they are getting the resources onto the shop floor to get them to talk to customers as they are meant to do.

Source Telegraph

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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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