13 Questions to Ask Before Investing in a Conversational Intelligence Offering

13 Questions to Ask Before Investing in a Conversational Intelligence Offering

Congratulations on making the decision to invest in Conversational Intelligence. Choosing to offer Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven collaboration capabilities within your product may have been an easy decision, but here comes the tricky part: understanding the best solution for your business.

While cost will likely be a factor in your decision making, there are other not-so-obvious questions you should ask before proceeding. These questions will help you understand whether a horizontal platform is right for you, what features you’ll want to prioritize, what capabilities you need to future proof your solution and more.

1. Do you need real-time transcription or closed captioning in your conversational intelligence solution? 

Real-time transcription is a game-changer for many of our customers. Human recall isn’t perfect and attendance and focus can’t be guaranteed. You’ll want to confirm your solution is flexible if your transcription needs expand in the future. Symbl transcription supports 71 supported languages in 127 locales. Please note: while we transcribe all these languages, we do not translate.

2. Can you monetize and generate value from existing data that your customers have already generated in the form of call recordings or existing call transcripts?

Delivering added value to the post-meeting experience and making it easy for your users to navigate meeting recording content could be the differentiator for your business. With Symbl, you can add an x-ray like feature to your call or meeting recordings. Want an index of contextual topics along with the call recording? No problem. We offer extensible APIs that let you configure and extend the post-meeting summary and analysis for delivery to your user’s inbox for quick action, or other work tools like Slack. The call recording can be searched based on action items, follow ups, and questions asked. AI-powered conversational intelligence turns your recordings into action to keep the teams focused on what matters most.

Long-term benefit: We surface topics as search hints to find other meetings where a particular topic was also raised. And simple custom code helps your customers navigate videos and transcripts in a systematic manner.

3. Do you need a finished product or do you want the flexibility to add capabilities to your own offering that analyzes employee and customer conversations and generates automatic, real-time actions? 

We designed our APIs so a developer can quickly and easily embed the functionality into a company’s own offering without the complexity of building the tech infrastructure behind it. We provide sample code, step by step guides, a thriving developer community for questions, and how-tos to fully support your technical resources in your implementation. And with our stellar support team, your team does not troubleshoot alone. There is power in enhancing your own product with native capabilities of passive embedded intelligence all connected via the same experience.

4. What type of content do you need to analyze?

Symbl is a programmable platform with a comprehensive suite of APIs to analyze any natural voice or text conversation. Our conversational intelligence APIs unlock value using proprietary machine learning algorithms that analyze natural human conversation without the need to gather and annotate training data, and create classifiers from the ground up. Symbl’s APIs can analyze any emails, texts, or human conversation contextually and provide the ability to carry the context across conversations for aggregated analysis. The use cases we support:

  • Real-time streaming audio in applications built over WebRTC
  • Audio data from your telephony systems such as PSTN or SIP
  • Recorded files from call centers, podcasts, or meetings
  • Text data in the form of transcripts, emails, social conversations

We are not a document understanding system and recommend you pursue another solution if your needs extend beyond natural human conversations such as contractual review.

5. What should you consider when weighing whether to build versus buy?

We’ve all heard the horror stories of companies who try to build an in-house solution and years after project kickoff, abandon the project and buy. Unless you have an unallocated data science team and years before you need conversational intelligence, investing in a company with a proven track record gets your company value in days not years. We did the hard work so you can focus on identifying the best user experience for your customers, decide what business model you wish to address, and select what customer segment to use it with first to foster upsells and increase engagement for your applications.

6. Does the solution you are vetting start with training data?

Most AI systems start with gathering the right data set. Over millions of minutes of conversations and the validation across thousands of users, our proprietary algorithms recognize what insights matter most in a workplace conversation – summary topics, action items, questions, ideas, requests, and follow-ups. We built multiple models that look for specific patterns in the conversation data that align dynamically with any type of conversation.

If your solution requires some other type of insight detection that does not fall under the out-of-the-box insights we provide, you might need to start with training data. How much training data is necessary will depend on the system you are building internally and the type of insight you are generating. You can book a call with our AI specialists to solve this use case for your business.  

