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Synthetic focus groups and RAG in the contact centre: Bayer, Verizon, WPP on their AI deployments

"You can create a consumer, a brand strategist, a brand marketer, client, encoded with actual ground truth data, then critique the content that's been generated by the system with agents playing off against each other."

From radiology analysis to contact centre automation, via AI-generated “focus groups” and consumers, an industry panel showcased eclectic approaches to generative AI deployments at a Google Cloud event.

Stephan Pretorius, CTO, WPP; Kalyani Sekar, CDO, Verizon; Guido Mathews, VP Radiology, Bayer; and Josh Weiss, VP, IHG Hotels and Resorts joined GCP’s North America President Michael Clark for the discussion.

RAG-powered AI in the call centre

Sekar, an SVP and Chief Data Officer at multinational telco Verizon, said the company had used a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) approach to building out an effective AI agent that supports call centre staff.

(RAG lets users “ground” an AI model in documentation, i.e. “asking the model to respond to a question by browsing through the content in a book, as opposed to trying to remember facts from memory.”)

After being trained on existing Verizon documentation it is now able to “answer any question about the customer, the plan” she said, so that reps “instead of going through multiple documents to answer the question, they just put the question [into the chatbot] and they get the answer…”

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(The application is serving internal customers, i.e. Verizon staff, rather than customers directly, as an augmentative tool for contact centres.)

“Now we are really looking into how to take it to the next level. So instead of [an] agent typing the question, we are seeing whether [the AI] can be listening to the call; to start [automatically] producing the answers.”

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