Talkdesk has released its newest Research report, The Future of AI 2022: Progressing AI Maturity in the Contact Centre.
The findings indicate that despite consensus (85%) around the value of artificial intelligence (AI), companies are hedging their approach by continuing to invest, but curbing deeper deployments in the near-term due to challenges around organisational alignment, security, and gaps in talent.
As customer service expectations grow across every type of industry – from retail and consumer goods, to financial services and insurance, even healthcare – fast-moving organisations are gaining a competitive edge by using AI and automation to deliver better service and boost productivity.
To reap the benefits and avoid being left behind, 79% of customer experience (CX) professionals say their company plans to increase investments in the year ahead.
Fifty-two percent acknowledge that without AI and automation, customer satisfaction will decrease; 48% expect a decline in contact centre team productivity.
Yet, the use of AI and automation in contact centres has scaled back; for example, their use in self-service declined from 69% in 2021 to 60% today.
Implementing new technology always represents an uncharted territory for companies and AI is no different. The former rush to embrace AI initiatives appears to have met with the reality of the challenges companies are facing, primarily around these key areas:
Misalignment on AI Business Goals
CX professionals report less confidence in their own understanding of AI. The percentage of those saying they feel moderately to extremely familiar with AI in the contact centre dipped from 93% a year ago to 87%.
Similarly, the number of respondents characterising their organisation’s application of AI technology as more advanced fell to 35%. Resistance to change within their organisations and lack of strategic vision were commonly cited hurdles.
Security Risks and IT Challenges
Eighty per cent believe AI will improve identity and authentication security within the next two years. Nearly as many (75%) agree further that AI technology will allow customer data to be more secure than with a live agent.
The belief that AI will improve security seems to contradict findings that security is a key barrier to AI deployment; however, half of the respondents attribute security concerns to the limitations of legacy contact centre infrastructure.
Lack of In-House AI Expertise
Another common obstacle to advanced AI implementation is the lack of AI professionals who can build, train, and maintain AI solutions.
New technology, such as human-in-the-loop tools, can help democratise the use of AI in the contact centre, making it easy for agents to train and maintain AI models without the need for specialised programming skills. According to the survey, 15% of companies are already taking advantage of these emerging tools.
“As contact centres continue to evolve from cost to growth centres, falling short on AI maturity can negatively impact not only the most important contact centre KPIs, such as customer satisfaction and productivity, but also broader business goals tied to revenue and lifetime customer value,” said Ben Rigby, Talkdesk senior vice president and global head of product and engineering, AI, automation, and workforce.
“Working closely with a CX technology partner that has deep AI expertise can allow organisations to break through the barriers to deployment and achieve their AI ambitions.”
Download the report, The Future of AI 2022: Progressing AI Maturity in the Contact Centre, to view all the findings and get guidance on clearing common hurdles to implementation.
To find out more about Talkdesk, visit their website.