Local AI company seeks to curb surging call volumes for contact centers with Google Cloud

A local Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, in collaboration with Google Cloud, is aiming to help contact centers manage call volumes as demand for support services in multiple sectors and industries continues to rise.

Ralph Vincent J. Regalado, chief executive officer and founder of Senti AI, said that since contact center companies helped keep the country’s economy afloat amid the ongoing pandemic, ensuring that the industry is up-to-date and ready for the worst is “obviously the next step.”

“We’ve seen companies struggle to keep up with the demand since last year. It has cost them a lot: agents are burnt out and they’re struggling to keep up with calls. If we have the capability to alleviate the problems and make things easier, then why not?” Regalado added.

“And the thing is, we have the technology available here in the Philippines. Other countries may have been first or are more well-known for certain technologies, but a crucial aspect of an AI solution is its ability to perfectly serve the needs of its users. In this case, as a country rich in multiple languages, we’d need a solution that understands Filipinos best.”

Last April 22, Google Cloud acknowledged Senti AI as a breakthrough partner out of over 30 partners they currently have in the Philippines.

Ferdie Saputil, Google Cloud Lead for the Philippines, said that a breakthrough partner means that they are “the leading-edge technology that Google is pushing in the market.”

Saputil added that from a Google Cloud perspective if there is no partner that can add value to the already existing technology, it will not be adopted by enterprise customers.

Senti AI is also the first homegrown companyto be recognized as a conversational design and contact center AI (CCAI) integration expert in Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Globally, there are eight conversational design experts in GCP and 11 CCAI integration experts.

"Our first successful CCAI project in the Philippines is through Senti. They have a great solution, they have a chatbot service which actually provides dialect support, Taglish, etc — name it,” Saputil said.

“And I think it's not just being able to provide an AI to respond to contact center requirements, but also an AI that is more conversational and more local."

Senti AI and Google Cloud’s CCAI project helped a leading Philippine bank manage its rising call volumes months into the general community quarantine last year.

Its Google Cloud-powered voice AI solution, Voix, allowed the bank’s voice bot to handle low-level and repetitive queries, leaving more complicated customer concerns for human agents to address.

Senti AI’s CCAI expertise is already on top of its Machine Learning (ML) and ML Application Programming Interface expertise.

The company also received recognition as Google Cloud experts in providing services for the Financial Services and Global Public sectors for its work with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Manila City Government.

No threat of losing jobs

Despite the rapid digital transformation organizations have gone through in the past year, Regalado said that AI is not here to cause job displacement for millions of contact center employees.

“What we’re aiming for is to have companies — regardless of the industries they’re in — to achieve better results and provide better services to clients through the help of AI,” he added.

Demand for workers in support services is expected to stay in high demand. Contact Center Association of the Philippines president Jojo J. Uligan said in an ANC interview last February that the industry is expecting to hire about 80,000 to 100,000 workers this year alone.

Further, Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Barraquel called on the DOH and private sector to aid the One Hospital Command Center (OHCC) overwhelmed by climbing COVID-19 cases.

This came after Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said that the OHCC would receive 280 to 300 calls a day as of March, a jump from the average 66 calls in February.

“Adopting AI technologies does not automatically mean getting rid of human agents. What we need is to retrain and upskill our workers so they can seamlessly work hand-in-hand with technology,” Regalado said.

“Chatbots and voice bots are very much capable of handling repetitive tasks, so this means humans can focus on more meaningful and impactful work. We owe it to our contact center agents to make sure they don’t get left behind in our pursuit for progress.”

Topics: Artificial Intelligence , Google Cloud , Ralph Vincent J. Regalado , Senti AI
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