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The Future of Customer Support: AI-Driven Automation


Customer support is broken. Long hold times, wrong answers, and incompetent agents have trained us to avoid calling for help. Instead, we turn to friends, Twitter, and Facebook for support. It’s ironic that at a time when artificial intelligence is eating the world it’s human agents that have become robotic - reading from scripts that lack context or empathy.

The future of customer support is AI-driven virtual agents. Soon, we’ll interact conversationally with bots that know who we are, how we’re impacted, and what we need. Soon, the capabilities of virtual agents will far exceed those of today’s best human agents. We’ll receive support that is more reliable than friends, more accurate than social media, and less frustrating than waiting on hold.

Join a panel of experts in AI and customer service for a provocative discussion about how new innovations in NLP, machine learning, and neural networks are being used to finally fix customer support. We’ll also discuss the cultural implications: what happens to human agents when bots take over? Who is responsible when things go wrong? How do we catalyze the cultural shift to AI-based support?

Billions of dollars in brand value are at stake… and we’re finally on the cusp of rapid progress.

Meet the speakers:

Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research for CRM and Customer Service (Moderator)

Kate serves Application Development & Delivery Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, maturity, benchmarking, governance, and ROI. She is an accomplished public speaker and frequently presents at industry events such as CRM Evolution. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and industry publications such as CRM Magazine, KM World, and Destination CRM.

Allan Leinwand, CTO, ServiceNow

Allan is currently Chief Technology Officer for ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) - the Enterprise Cloud Company.

Previously, he was Chief Technology Officer - Infrastructure for Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA), the leader in social gaming. 

He lived inside of a VC firm and was a Venture Partner at Panorama Capital (previously JPMorgan Partners) who focused on network and systems technology investments. 

Allan is also a founder of Vita, the leader in open source networking (acquired by NASDAQ: BRCD). He was CTO and VP Internetwork Engineering for Digital Island (NASDAQ: ISLD). He spent 7 years at Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) in the early days. Allan co-authored “Cisco Router Configuration” (Cisco Press) and “Network Management: A Practical Perspective” (Addison-Wesley) and granted a patent in the field of data routing with other patents pending in the field of network route optimization.

Jason Smale, Director of Product Strategy, Zendesk 

Jason leads Product Strategy for Zendesk based out of San Francisco, however has spend a large majority of the last 4 years building Zendesk's engineering teams throughout the APAC region. During the last 4 years he and his teams have touched nearly every part of the stack; from building front-end JavaScript frameworks to spinning up machine learning pipelines. 

Prior to joining Zendesk, Jason worked for Deloitte Digital in Australia and the US designing digital strategies & executing on them for clients including Adobe, VMWare & Australia Post.

Nitin Narkhede, General Manager, Emerging Technologies and Innovation, Wipro Technologies  

Nitin is responsible for development of new services and solutions based on emerging trends and technologies at Wipro. Nitin has incubated new solutions and services in areas of Cloud computing, sustainability, social computing, advanced analytics and big data in the recent past. 

His current areas of focus include cognitive computing, smart systems, internet of things, next generation of human machine interfaces based on AR/VR, robotics and drone applications.

Nitin has been in the forefront of number of technology and business model transitions during his 20 years of work at Wipro. 

Nitin holds Bachelors in Mechanical engineering from Pune University and Masters of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India.

Dan Turchin, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Neva

Dan Turchin is the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Neva, the leading provider of machine learning and natural language processing solutions for customer service and support. 

Prior to Neva, Dan was Vice President of Product at DevOps leader BigPanda, Chief Product Officer at security analytics company AccelOps (now Fortinet), and a Senior Director of Product Strategy at ServiceNow. In 2000, Dan co-founded mobile enterprise machine learning company Aeroprise and served as CEO until it was acquired in 2010 by BMC Software. He was also a founding board member at Rhomobile prior to its acquisition by Motorola.

Dan is passionate about building great teams that build great products that solve hard problems that change lives. He's a big fan of Orwell, Dr. Seuss, youth soccer, adventure sports, and Tynker. Dan has BS and BA degrees from Stanford University. Follow Dan on Twitter: @dturchin.


6:00 - 6:30 Networking and Registration

6:30 - 6:45 Introduction by The Hive

6:45 - 6:50 Panelists' Introduction

6:50 - 7:45 Panel discussion

7:45 - 8:00 Q&A


Join or login to comment.

  • K H.

    Very informative and not a little scary viz: how AI/Learning Systems could displace high end jobs in the same way the industrial automation replaced manufacturing or labor intensive jobs.


  • Randy B.

    live-streamed and/or recorded?

    3 · 5 days ago

    • Shasha

      Hi Vera, glad you liked the panel and her slides. Kate's contact is on her last slide and you can thank her on your behalf:) Have a great weekend, Vera!

      1 · 2 days ago

    • Vera D.

      Thank you, Shasha! I will make sure to thank Kate directly. Her slides are really helpful to us in the project we are doing in class now, exactly on this topic. Enjoy your weekend, Shasha! :)


  • Calvin L.

    Out of town to close some deals and celebrate Ventura's first year of operation and achieving profitability.

    1 · November 4

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