AI-powered character recognition: Increased efficiency thanks to Artificial Intelligence

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Bernhard Egger
Retail Community Manager bei BSI
#ai#service#characterrecognition#ocr#retail

Processing customer inquiries arriving by e-mail is a time-consuming process. At the same time, customer concerns can typically be categorized into specific topic clusters and assigned to teams; plus, the responses are similar. So, how can we make the processing of consistently identical e-mail inquiries more efficient? The solution: Automated character recognition using Artificial Intelligence.

Key points:

  • Character recognition and AI help companies recognize and process text content in a fully automated manner;
  • Artificial Intelligence and smart, downstream workflows facilitate the partially to fully automated handling of processes;
  • The resulting efficiency improvements make it possible for companies to divert freed-up resources to process and handle more complex issues – this pays off, particularly in the retail sector.

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Application areas for automated character recognition

In an age when customers type and send e-mails in mere seconds, a flood of information – especially in companies with a multitude of customers and communication, for example, in the retail sector – is a reality. The processing of customer inquiries requires human intelligence. Or does it?

Humans are needed to process complex issues. However, for consistently identical inquiries, for example, the request to unsubscribe from your newsletter, the question about the whereabouts of a package or the request for an invoice copy, AI-powered character recognition provides support.

These tools recognize characters in text (character recognition) and categorize the text into topic clusters (text classification). Then, the text is either forwarded to the pertinent team for processing, or the appropriate workflow is triggered, and the customer request is processed in a fully automated manner. This process also works with scanned documents such as packing slips or contact forms.

Efficiency improvements with Artificial Intelligence

The technical term for automated character recognition, OCR (Optical Character Recognition), describes the automatic recognition of letters with software. While OCR in its “pure form” only recognizes letters or words, state-of-the-art character recognition goes one step further. It recognizes semantic relationships using context analysis (Intelligent Character Recognition or ICR) and corrects the results or places them in the right context.

At BSI, we divide the entire automation process into three stages:

  1. Recognizing text and topic;
  2. Recognizing content;
  3. Executing partially or fully automated customer processes.

With AI software, such as BERT from Google, you can make your company’s processes more efficient and permanently lower your costs.

We used BERT for a customer in the retail industry to classify the company’s inbound e-mails. The outcome: After a “training phase” during which the algorithm categorized e-mails into shipment tracking, fewer advertisements, orders or complaints, AI was convincing, even in the practical test: It classified approximately 95% of all e-mails correctly.

This is where the third stage comes into play, where you can make impactful efficiency improvements: Based on the correct recognition and categorization of customer inquiries, you can now develop intelligent processes that handle customer concerns in an automated manner, therefore lightening your employees’ workload.

OCR character recognition: For more than e-mails only

The application areas for automated character recognition go beyond identifying information in e-mails and using it in customer service.

For example, you can use OCR to scan packing slips, therefore skipping their manual examination and classification. When it is connected to your ERP system, you can automatically capture all relevant data.

Or you can use chatbots or messaging apps with integrated character recognition to make engagement with your customers as easy as possible. The increasing importance of such communication channels for interacting with companies 24/7 is empirically proven: What 47% of respondents particularly like about chatbots is their high speed during the interaction (aiaibot, 2021).

Conclusion: Character recognition is the future

We can automate processes using smart algorithms. Especially in customer service, character recognition and Artificial Intelligence are no longer just a fad.

These tools and opportunities are necessary for your company to remain competitive in the long term and to offer your customers the best possible service.

Have we piqued your interest? At BSI, we work with fully integrated solutions that combine automated character recognition (OCR) with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can ensure an efficiency boost for your company. Lighten your employees’ workload, increase your company’s productivity and make your customers even happier – we look forward to hearing about your project.

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Bernhard Egger, Kundenbegeisterer

+41 58 255 96 85

bernhard.egger@bsi-software.com

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