Ever had a good conversation with a computer?


Talking to computers. It may sound a little strange, but almost everyone does it, pretty much every day. Just think of Siri and Alexa, or chat and voice bots. 

The technique that allows computers to understand and respond to us with human text and speech is called Natural Language Processing (NLP). It focuses on the language aspect within Artificial Intelligence (AI) and aims to decipher and make sense of human language. Spam filters, spell checkers and translation programs also use NLP.

Of course, this is not something that computers can learn overnight. Language cannot easily be captured in rules that a computer understands. Apart from grammar and word order (‘syntactic analysis’), the computer must also learn to take into account things like poor pronunciation, ambiguities, or expressions of emotion, such as sarcasm. In the latter case, it is about the meaning that is conveyed (‘semantic analysis’). The only way a machine can learn these finer points is by endless repetition and continued human corrections.

NLP in the contact centre

NLP applications are also increasingly appearing in the contact centre. We already mentioned voice and chatbots that – thanks to NLP – understand what the customer is asking and can respond in a human-like way. As a result, countless simple interactions can be handled without the help of employees, even (especially!) outside office hours. This makes companies much more accessible, and greatly reduces the contact centre’s waiting times. Good news for customers, but also for employees, who can now focus on the more challenging customer interactions. In addition, NLP facilitates their work, because it can quickly propose solutions based on the customer’s request ('next best action').

NLP is also used for advanced data analysis and for converting speech to text to record customer interactions. And how about using it to analyse customer feedback from different contact channels? This is called sentiment analysis, and allows companies, for example, to study customer churn by examining negative customer experiences. In times of rapidly changing customer behaviour, sentiment analysis is the best way to monitor customers and even the wider population to understand and respond to changing needs at an early stage.

The right balance between man and machine

Despite the fact that NLP can be widely applied in contact centres and can greatly improve both the customer and employee experience, it certainly has its limitations. For example, computers are insufficiently capable of showing empathy or dealing with human emotions. That is why employees of flesh and blood remain indispensable in the contact centre and NLP applications should only serve as support.

Curious how NLP can make a difference in your contact centre? Let us know! Our experts are happy to tell you more about it.

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About DDM

At DDM Consulting we believe that our customers benefit most from tailor-made advice, without preference for a particular product or specific supplier. That is why we offer a wide range of intelligent omnichannel contact centre solutions, delivered by renowned partners who are all specialists in their field. 

How we work

Together with the client, we evaluate the current contact centre processes as well as the requirements and preferences for the new platform. We apply our years of experience to find the best match, and provide advice on the potential optimisation and automation of business operations, for example through the use of AI.

We naturally guarantee a successful implementation of the new solution, and ensure that all back-end systems are seamlessly (re)connected. After the deployment, we are at the service of our customers to offer advice and aftercare.

But we go one step further: time and time again, we push the boundaries of the chosen platform, and adapt it to the customer's specific business processes and needs. Our team has the business and technical expertise to achieve the maximum potential, even when it comes to an out-of-the-box solution. This is our way of ensuring that every customer makes optimal use of the capabilities of the chosen platform!

Our clients

Our clients come from a wide range of sectors, from major financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies, to telecom operators, healthcare institutions, government agencies, retail, and media.

Our team

We have grown into a team of about 30 contact centre experts, and are mainly active in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. To be able to guarantee the highest quality, we continuously invest in the knowledge, training and experience of our employees.