Dial A for AI: Charter Boosts Customer Service with AI

by Lauren Finkle

Charter Communications is working to make customer service smarter even before an operator picks up the phone.

Senior Director of Wireless Engineering Jared Ritter took a break from his presentations at GTC in Santa Clara to talk to AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz about Charter’s perspective on customer relations.

Multi-service operators — operators that run multiple cable television systems — revolve around client relations. And when it comes to customer service, “cable companies don’t have the best reputations,” Ritter admits.

Charter Communications, also known as Spectrum, is using AI to improve their customer service and process data more intelligently.

The most common basis for customer service at a standard telecommunications company is called interactive voice response. This automated voice lists a menu to route customers to the correct line.

But this often takes too long or routes customers incorrectly. Kravitz admits that when he hears the automated voice, “I just start yelling ‘representative’ at it until someone answers or my wife takes the phone away.”

Charter wants to make it easier for clients to call and get help. “You want your customers to talk to you,” Ritter says. “And no matter how good your network is, you’re never gonna have a day where you don’t receive calls or questions from customers.”

The other aspect of customer service is called agency, which is what the company’s AI can do. Charter wants to move past the traditional use of AI to route customers to yet another menu.

To do so, Charter is challenging the data lake model. Ritter explains that, in this traditional setup, networks generate a large amount of data that pours into a lake and stays in its native format until it’s needed. It’s then more challenging to recognize and access important data.

“We’ve flipped the script on that, and we’ve got the antithesis of a data lake, where we’ve got the AI looking through all that data before we ever store it,” Ritter explains. Their AI is trained to look for key issues or trends, allowing customer service representatives to be better informed to help clients.

Their reps can then preemptively predict customer problems, rather than learning about network outages or other issues after the fact.

When asked what else AI can make possible for Charter’s customer service, Ritter reflects, “I can’t even think about what it’ll look like in five years, because every week something new happens.”

To find out more about what Charter is making possible, visit their newsroom.

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