Vodafone New Zealand is launching an intelligent digital human, powered by Kiwi company FaceMe, in what it says is a world first.
Vodafone’s digital human will enable customers to benefit from self-service options and free up time for staff to address more complex customer needs.
The telco giant is working with FaceMe to design, build and deliver the digital human and to learn how this could meet the needs of customers.
Vodafone director of customer operations Helen van Orton said great customer experience happens through meaningful conversations. ASB launched a FaceMe assistant in June.
"FaceMe has evolved AI technology to create intelligent digital humans that are human-like in their appearance and interaction," she said. "Thanks to machine learning, they are capable of continuously learning how to anticipate our customers’ needs and better serve them.”
Great AI should be designed to enhance what humans do, she added.
"We’re leveraging technology as a tool to support and empower our staff, by removing repetitive tasks through automation while still maintaining the element of human interaction and to solve customer pain points with digital innovation."
Vodafone is not using its digital assistant to replace frontline staff, she said.
Meanwhile, FaceMe CEO Danny Tomsett explains that emotional connection is key for emerging technology.
“Research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories shows the most effective way to maximise customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level, he said.
“Digital humans combine the best customer experience influencers from both person and machine, embodying the brand of an organisation and creating significant value through emotional connection, personalisation and consistency."
Vodafone’s digital human will start work at selected retail stores in Auckland in late 2018.