Over the last few decades, the telecom industry has rapidly shifted from basic phone and internet services to a far more evolved space featuring mobile, wearables and automation, making it one of the biggest businesses in the world currently and always upgrading to the cutting edge technology.
According to IDC, 63.5% of telecommunications organizations are making new technology investments for AI systems.
While having to be on the bleeding edge of technology is a good thing for customers and the competition.
The industry itself is a great candidate for adopting AI driven solutions which offer the hope of reduced costs and increased efficiencies through automation. Needless to say, frontrunners have already started playing with AI solutions and deploying them across various business areas including customer-facing and internal processes.
In this blog, we’ll talk about various use cases of AI and related technologies, which can help telecom companies in reducing their operations cost and conserve the money to invest more in upgradations, predictive maintenance to reduce any fall in customer experience and chatbots in the telecommunications industry.
Applications of Artificial Intelligence in the Telecommunications Industry
Communication service providers are now adopting software-defined networks (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV), cloud-based applications, and 5G technologies, making AI a rather critical element to success. The premise for AI’s success in these areas is rather straightforward – it enables businesses to make faster and more effective decisions by combining and processing network data in real time and then automating network functions. The result is that service providers are able to make changes even before issues arise – making the switch from reactive to proactive mode is a critically important step to increasing efficiencies.
Further, AI systems are also designed to predict and identify anomalies or network issues, allowing organizations to proactively take measures to fix them before customers even become aware or are impacted in any way. This frees up time for IT teams as well, so they can focus on more high priority tasks requiring human expertise, instead of troubleshooting repetitive and mundane tasks.
Any downtime for telecom service providers can spell disaster in terms of expenses incurred. It is beyond critical for businesses to offer a reliable and secure network at all times. This means they have to find means to ensure that are consistently keeping a watch on infrastructure and equipment, including but not limited to, cell towers, servers in data centers, set-top boxes, power lines and so on.
AI systems are a great solution to this challenge as they can identify patterns that indicate a failure in their routine maintenance checks of the equipment. This enables businesses to take measures proactively before any downtime even happens.
Case study: AT&T
AT&T implemented Machine Learning and AI into its systems to facilitate autonomous repair of their communications networks.
As one would imagine, any failure in communications networks immediately earns the aggravation of customers. Therefore, it is particularly important to identify and rectify errors and gaps before outages ever happen. Therefore, AT&T employed AI technologies to quickly locate breakpoints in both hardware and software and designed systems in such a way as to enable automatic repair.
Without AI, the organization would have been forced to send field workers to perform maintenance checks on hardware only periodically, thereby, leaving them to react to problems only after they arise.
However, with the implementation of AI, by observing the signals and behavior of various “nodes” within the AT&T network can send updates to the company about any potential issues, so they can quickly send a field worker to the problem area and have it rectified swiftly, without causing any inconvenience to customers.
AI Chatbot applications in the Telecommunications Industry
Customer service is a critical aspect of the telecom industry. There are a variety of customer actions that specifically require customer service assistance – whether it is related to changing their bill plans or recharges, making payments, raising complaints and so on. Given the frequency with which these actions occur, it can be rather counterproductive and frustrating for both customers and service providers. Customers have to be put through the exasperating experience of voice prompt hell as they make attempts to reach different departments for different queries. In the same vein, service providers are forced to equip themselves with a very large labor workforce to manage the massive numbers of queries, making the entire process expensive and cumbersome.
Chatbots, on the other hand, are able to deliver superior customer service very quickly. They become a single point of contact for customers and are available to them 24/7, enabling them to take required actions without having to depend on a human agent to come around and help. The result is lowered costs and improved efficiency.
Case study: Spectrum
The Ask Spectrum virtual assistant leverages AI to assist customers with updating account information, troubleshooting as well as answering their basic queries about SPectrum services. Whether the customer wants to enquire about service outages or subscription details or ordering Pay-Per-View events, users can take help from virtual assistant, Ask Spectrum to navigate the company’s website and if they’re still unable to find what they are looking for, they can easily contact the Live Chat to have their questions addressed quickly and effectively.
Case study: Century Link
CenturyLink is one of the largest telecommunications providers in the United States, serving both small and large businesses nationwide. The company collects thousands of sales leads from the businesses it serves. Their goal is to provide deeply personalized interactions to each of these consumers. Pursuing these hot leads is critical because it would have a considerable impact on the company’s bottom line.
CenturyLink introduced an AI-powered sales assistant to its operations to enable the company to identify hot leads. This is work that would otherwise require an entire fleet of sales reps to comb through extensive data sets. However, the virtual assistant named Angie, sends about 30,000 emails a month and then does the groundwork of interpreting these responses to determine who is a hot lead. The VA then goes on to create appointments for the relevant salesperson and seamlessly passes on the conversation to the human agent for further nurturing.
Angie provides with prospective customers to get quick and relevant help, while at the same time-saving time and effort for sales reps, who can then focus on the leads that show the most potential. CenturyLink has run a pilot to test their strategy and Angie was able to understand 99% of the emails she received; the remaining 1% of emails were sent to her manager to be processed further.
Scott Berns, CenturyLink’s Director of Marketing Operations confirmed that while the company has approximately 1,600 salespeople, the Angie pilot started with four of them. As they began to see success with the pilot, the number quickly grew to 20 and it continues to grow. While initially, Angie was processing about 25 hot leads per week, the number has now grown to 40, thereby generating the ROI the company was looking for.
BotCore – An Enterprise Bot Building Platform
There are numerous AI and chatbot use cases for the telecom industry even as these technologies continue to evolve, introducing a whole lot of new opportunities. While it goes without saying that these technologies can be potential game changers for driving business efficiencies, companies do need to first align their business objectives with these technological initiatives and not the other way around.
By leveraging our Enterprise Chatbot Platform – BotCore, Acuvate helps telecom companies deploy custom and persona-based AI chatbots to enhance customer service and employee productivity. You can schedule a free demo to understand our chatbot features and capabilities and success stories in the telecom industry.
If you’d like to know more about chatbot and artificial intelligence applications in the Telecommunications industry, feel free to sign up for a free AI and bot strategy session with our experts.