7. Do you want your solution to depend on a ‘wake’ word?

Many virtual assistants require a trigger word before activating such as ‘Alexa, Siri, OK Google’ to act when commanded to do so. We provide passive and embedded intelligence in your existing digital tools which act as a recommendation system for insights and actions. We do not build chatbot-like interfaces but recommend products like Google Dialogflow or RASA if your needs include a chatbot.

8. How important is cost today and as you scale? Do you have the right ways to reduce cost as you scale for Automatic Speech Recognition ASR and beyond?

Optimizing infrastructure and resources is one way to ensure cost savings. If developing a conversational intelligence system is the mainstream IP for your company, you might want to think about which tool stack can be used off the shelf and which parts you need to develop in-house. Working with the right partners can enable you to save on cost above what you would be able to save independently due to the limit of your own volume needs. 

9. Do you know the right ASR vendor for you and do you want to manage / benchmark ASR?

The right ASR partner will depend on the need for specific ontology, the type of audio data, CODEC, speaker events, and supported dialects, as well as the level of customization needed. We benchmark all existing providers on a monthly basis to determine the best fit with our default offerings and can suggest best practices based on your specific use cases. 

10. Do you want to invest in creating value beyond transcription? 

There are multiple transcription APIs that you can integrate into a business, but the true value is the ability to use the text generated to understand and analyze conversations to generate value and save time. Symbl offers a comprehensive API to integrate over real-time and Async channels so you don’t need to build your own interfaces. We also offer our AI text correction layer that improves transcription accuracy and lets you enable additional AI-powered conversation insights without training and with plug and play pre-built experiences. 

11. What kind of insights and intents do you want to support in your conversation workflow?

You can classify bulk calls based on sentiment and certain keywords. The accuracy of the resulting output depends on the ability of the system to understand the context. Most systems work on domain-specific training and have limitations around keywords. If accuracy is important, you’ll want to consider a solution with contextual insights that go beyond keyword identification.

12. What is the on-going conversational intelligence roadmap and how is it aligned to your other product offerings or other AI capabilities across the company?

Amidst competing business priorities, it is useful to decide if building a team of data scientists to solve the conversation intelligence problem is part of the long term strategy and how it fits in the overall product roadmap of the company. Some questions to answer are: is there more than one product that can leverage the intelligence, do you already have a team of data scientists, or do you want to focus on building the experience and domain intelligence for your users and use off the shelf APIs for the backend. 

13. What is the best experience for your users – part of an existing workflow in product or as part of a new experience or a marketplace add-on?

This is important to consider if you are sensitive to your brand dilution and want to own a native and integrated experience for your users in enabling AI for conversations. Some businesses that do not have a solution for native integrations, end up opening a marketplace of providers for value-added services which end up costing more than the base subscriptions. 

Business should look at conversational intelligence as an opportunity to upsell and increase adoption and engagement with their applications which can only happen if you are enabling the intelligence as part of an existing workflow that users are already familiar with. It takes time to create a new habit which might not be the best place to start if you want to increase engagement. This is a wise principle to keep in mind with any AI/ML capabilities where user engagement and experience is the key to value generation. 

Digital transformation is hard. We’ve published a series of blog posts on some of the most common problems we help you address. 

Recorded Meetings

Sales Enablement

Pay for Performance

Customer Care

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs In Pay for Performance Calling and Answering Machine Detection

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs In Pay for Performance Calling and Answering Machine Detection

Pay for Performance Calling 

There are three components in a successful pay for performance calling solution. 

  1. Answering machine detection
  2. Real-time customer intent capture
  3. Live transcription

Before, companies needed three different vendors to solve for each component. Symbl has a comprehensive suite of APIs manageable from one API interface that addresses all three, saving companies money, time, and resources. Our conversational intelligence APIs unlock value using proprietary machine learning algorithms that identify non-human pickups and analyze and transcribe business conversations as they happen. 

