What is Natural Language Processing?

Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows humans to interact with computers using conversational speech. This requires the computer to recognize what is being said and, in turn, the computer can process commands and answer the person back.

NLP uses two primary methods to process speech: syntactic analysis and semantic analysis. Syntactic analysis applies rules about sentence structure (syntax) to derive part of the meaning of what's being said. Natural language processing supplements this with semantic analysis, which tries to distill the meaning of the words. Deep learning algorithms translate human language into a format the computer can use.

Although many improvements have been made to natural language processing , it's still not perfect. For example, it has difficulty detecting conversational nuances such as sarcasm. Additionally, speech habits like using slang, mumbling, or stuttering can trip it up.

Natural Language Processing for Contact Centers

Probably the most evident use of natural language understanding is with automated attendants like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. However, contact centers have also been on the forefront of using NLP to deliver very tangible business and customer experience benefits.

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems commonly use natural language processing to enable customers to interact with menus using natural speech, as well as facilitate self-service transactions. Additionally, speech analytics tools can comb through a multitude of interaction recordings to create transcripts, identify common call drivers, flag potential compliance issues, and more.

As natural language processing continues to mature and improve, it's likely that additional contact center applications will emerge.

How NICE Can Help with Natural Language Understanding

NICE CXone is the market-leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. CXone is a cloud-native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations.

NICE CXone Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is fully integrated voice self-service that accelerates resolution, improves routing and cuts costs with automation. It leverages speech to verbally gather caller information and determine optimal handling for improved customer experience.

CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), customer satisfaction surveys and performance management (PM).

Automation & Artificial Intelligence (AI) – leading-edge, intuitive technology that eliminates mundane tasks and speeds resolutions of customer issues for better business outcomes. Our deep learning models provide self-service, agent-assisted and fully automated alerts and actions.

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