Capturing emotions with cognitive services to guide your business

The film The Wolf of Wall Street suggests leaving emotion at the door to succeed in business. However, Chris Ellis, Nintex Manager of Technical Evangelism for the APAC region, sees a better approach.

“Emotion forms a significant part of our lives,” Ellis says, “so we need to understand how it can inform and impact our business processes.”

He’ll be speaking on that topic at JuiceIT in Melbourne on 18th September.

The business of emotion

“It’s about the effective use of your human resources,” Ellis explains. It takes considerable effort to monitor every social post, help desk ticket, and customer correspondence for warning signs of discontent. He points out how Microsoft’s Azure Cognitive Services can be leveraged to focus company responses by identifying key exchanges and routing them to the right people the moment they occur.

Azure uses sentiment analysis to identify key emotional markers in human behaviour. That could mean interpreting text in emails or social media posts, discerning vocal cues in spoken language, or even interpreting facial expressions to determine a person’s emotional state. The tool assigns a score to the sentiment it observes, indicating the degree of positive or negative emotion present.

This allows for instant flagging of significant interactions without relying on an organisation’s staff to pick them up.

Narrowing your focus

“Cognitive services give you a referee – an agnostic agent in your organisation that can analyse the sentiment and categorise it, instantly and every time,” Ellis says. It means staff don’t have to be poring over every tweet, LinkedIn post or help desk message on the chance that someone chooses to vent about your brand publicly. It also ensures that messages are understood and not misread.

“It’s pretty black and white,” he says. “There’s no bias, it’s objective, and there’s no misunderstanding whether something is positive or negative.”

That allows for much better load balancing for customer support staff. The Azure systems integrate seamlessly into the rest of the Microsoft toolset, which means customer information from Dynamics can be matched to the event being analysed for a more robust profile of the customer. If a major customer is expressing frustration, the system can flag the exchange as a high priority for white-glove treatment, ensuring the company response is not just prompt, but proportional.

Moving with the mood

While Cognitive Services provide an amazing tool for identifying sentiment, the next step is to take action. This is where workflows are essential, using the sentiment score as a trigger and routing the event to the right person for an appropriate response.

By analysing metrics from CRM as well as Cognitive Services score, a workflow can define a profile for the event and determine who should handle it, then instantly deliver key information to them in the appropriate format. Ellis demonstrates this in real-time, showing how the system can leverage customer information and sentiment analysis to bring a senior customer success specialist into the conversation when a help desk ticket comes in from an important customer. That’s not the only use of the technology, though. It’s more than just a firefighting tool.

Capturing the good times

“Alongside analytics, it can help you monitor and build improvement,” Ellis says. Tracking sentiment across time can show the trajectory of a customer’s feeling about the product, and provide valuable insight for marketing, customer success, and product support.

Together with metrics captured from process optimisation tools like Nintex’s process analytics capability, it can give a clearer picture of customer satisfaction. It also has the potential for proactive use.

Facial recognition falls under the Cognitive Services umbrella and can be used to launch workflow actions that highlight VIPs or track regular visitors. “Whitelisting” a major customer would allow the system to alert staff the moment a VIP walks through the door, triggering white-glove service from their very first interaction. The system could take classroom attendance with one sweep of the camera or manage access to a location without a single swipe-card lanyard insight.

Feeling out the future

Ellis is excited about the potential in these tools, and about how Nintex can leverage this technology to improve how people work.

“It’s important that an organisation be able to feel the pulse of sentiment, almost as an organic reading constantly, rather than seek it out in roundtables and scheduled feedback forms,” he says.

“Those methods can often be very clinical in nature, evoking a white coat syndrome in participants, leading to a false sentiment perception. You can feel pressured into giving an inflated or pacified response in that environment.”

With Nintex providing powerful workflows integrating Microsoft Cognitive Services and key analytics flowing from process intelligence tools, businesses can gain real insights into their customers’ mindsets, in real-time. It all adds up to positive outcomes for organisations, and not just emotionally.

Find out more about how Nintex builds on cognitive services tools for more effective customer engagement in Chris Ellis’ session at JuiceIT in Melbourne on 18th September.

Tags: Cognitive Services, Cognitive Services Decision, Cognitive Services Language, Cognitive Services Search, Cognitive Services Speech, Cognitive Services Vision, JuiceIT, JuiceIT 2019, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Dynamics 365



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