 Answering Machine Detection

Your outbound calling workflow is only as efficient as your call handling expertise. Businesses lose money when an answering machine picks up and their system fails to disconnect in time. Gone are the days of paying for a partial message left on an answering machine because the system thought it was a person. Symbl’s answering machine detection can disconnect calls in as little as 3 seconds. 

At the same time, your systems should respond effectively if a person picks up the phone so you can handle the call well. Phone numbers are expensive and the ability to deliver a first-class customer experience in a cost-effective manner helps companies convert more customers.

 Real-time customer intent capture

Symbl’s programmable platform has a comprehensive suite of APIs to analyze any natural voice conversation once we’ve identified a human pickup resulting in more satisfied callers and agent efficiency. Our machine learning algorithms analyze what is said during the call and turn the conversation into follow-ups like ‘do not contact me again or ‘connect me with an agent to learn more.’ When your business model depends on those intents for revenue and legal obligation, Symbl’s functionality becomes even more critical. 

 Live Transcription

Transcription isn’t all that useful without indexing and categorization. Symbl’s transcription capability provides an accurate reflection of customer input with a complete, searchable transcript of conversations. We also offer our AI text correction layer that improves transcription accuracy and lets you enable additional AI-powered conversation insights without training and with plug and play pre-built experiences.

Accomplish the above using these Symbl APIs:

Real-time assist:

  • Ingest real-time voice conversations using Symbl’s Voice API on SIP or PSTN interfaces for the Call Telephony Integration (CTI) interface your business uses. The Voice API simplifies the implementation complexity and speeds up the overall integration process. This works great with Twilio or Nexmo-like telephony infrastructure that you might already have.
  • Real-time Transcription, Intents, Sentiments and Insights by Voice API as they’re detected will be pushed over the subscribed WebSocket connection from Symbl to your system.

Post-session intent capture:

  • In addition to the real-time assist capabilities described above, companies can use the follow-ups and action items identified using the Conversation API, to automatically manage customer intent and trigger respective business workflows.

Speaker Separation: 

  • In order to get speaker separated transcription, Push Events feature provided by Symbl’s API and Voice SDK will be used to push the speaker events from both (or more) parties. You can also choose to send independent audio streams using our WebSocket integration.

Sign up for Symbl to see how easy it is for your developers to integrate our suite of APIs into your performance calling workflow.

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Customer Care

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Customer Care

The Customer Care Challenge

“It takes months to find a customer… seconds to lose one.”

-Vince Lombardi 

 Whether your business views your contact center as a sales engine, an expert help desk, or customer care, the ability to optimize for effective conversations and reduce average session handling times whether call or chat, are top priorities. Add to that the importance of providing a great customer experience during these conversations and the potential impact these interactions can have on your brand and future growth possibilities should not be underestimated. 

Customer care agents are the front line for many enterprises. A solution that gives them the expertise to quickly assist customers results in happier customers and agents. 

Customer Care Solution

Symbl enables companies to enhance customer interactions and reduce the average session handling time by augmenting the transcription capabilities of the agent and supporting them with the right tools as the session progresses. Symbl’s APIs can enhance your contact center solution with real-time topic detection and suggested knowledge-base articles that a customer care agent can use during a session, enabling the agent to focus on the immediate engagement with the customer and resolve the customer inquiry quickly.

In addition to in-session tools, our APIs enable automation of post-session actions so that agents can manage more sessions while maintaining necessary levels of documentation. 

After a session, increase the agent’s efficiency by automatically pre-filling the call or chat disposition and contextually adding other dimensions to the session log. Artificial intelligence enables the human agent to have access to structured information from the analysis of historical data sets thanks to metadata on call or chat statistics, agent productivity, and most frequently surfaced issues, which when combined result in improved customer experience.

The Symbl Platform

Symbl’s programmable platform is a comprehensive suite of APIs that analyze any natural voice or text conversation. Our conversational intelligence APIs unlock value using proprietary machine learning algorithms that analyze customer care conversations and remove the necessity for your product teams to gather training data and build and maintain complex AI systems designed for conversation understanding. 

