The Google Contact Center AI (CCAI) Platform, an expansion of its Google CCAI suite, is now generally available in the US and UK.
Other markets include Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, with Google promising that many more are “soon to come.”
The move follows Google’s first tentative steps into the contact center space in 2019 when it released an AI suite with agent-assist, chatbot-building tools, and real-time transcriptions.
Many contact center vendors already offer integrations with this suite, allowing Google to establish a significant presence within the space.
Fast forward three years and the vendor is building on this by drastically extending its proposition, announcing a full-blown CCaaS platform.
Now, it includes many more features, such as an agent desktop, IVR, and multiple customer engagement channels. The latter is on full display in the following video demo.
Of course, there are many other features, from omnichannel routing to app SDKs. Yet, from the video and name of the CCaaS solution, it’s clear that Google aims to differentiate its offering with AI.
At Google Next, Yariv Adan, Director of Product Management at Google Cloud, doubled down on this while reaffirming the announcement.
“We are pleased and excited to announce the general availability of the CCAI platform, the contact center as a service solution from Google Cloud built in partnership with UJET,” he said.
It is a turnkey core contact center, out-of-the-box, for faster time to production and lower custom deployment overheads.
“AI powers the experience, from routing to better handling customer interactions, and – of course – it is deeply connected with the CCAI Suite offering, without any additional integration.”
Such rhetoric is similar to that of Amazon Connect, which Gartner considers a “visionary solution” in its use of contact center AI. Yet, this Google platform may provide stiff competition.
Features Within the Google Contact Center AI Platform
Google has added a CCaaS engine, conversational AI core, and the Chrome browser to its Google CCAI suite to create its new CCaaS solution.
Within this, Google highlighted four mission-critical elements.
- Virtual Agent with DialogFlow – A conversational self-service offering with handoffs to live agents for more complex issues.
- Agent Assist – An AI-powered agent guidance system that supports agents by surfacing information and recommending next steps. It also includes post-call automation.
- Insights – An AI-powered agent guidance system that supports agents by surfacing information and recommending next steps. It also includes post-call automation.
- The Contact Center Platform – An offering – either built on existing telephony or Google – that enables omnichannel customer communications.
Notably, the first three elements are AI-powered, as the vendor bids to offer “a unified end-to-end experience for contact center transformation.”
Yet, Google also drew attention to the platform’s customer-focused and CRM-centered design, which paves the way for channel blending and “service on the customer’s terms.”
Indeed, customers and agents can switch between text, voice, and video during a single interaction while sharing images.
Moreover, it boasts an innovative mobile-first design, so customers can authenticate themselves using smartphone capabilities such as touch and face recognition.
Finally, the Google Contact Center AI Platform is a single-tenant, scalable, and secure platform with data living in the company’s CRM and bring your own carrier (BYOC) options. It also benefits from Google’s acclaimed security features.
Exited to share these capabilities, Adan said:
We offer all of this without the typical need to integrate complex technologies from multiple providers. So, for customers looking to change to a CCaaS solution with deep Google AI integration, the CCAI platform offers end-to-end capabilities to accelerate call center transformation.
However, Adan reiterates Google’s support to customers who want to – or have commitments to – their existing contact center providers.
As such, Google remains dedicated to working with its current contact center partners – which include Genesys, Cisco, and Avaya – in the same ways it currently does.
Can Google Compete in CCaaS?
CCaaS is hot right now. It connects cloud, AI, and customer data across applications and is often the cornerstone of digital transformation projects. As such, demand is high – with the market expected to double in the next five years.
Yet, with many other new players, including Microsoft, Cisco, and Zoom, how well can Google compete? Until now, many had reservations.
Recently speaking to CX Today, Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst at ZK Research, said: “For about five years in a row, one of my predictions was that Google would become a dominant player in the UC space, and that never really happened.”
I think, for the most part, UCaaS and CCaaS remain somewhat of a hobby within the company, and I’m waiting for them to really step up.
October 2022 may be remembered as the time when Google finally stepped up.
Indeed, the vendor has already lured high-profile early adopters, including DPD, E.ON, and Marks & Spencer. The latter achieved a 50 percent reduction in call volumes by harnessing the available AI.
Of course, some may argue that Google is late to the party. Yet, it may not be the last entrant in a burgeoning market. For instance, Salesforce evolving Slack into a CCaaS offering is a distinct possibility.
Moreover, it is unlikely that a single vendor will quickly seize market control. After all, the “right” CCaaS solution – across all verticals and business sizes – does not exist. Instead, businesses should assess offerings against their specific needs.
Pricing, bundles, channels, coverage, and integration options require close consideration.
However, one advantage that Google may have, is that it can tie its solution with Chrome, which may prove beneficial in the browser-driven hybrid working world.
After all, it offers a familiar UI, Chromebooks for knowledge sharing, and further Chrome OS features to improve agent experiences.
The only native vendor that can offer something similar is Microsoft through Windows.
Interestingly, Microsoft also recently ramped up its efforts in the space, launching the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform in August.