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Thumbs up for customer service via thumbs

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and Instant Messaging (IM) are poised to fundamentally change the service call experience says NICHOLAS O’CONNOR, strategic business development consultant at hi.guru.

“Already, many companies are using social media and considering chatbots to address customer queries – resulting in a rethink of how service resolution may be optimised. The evolution of these developments is enabling the provision of mobile service solutions with enhanced customer experience.

The VentureBeat Bots Landscape indicates that companies across Europe and the United States have increased their investments in AI and machine learning systems. With research showing that online shopping and services are increasing globally, these investments reflect changing customer behaviour and buying patterns. What’s more, the increase in online shopping requires enhanced service availability and social media channels are offering compelling solutions.

“In South Africa, the use of smart devices and mobile data are changing shopping and service behaviour and as a result, embracing social media as a channel to resolve queries and support the brand experience is becoming a business imperative,” adds O’Connor.

The past few months have seen the rise of these chat bots and intelligent agents that interact with clients via text based Instant Messaging platforms. Social networks like Facebook have provided the necessary interfaces for companies to integrate the Facebook Messenger IM platform into a call centre environment. This enables Facebook Messenger and other channels to be used by customers to instantly engage with support agents without requiring an additional app. This also empowers the agent with a richer set of tools including user history records and security validation to provide a new level of customer experience (CX).

“The use of AI (machine learning) with social media enabled customer service will enable service calls to be dealt with within a social media environment,” says O’Connor. “The IM tools provide more than just additional channels of communication. The richness of the data provided through these platforms means companies can analyse customer engagement better and adapt operations to support ongoing customer experience improvement organically as behaviours [and service expectations] adapt in real-time.”

Companies will need to adapt their call centres, and effectively analyse data to optimise the client experience. IM communication generates data which provides insights, which will enhance the customer experience when applied correctly.

“Social media is a driver of competitive change which is accelerating; businesses will need to embrace IM service solutions effectively within their own operating environments. Instant messaging and service automation will require technology platforms which support multiple IM channels and integrate human and automated agents.”

“Getting service via thumbs is becoming a reality,” says O’Connor.

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Smash hits the
Nintendo Switch

Super Smash Bros. delivers what the fans wanted in the latest “Ultimate” instalment, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the latest addition to the popular Nintendo Smash series, has landed on the Nintendo Switch with a bang, selling 5-million copies in the first week of its release. The game has been long-anticipated since the console’s release, as many fans consider iy to be a Nintendo staple. And the wait was well worth it.

It features 74 playable fighters, 108 stages, almost 1300 Spirit characters to collect while playing, and a single-player Adventure mode that took about three days (or 28 hours) of gameplay to complete. The game offers far more gameplay than its predecessors, making it the Smash game that gives its players the best bang for their buck.

For those new to the game, the goal is to fight opponents and build up their damage score (draining their health) to knock them off the stage eventually. This makes the game seem chaotic, as many players jump around the platforms as if they were on quicksand, in order to avoid being hit by the other players.

It also services two kinds of players: the competitive and the casual.

Competitive players can be matched on the online service by skill ranking to enjoy playing with similarly high-skilled opponents. This is especially important in e-sports training for the game, and for players wanting to master combos against other human players. The casual gamer is also catered for, with eight-player chaos and button-mashing to see who comes out luckiest. This segment is also important for those wanting to learn how to play.

Training mode is also a place to go for those learning to play. It offers “CPU” players that are graded by intensity to train as a single player to learn a character’s moves, combos and general fighting style. More challenging CPU players can also be used by competitive players to train when there isn’t a Wi-Fi connection available.

Direct Play features in this game, allowing two players with two Switch consoles to play against each other over a direct connection – no Wi-Fi needed. This is especially useful to those who want to have a social gaming element on the go, similar to that of the cable connector of the Gameboy.

Click here to read Bryan Turner review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

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Win Funko Fortnite in Vinyl

Gadget and Gammatek have nine Funko Fortnite figurines to give away.

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A Funko Pop figurine based on a character set is indicative of reaching the heights of pop culture. It is no surprise, then, that the world’s biggest online game, Fortnite, has its own line of Funko Pop figurines. The Funkos are modeled on the characters in game, including Drift, Ragnarok, Dark Vanguard, Volar, Tracera Ops, and Sparkle Specialist.

Now, local Funko distributor Gammatek has released the Fortnite figurines in South Africa. To celebrate, Gadget and Gammatek are giving away a set of three Funko Fortnite figurines to each of three readers (9 figurines in total). To enter, first click on your favourite Funko Pop on the next page and post the Tweet that appears. Then, follow Gadget on Twitter.

You can put the tweet in your own words, but entries must have the competition’s hashtag (#FunkoFortnite) and mention @GadgetZA to be considered valid.

Click here to select the Funko Fortnite character you want to tweet.

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