The Age of Intent

Using Artificial Intelligence to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience

Have you ever wished that every company you interacted with could just know what you wanted and go get it for you? That when you picked up the phone or opened a chat window that the company would use what it knew about you to anticipate your needs? We are on the verge of a future just like that.

P.V. Kannan, the leader of the standout customer experience technology firm [24], shares his expertise here on how and why virtual agent rollouts succeed—or fail. He explains how to architect key information systems, overcome corporate resistance and bad practices, and analyze customer journeys to make virtual agents maximally effective.


The age of intent is a world where the smartest of chatbots—virtual agents—are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and connected to a customer’s complete past history. These virtual agents can anticipate just what a customer is looking for, answering questions through chat, on the phone, and through smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa. They’ll transform the business world with efficient, scalable service that’s available 24/7 and gets smarter every day.


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I don't think people have fully grasped how profound it is that in the near future, people will expect to talk to machines. And if they're talking, companies need to provide the answers they're looking for. The ability of machines to anticipate human intent is about to become fast, free, easy for the company you’re interacting with, mobile, invisible, and ubiquitous. It is going to make the world flatter, faster, and smarter than ever before. A conversation-first strategy will be required by all companies, just as a mobile-first strategy was after the advent of the smartphone.

Thomas L. Friedman,

New York Times columnist and author of The World Is Flat


Lately, I have experienced greater success with chatbots than with the untrained and apathetic support service humans. I think chatbots are trained to solve problems, while humans are motivated to get rid of callers faster. If you are responsible for customer service, go read The Age of Intent by P.V. Kannan. Do it now, before someone like me hangs up on your support person and starts bitching about your crappy customer support on Facebook.

Shel Israel,

Coauthor of The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything


If you want to understand what customer service looks like in the future, then this is the book to read. And, by the way, the future is now!

Shep Hyken,

Customer service expert and author of The Convenience Revolution

Virtual agents are absolutely consistent, infinitely patient, and ready to help at any time the customer needs them. Together with the best human service representatives, they make a team that can't be beat. That's the message of The Age of Intent, and it should resonate with anyone whose products must deliver the best possible experience.

James E. Meyer,

CEO, SiriusXM Satellite Radio


Artificial Intelligence-enabled virtual agents are profoundly transforming customer and employee engagement. P.V. Kannan’s rich experience in implementing such virtual agents demonstrates a key point: this change is about improving customer experience, not cost reduction and elimination of jobs. A must read for any manager leading or participating in the digital transformation of their business.

M.S. Krishnan,

Associate Dean for Executive Programs, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business


As a customer-first organization, DISH is pulled to any technology that reduces complexity from the millions of service interactions we manage each year. AI-driven tools have allowed us to do just that while making it easier for our frontline to truly connect with our customers. If excellent customer service and team effectiveness are drivers for your business, The Age of Intent offers incredible insight.

Erik Carlson,

CEO of Dish Network


In these pages you’ll learn about the companies that have used virtual agents to deliver a superior customer experience. You’ll see how:


Auto rental company Avis Budget used virtual agents to automate 68% of service calls, saving millions of dollars every year.


Danish bank Nordea’s virtual agent Nova identified thousands of intents, handled 20,000 conversations a month, and reduced emails and calls by 25%.


Satellite operator Dish Network’s agent DiVA responded to 4 million queries a year and helped meet surging demand for pay-per-view events.


Restaurant chain TGI Fridays used a Facebook Messenger chatbot to boost take-out orders by $150 million a year.


Butterball ported its “Turkey Talk-Line” to Amazon’s Alexa smart speaker, serving 20,000 customers in the reassuring voices of its most trusted turkey advisors.


SiriusXM satellite radio uses an AI powered chatbot to rapidly diagnose a customer’s issue and walk the customer through all the steps needed to resolve that issue.


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