Talkdesk Folds ‘Responsible’ Generative AI Features Into Cloud Contact Center Platform

‘From the partner perspective, bridging that gap between that excessive excitement and customer skepticism [can] help brands take the journey to an AI-first future world,’ Talkdesk’s chief product officer tells CRN regarding its six new GenAI features built into its platform.


Contact Center-as-a-Service provider Talkdesk is layering six new generative AI features across its platform to change the way companies deploy, train and access GenAI within their contact centers.

San Francisco-based Talkdesk has made significant investments in AI in the past few years. So much so, the company believes it’s been ahead of the pack when it comes to GenAI and using the technology throughout its portfolio “responsibly,” Charanya Kannan, Talkdesk’s chief product officer, told CRN.

“We’re really focused on creating a responsible AI with guardrails and leveraging generative AI, not only for customer interactions with the ability to self-train itself, but with the human in the loop in the best possible way so that the AI works [and] the customers are confident they’re having the right conversation with the customers,” she said.

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Talkdesk is vendor-agnostic in its approach to AI. The company is currently tapping into OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard, among others, based on customer preferences.

[Related: Lumen Teams Up With Talkdesk To Build Out CCaaS, XaaS Portfolios]

The first of the new features unveiled Monday is Data Augmentation, a capability that makes AI more reliable and cost-effective by training AI data in seconds, rather than hours or days like the process used to take, according to the company. GenAI automatically suggests intents, training phrases and synonyms based on defined business needs, which can cut down the amount of time needed to manage AI models. This process will help companies train and “fine-tune” their AI models more efficiently, which translates to better experiences for their end customers, according to the company.

“One of the biggest reasons why AI projects fail in the market is because it’s very hard to train AI models,” Kannan said. “With the Data Augmentation feature, we’re making it even easier. You don’t even have to train the model, the model automatically gets trained.”

Kannan said this feature can cut down training time by 20 percent.

Next up is Generative AI Fine-Tuning and Simulation, which gives customers the tools they need to adjust AI outputs and put “guardrails” on AI, the company said. The feature lets administrators establish these guardrails with prompt-based conditional rules that control the output and expression of GenAI models and then simulates the results based on past interactions. This can be done without any technical expertise, according to the company.

The Automatic Topic Discovery feature, meanwhile, can help improve customer loyalty and satisfaction by automatically identifying topic and sentiment trends across every customer conversation with no setup required, according to Talkdesk.

Generative Knowledge Retrieval helps live and virtual agents by arming them with real-time generation of answers to specific customer questions based on the brand’s knowledge base, while the Process-Based Virtual Agents feature automates self-service of a wider range of more complex customer conversations in a few steps, thanks to GenAI removing the need for extensive conversation design, Talkdesk said.

“The agent doesn’t have to go and search and put you on hold. It will tell the agent exactly what they have to read to give [the end customer] the answer. This is this is the start of ultimate automation,” Kannan said. “If agents are able to use this, every interaction can be automated in the future, and we do believe that 80 percent of interactions will be automated in the next three to five years.”

Lastly, the Generative AI Observability Dashboard gives businesses a place to use GenAI safely by giving them a view into performance, insight and control into how the AI is behaving. Generative AI biases, hallucinations and other fine-tuning opportunities can easily be identified via no-code tools, the company said.

GenAI represents a big opportunity for channel partners right now, especially in the cloud contact center space, Kannan said. That’s because while there is a lot of excitement and buzz around this topic, there’s also plenty of skepticism from many large enterprise customers.

“Partners play a really key role here because you have trusted partnerships with customers,” she said. “We need to make sure the customers are educated on what’s possible, what’s not possible, and what could go wrong. They need to be looking at AI from a responsible angle with the right guardrails, with the right vendor and partner. From the partner perspective, bridging that gap between that excessive excitement and customer skepticism [can] help brands take the journey to an AI-first future world.”

Approximately 50 percent to 60 percent of Talkdesk’s deals go through its channel partners, Kannan said.