Benefits for users of your Symbl enhanced offering:

  • Improved customer experience thanks to better-equipped agents
  • Faster issue resolution from automated real-time actions
  • Discovery of additional areas for training and benchmarking personnel 
  • Systematic visibility into gaps in product or services capabilities 
  • Reduction in average session handling time

Accomplish the above using these Symbl APIs:

Symbl’s APIs allow for both real-time AI capabilities as well as aggregated intelligence all within the same API interface.

Real-time agent assists for voice, chat, emails, and video: 

  • Ingest real-time voice conversations using Symbl’s Voice API on SIP or PSTN interfaces for your call center product or the Call Telephony Integration (CTI) interface your business uses (info to connect with our dev team if you are looking for a specific CTI connector can be found below). 
  • Extract real-time transcription using the Conversation API – to help the agent get a better understanding of the conversation – as it happens 
  • Extract real-time topics using the same Conversation API to recommend knowledge-base articles linked to the contextual topic of discussion to help the agent access the right information faster  

Post-session dynamic dashboards for agents on voice, chat, emails and video:

  • In addition to the real-time agent assist capabilities described above, companies can use the follow-ups and action items identified using the Conversation API, to automatically add follow-up appointments for the customer or agent 
  • Together, the action items and topics can be used to provide recommendations of what business processes to execute for the customer 

Aggregated support intelligence for contact centers: 

  • Add analysis from emails or chats using our Async Text API in addition to the voice conversations connected to the same customer with contextual understanding to derive actionable insights based on the historic conversation timeline of the customer’s support interactions.
  • Aggregate the voice or text conversations across all customers to understand sentiments across touchpoints, repeated topics, issues or upgrade requests and the preferred channels of conversations. All this information is available per conversation using the Conversation API and can be used to easily derive patterns from bulk data (connect with our dev team if you are looking to create differentiated revenue intelligence dashboards for your customers here). 
  •  Process the vast amounts of recorded data already present in your business using our Symbl Async API for Voice to enhance this aggregated intelligence and derive actionable insights and growth opportunities.  

 

Sign up for Symbl and see how easy it is to integrate our suite of APIs into your customer care contact center workflow.  

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Sales Enablement

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Sales Enablement

The Sales Enablement Challenge.

 Sales pipelines are only as good as the deal intelligence that feeds them. Accurate projections and revenue targets can have far-reaching impact. Busy account executives have higher priorities than documenting sales conversations. And when they sit down to do it later, human recall may not be perfect. If you offer a CRM solution, adding Symbl to your offering addresses the gaps caused by missing or incomplete data. 

Sales Enablement Solution

Symbl captures conversational data from sales activity such as emails, texts, and calls in real-time. After any interaction, Symbl enables your CRM product to recap with follow-ups, contextual topics, and transcripts, thereby freeing up the sales executives to focus on what they do best. Rather than fighting the behavioral nature of sales, use Symbl AI to make the systems a more powerful investment by your customers. This functionality is not just a time saver for the sales team but enables accurate, timely, and shareable reporting from which business decisions can be made with confidence.

The Symbl Platform

Symbl’s programmable platform has a comprehensive suite of APIs to analyze any natural voice or text conversation. Our conversational intelligence APIs unlock value using proprietary machine learning algorithms that analyze business conversations. 

Adding Symbl to your offering gives your customers these results: 

  • Optimized employee productivity due to auto-scheduling tasks and follow-ups through outbound work tool integrations
  • Automated post-call entry into company CRM so valuable prospect information is updated 100% of the time  
  • Top-performing sales can move to the next opportunity rather than spend time updating records
  • Downstream workflows fed with real-time next step suggestions and prompts
  • Receive business-critical real-time analysis & insights from the conversations
  • Accurate recall of customer needs with a complete, searchable transcript of sales conversations

To Capture Sales Intelligence from Email Communications: 

  • To capture existing / on-going email conversations, integrate our Async Text API 
  • To convert emails housed within your platform into actionable data with follow-ups and key questions asked, use our Conversation API

If you are looking for connectors to existing email systems like Gmail, Outlook, etc. and don’t already have access to the email conversation data, contact our dev team here.

