The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a world where remote work, virtual communications, and on-demand service offerings are here to stay. For some, it hasn’t been all positive. People have become increasingly stressed, isolated, and emotionally drained.
With this growing complexity in people’s emotional well-being, what can organizations do to increase their awareness of people’s mental states? Could technology in the form of AI actually help in some way?
Certainly the terms machine learning and emotional intelligence are not synonymous. The term machine learning often describes automating monotonous work that is otherwise tedious and emotionally unrewarding for humans to do. The term emotional intelligence refers to someone’s ability to recognize and manage their own emotions and the emotions of others. People with strong emotional intelligence (or EQ) typically demonstrate a high degree of personal accountability and empathy.
These traits are highly desirable, not only in interpersonal communication but also in business interactions. Accountability and empathy form the foundation of consumer trust, and the more trust consumers have in a brand, the more likely they are to want to do business with that brand.
What does this have to do with artificial intelligence? Let’s take a look.
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Why Businesses Are Investing in Emotion AI
Could a machine AI actually help people to increase their emotional intelligence skills?
Even people with a high EQ interacting in a face-to-face environment have significant limitations when it comes to reading the emotional states of others. Most of us can only pay attention to a highly limited amount at a time, and we often miss or misinterpret emotional cues that other people are sending out. Our ability to “read the room” only worsens when we move to digital channels.
But machines don’t have this limitation. With today’s advanced computer vision, automated speech recognition (ASR), and natural language processing (NLP), the emerging technology of emotion AI software can monitor everyone at the same time and integrate multiple sources of information, ranging from nonverbal gestures and facial expressions to spoken words and tonal inflections.
Businesses looking to better understand and connect with their customers can use emotion AI to get a comprehensive look at how people are reacting to what they see and hear, whether during a meeting or a sales presentation, and collect deeper insights into what motivates people to action.
How Businesses Are Leveraging Emotion AI
Emotion AI technology has a variety of uses across the enterprise. Some of the most exciting, and most practical, emotion AI applications are in customer service.
Customers today are starved for empathy, and companies that have taken notice are investing in the deployment of emotion AI within their CX (customer experience) platforms to create a more emotionally positive experience. Contact centers in particular have benefited from this technology, reporting higher results in customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.
However, customer service isn’t the only department that benefits from the rise of emotion AI. Sales and even Marketing departments are successfully leveraging emotional intelligence to optimize remote engagements.
For example, sellers armed with AI tools can tailor their sales presentations based on real-time customer EQ data. If customers seem distracted or uninterested, the emotionally-aware seller can change course to re-engage them, increasing their likelihood to close.
Another equally important, if somewhat overlooked, benefit of emotion AI is in employee engagement. While much attention has been paid to the consumer side of AI investment, there is considerable ROI on the employee side as well.
Research shows that empowering employees with better tools and technology fuels higher satisfaction and retention rates. For customer service, an industry with notoriously high attrition, the benefit of emotion AI is twofold: Businesses can better engage customers in an increasingly digital world while simultaneously minimizing the rising cost of turnover. Emotion AI, clearly, will see greater adoption by businesses of many types.
About the Author:
Patrick Ehlen, VP of artificial intelligence, Uniphore