As pandemic restrictions slowly end, many professionals are choosing to keep working from home, ditching the daily commute, or the transatlantic flight just for one business meeting. For some, however, this presents unique challenges. Sales professionals are finding it increasingly difficult to gauge clients’ emotions and reactions, which are often picked up from body language when the meeting is in person.
Now, new startups are utilizing AI to do the heavy lifting for them. A new conversational application called Q for Sales claims to be able to monitor people’s emotions over video call, providing metrics directly to the salesperson and even suggesting solutions to manipulate those emotions to secure the sale. You might be able to resist a salesperson, but can you resist an AI specifically designed to win you over?
Developed by startup Uniphore, the AI “provides sales teams the contextual insights they need to perform at their best”, actively reading the client and providing information on their sentiment towards what the salesperson is saying. It can identify whether the client is engaged, and even provides information on how to up your sales game by highlighting key moments post-call to show where the salesperson had them on the hook and where they lost them.
The project provides a somewhat-scary glimpse into the future of business interactions, which could one day be almost entirely led by AI that know the statistically "perfect" response to maximize profits.
Of course, with extensive data privacy laws such as GDPR intentionally restricting this type of software without consent, the application only works when both the salesperson and the client have approved recording of the session. It is unlikely that the salesperson would have to disclose that the application is in use, however.
Uniphore themselves claim that both the business's and customers’ data is kept entirely confidential and no character profiles of clients are generated.
If it all sounds a little too Black Mirror for you, unfortunately, it may be too late to change path. Zoom, now one of the largest video conferencing apps in the world, have introduced their conversational analysis AI for sales, called Zoom IQ for Sales. The AI compiles data from sales calls and can rate sales employees on how successful they are, including how many “good questions” they asked during meetings. IQ for Sales also lets employers know if their staff are talking for too long. Where this differs to Q for Sales in that Zoom’s AI provides information after the call has been recorded, whereas Uniphore’s product provides real-time analysis.
So, are you OK with AI analyzing your speech and mood over teleconferencing calls, or will you be refusing to allow recording from now on?