To Capture Sales Intelligence from Voice Communications:

  • Use our Voice API to access voice conversations related to your sales workflow: 
    • Integrate Voice API on PSTN or SIP interfaces, to extract the voice conversations on phone calls or any meeting platform (such as Zoom or GoToMeeting) so that any data currently siloed in multiple voice conversations related to the deal can be extracted for the record and your customers don’t have to worry about taking notes during sales conversations. 
  • Alternatively, you can use our Async API if you have access to recorded audio files. 
  • Use the Conversation API to convert these Voice Conversations into powerful insights for your CRM application and downstream workflows:
    •  Trigger real-time actions related to follow-up meetings to kickoff a calendar invite
    • Identify the key contextual topics discussed and questions asked across single or multiple calls and understand customer sentiment across all the calls

Aggregated Deal Intelligence: 

You can add analysis from emails and voice conversations related to the same deal with contextual understanding to derive actionable insights based on the historic conversation timeline of the customer interactions. You can also aggregate the voice or text conversations across the sales cycle to understand sentiments across touchpoints, repeated topics of discussions, the preferred channels of contract negotiations, etc. 

If you are looking to create a differentiated revenue intelligence dashboard for your customers, contact our dev team here.

Sign up for Symbl and see how easy it is to integrate our suite of APIs into your sales enablement workflow.

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Recorded Meetings

Using Symbl Conversational Intelligence APIs for Recorded Meetings

Delivering added value to the post-meeting experience and making it easy for your users to navigate meeting recording content could be the differentiator for your business. 

The Recorded Data Challenge 

Recording meetings is not enough. How do you get long-lasting value from them? Engagement with meeting recordings is usually low and our customers tell us they want to focus time and energy on delivering a world-class product rather than building the underlying tech to address this challenge. It is worth repeating, delivering added value to the post-meeting experience and making it easy for your users to navigate meeting recording content could be the differentiator for your business. Some questions to consider:

Are your customers recording all their meetings as an insurance policy against losing information, but failing to turn these recordings into actionable insights? How can you enable your users to easily navigate the recordings and eliminate the necessity to read full transcripts to find the essential information in the audio?  How can your customers search across multiple recordings efficiently? Symbl lets you solve all these challenges and more with our meetings solution. 

The Meeting Solution

Immediate benefit: With Symbl, you can add an x-ray like feature to your call or meeting recordings. Want an index of contextual topics along with the call recording? No problem. We offer extensible APIs that let you configure and extend the post-meeting summary and analysis for delivery to your user’s inbox for quick action, or other work tools like Slack. The call recording can be searched based on action items, follow-ups, and questions asked. AI-powered conversational intelligence turns your recordings into action to keep the teams focused on what matters most.

Long-term benefit: We surface topics as search hints to find other meetings where a particular topic was also raised. And simple custom code helps your customers navigate videos and transcripts in a systematic manner.

The Symbl Platform

Symbl’s programmable platform has a comprehensive suite of APIs to analyze any natural voice or text conversation. Our conversational intelligence APIs unlock value using proprietary machine learning algorithms that analyze business conversations and surface action items, transcripts, and follow-ups. 

Benefits for your company:

  • Your customers will have access to indexed and searchable meetings so the previously overwhelming lake of meetings becomes a useful and re-visitable asset
  • Now that your customers see real value in their recordings, they will want to keep them accessible ultimately resulting in less propensity to churn
  • Opportunity for you to offer an upgrade package as customers use up their default storage space resulting in increase revenue opportunities

Benefits for users of your Symbl enhanced offering:

