Stefano Somenzi, Athics: On no-code AI and deploying conversational bots

No-code AI solutions are helping more businesses to get started on their AI journeys than ever. Athics, through its platform for deploying conversational bots, knows a thing or two about the topic.

AI News caught up with Stefano Somenzi, CTO at Athics, to get his thoughts on no-code AI and the development of virtual agents.

AI News: Do you think “no-code” will help more businesses to begin their AI journeys?

Stefano Somenzi: The real advantage of “no code” is not just the reduced effort required for businesses to get things done, it is also centered around changing the role of the user who will build the AI solution. In our case, a conversational AI agent.

“No code” means that the AI solution is built not by a data scientist but by the process owner. The process owner is best-suited to know what the AI solution should deliver and how. But, if you need coding, this means that the process owner needs to translate his/her requirements into a data scientist’s language.

This requires much more time and is affected by the “lost in translation” syndrome that hinders many IT projects. That’s why “no code” will play a major role in helping companies approach AI.

AN: Research from PwC found that 71 percent of US consumers would rather interact with a human than a chatbot or some other automated process. How can businesses be confident that bots created through your platform will improve the customer experience rather than worsen it?

SS: Even the most advanced conversational AI agents, like ours, are not suited to replace a direct consumer-to-human interaction if what the consumer is looking for is the empathy that today only a human is able to show during a conversation.

At the same time, inefficiencies, errors, and lack of speed are among the most frequent causes for consumer dissatisfaction that hamper customer service performances.

Advanced conversational AI agents are the right tool to reduce these inefficiencies and errors while delivering strong customer service performances at light speed.

AN: What kind of real-time feedback is provided to your clients about their customers’ behaviour?

SS: Recognising the importance of a hybrid environment, where human and machine interaction are wisely mixed to leverage the best of both worlds, our platform has been designed from the ground up with a module that manages the handover of the conversations between the bot and the call centre agents.

During a conversation, a platform user – with the right authorisation levels – can access an insights dashboard to check the key performance indicators that have been identified for the bot.

This is also true during the handover when agents and their supervisors receive real-time information on the customer behaviour during the company site navigation. Such information includes – and is not limited to – visited pages, form field contents, and clicked CTAs, and can be complemented with data collected from the company CRM.

AN: Europe is home to some of the strictest data regulations in the world. As a European organisation, do you think such regulations are too strict, not strict enough, or about right?

SS: We think that any company that wants to gain the trust of their customers should do their best to go beyond the strict regulations requirements.

AN: As conversational AIs progress to human-like levels, should it always be made clear that a person is speaking to an AI bot?

SS: Yes, a bot should always make clear that it is not human. In the end, this can help realise how amazing they can perform.

AN: What’s next for Athics?

SS: We have a solid roadmap for with many new features and improvements that we bring every three months to our platform.

Our sole focus is on advanced conversational AI agents. We are currently working to include more and more domain specific capabilities to our bots.

Advanced profiling capabilities is a great area of interest where, thanks to our collaboration with universities and international research centres, we expect to deliver truly innovative solutions to our customers.

AN: Athics is sponsoring and exhibiting at this year’s AI & Big Data Expo Europe. What can attendees expect from your presence at the event? 

SS: Conversational AI agents allow businesses to obtain a balance between optimising resources and giving a top-class customer experience. Although there is no doubt regarding the benefits of adopting virtual agents, the successful integration across a company’s conversational streams needs to be correctly assessed, planned, and executed in order to leverage the full potential.

Athics will be at stand number 280 to welcome attending companies and give an overview of the advantages of integrating a conversational agent, explain how to choose the right product, and how to create a conversational vision that can scale and address organisational goals.

(Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash)

Athics will be sharing their invaluable insights during this year’s AI & Big Data Expo Global which runs from 23-24 November 2021. Athics’ booth number is 280. Find out more about the event here.

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