  • Remove bias from meeting notes with an objective conversation intelligence service that contextually surfaces what matters alongside the voice capture in the recording
  • Have one source of truth with complete meeting transcripts, meeting notes, action items, summaries, insights, contextual topics, questions, signals that are linked to the recording data so that users don’t have to read the whole recording and can quickly jump to what is important 
  • Mitigate roadblocks of late arrivals and double booking
  • Understand patterns and trends in an organization’s meeting culture – sentiment, talk ratios, productivity, etc. for scalable insights
  • Aggregate and search knowledge and information across multiple meetings by filtering data based on the contextual dimensions in the conversation rather than reviewing each independently

Accomplish the above using these Symbl APIs:

  1. Async Voice API – Symbl will convert any existing and on-going recorded audio or video files that were created as part of your communication workflow into indexed and easy to consume content  – in addition to the conversation insights.
  2. The Conversation API  – can be used to map the timestamps all the insights and indexes with the recordings itself to completely change the existing recording playback experience. 
  3. You can also use our Symbl JS Widgets to embed the experience directly into your application. Connect with our product team for early access.  

Sign up for Symbl to see how easy it is for developers to integrate our suite of APIs into meeting workflow.  

Build your own Salesforce Conversational AI with Twilio Flex

Build your own Salesforce Conversational AI with Twilio Flex

Did you know you can capture real-time action items from conversations with customers, automatically push these items to a customer database, and never have to worry about missing another important task or feverishly scribble customer notes?

We will show you how to connect the Symbl voice API to Twilio Media Streams to access real-time raw audio and easily generate actionable insights and tasks from these audio streams. Take this workflow automation one step further—connect the Salesforce Opportunities dashboard to Twilio Flex to automatically send these valuable insights and tasks to the Salesforce CRM platform.

This blog post will guide you step-by-step through the workflow

Requirements

Before we can get started, you’ll need to make sure to have:

To start, you’ll need to configure Twilio Media Streams and a Symbl Websocket server. If you haven’t already done so, refer to this blog post first to set up your environment.

Getting Started

At this point, you should be able to stream audio through your Websocket server into Twilio Flex and generate insights.

In order to take those generated insights and push them to your Salesforce dashboard in real-time, we will start by updating the `index.js` file in your Websocket server.

In the code sample above, we are modifying the connection start block with a POST request that creates a new opportunity in your Salesforce dashboard with the provided json payload. You can configure this payload as needed.

  1. Once the request is successful, we want to save the opportunity id in a variable so that we can use it to push action items next. (Note: To get your Salesforce Authentication Token, refer to this guide.)
  2. Next, when action items are detected, we want to capture those insights and add them to our Salesforce dashboard under the opportunity we created.

Next, when action items are detected, we want to capture those insights and add them to our Salesforce dashboard under the opportunity we created.

To do this, we will modify the client_connection.on('message') handler.

And that’s it! With this integration, your Salesforce dashboard should now have opportunities dynamically created from yours calls and all action items generated will be logged as tasks within the opportunity.

If we head over to Salesforce, we can see an opportunity was created: Perspective Meeting with Magpie

If we dive into that opportunity, we can see that the action items that were generated by Symbl have been logged as tasks in the opportunity, automatically.

 

You can use other Salesforce APIs with Symbl to customize how your action items and topics are displayed on your opportunity dashboard. For example, you can add call logs like in the image above and show the Topics that were generated from your sales call directly in the Description field.

Read about the different Salesforce APIs.

Test out the integration

To test out the integration, navigate to the Twilio Flex tab and click on Launch Flex:

On your flex dashboard, locate your Twilio phone number and call that number from your cellular device.

When you accept the call from Flex, the audio will be streamed through Symbl’s WebSocket API and based on how you’ve configured your API calls for Salesforce, those insights will be logged in your dashboard. Open up your Salesforce dashboard and you’ll see the opportunity being created and insights logging in the opportunity in real-time.

Check out our API docs if you want to customize this integration further using the APIs that Symbl provides.

Wrapping up

Congratulations! You can now harness the power of Symbl to empower your sales team to focus on having a great conversation experience with customers and be free of any distracting activities while on the call.

Sign up to start building!

Need additional help? You can refer to our API Docs for more information and view our sample projects on Github.