The Future of AI for Contact Centres

AI and cloud concept with binary code in cube

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been surrounded by conjecture about what the technology could become in the future.

And, while nobody truly knows what contact centre AI will look like in 10 years, let alone 100, recent innovations are scratching the surface and giving us a glimpse into what to expect. And the possibilities are truly endless.

What we do know is that AI is already vital to helping contact centre agents become super-human customer service experts.

Emerging AI modalities like generative AI and emotion AI can help call agents truly understand what customers need and resolve their queries the first time, every time.

Emotion AI, in particular, can be a crucial differentiator in making your customer experience feel “more human.”

As new contact centre AI modalities and capabilities emerge, one thing remains the same: the future of enterprise AI is human. It starts and ends with the customer-today, tomorrow and for years to come.

The AI Timeline

While AI may be one of today’s hottest topics, the concept of intelligent machines has existed for more than 75 years. AI’s foundations can be traced back to Alan Turing, who devised the principles for the Turing Test in 1950.

The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was first coined by John McCarthy (Dartmouth College), Marvin Minsky (Harvard University), Nathaniel Rochester (IBM) and Claude Shannon (Bell Telephone Laboratories) six years later.

While it would be decades before the first practical business application appeared, these early concepts would soon shape what would become the hallmark of contact centre AI: the chatbot.

ELIZA, widely considered the first chatbot, was developed in 1965 by Joseph Weizenbaum in MIT’s AI lab and influenced future chatbot innovation.

These included Creative Labs’ Dr. Sbaitso, a fully voice-operated chat program developed in 1992 that interacted with users like a psychologist; A.L.I.C.E., a program released in 1995 that used AI markup language (AIML), heuristic pattern matching and universal language processing; modern solutions like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri and social media chatbots on services like Facebook and WeChat.

What Is AI in Contact Centres? And Why Does It Matter?

Today, businesses use AI in the contact centre to transform their customer service processes. Using advanced technology and techniques, like machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), AI helps contact centres perform tasks more efficiently, uncover new use cases and opportunities and create better customer experiences.

As a result, the AI based contact centre can do more with less—driving greater outcomes with fewer resources than ever before.

What Is the Impact of AI in Contact Centres?

Contact centre AI is helping businesses develop deeper connections with customers and employees. It’s already been proven to improve contact centre metrics with more powerful chatbots and voice-based software that delivers smoother and faster user interactions.

For example, AI contact centre solutions can respond to simple or common customer requests in the same way as a human agent.

They can also support agents by analyzing and transcribing conversations, automatically completing online forms and providing real-time insights and actions.

This helps businesses solve customer queries immediately, better understand customer expectations and pain points and target customers with the most relevant content.

Understanding Conversational AI for Contact Centres

Conversational AI harnesses artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to teach machines to recognize and respond to elements of speech and text patterns.

As a result, chatbots can process, understand and simulate human conversation and use that insight to communicate with people more effectively.

Today, conversational AI is helping businesses deliver smoother, faster user interactions across multiple channels.

Benefits of this particular type of contact centre AI include enhanced customer understanding, greater customer service levels, more effective lead generation and more powerful cross-sell and upsell capabilities.

How AI Helps Solve Contact Centre Challenges

Implementing AI solutions across your contact centre can ensure happier customers and more engaged employees. Some of the top AI powered contact centre benefits include:

Greater Business Outcomes

Conversational AI empowers call agents to focus on their primary task: providing great customer service.

The technology helps them achieve first-call resolution, understand customer sentiment, emotion and intent, offer personalized experiences and upsell or cross-sell to users.

As a result, agents that augment their skills with contact centre AI are able to deliver better customer service and drive greater business value.

Empowered Customers

People increasingly want to self-solve simple challenges, rather than call a company and end up in a hold queue.

Enabling self-service options and content, such as help articles and knowledge base information, helps users solve challenges quickly and empowers them to find the information they need.

This proactive approach consequently reduces average handle times (AHT) and employee workloads.

Deeper Customer Understanding

Contact centre AI can help businesses that struggle to understand their customers’ needs. Emotion AI, for example, can identify sentiment in callers’ words and tones, providing instant cues to a contact centre agent to refine their approach or provide clarity to a caller.

The technology also monitors calls to summarize the conversations and collate actions, which helps to understand and deliver on customer needs (and reduces agents’ after-call work).

Task Simplification

Contact centre agents often spend vast amounts of time on tedious tasks like data entry, resetting user words and cutting and pasting data from documents.

But contact centre AI can remove this inefficiency by capturing and converting relevant spoken information into text and auto-populating necessary backend forms.

Why Organizations Are Investing in AI—and How It Will Transform Industries

AI capabilities, like predictive analytics, intelligent self-service and agent assistance offer clear business benefits.

But the technology is also a catalyst for innovation, enabling companies to gain a competitive advantage, unlock new revenue streams, enhance customer experience and train contact centre agents on new ways of working.

AI is increasingly transforming key industries, helping governments and utility providers optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, offset carbon emissions and make smarter data-driven decisions.

Legal firms can use the technology to automatically review vast documents that would take humans hours or even days to read and process, running the risk of human error.

Healthcare providers can also reap huge benefits from AI, from helping doctors rapidly diagnose diseases and perform precise surgery to analyzing vast datasets and predicting potential outbreaks.

How to Pick the Right Contact Centre AI Provider

Before diving into any AI solution, it’s crucial to ensure the provider’s technology integrates effectively with your existing technology stack and matches your business vision well.

We recently outlined the top five business considerations before selecting a Contact Center as a Service solution, and the same criteria apply to implementing AI in the contact centre.

The tool you choose must identify customer sentiment, intent and emotion, be simple yet powerful and keep pace with technological change.

3 Key Use Cases for AI in Contact Centres

Contact centre AI can help you connect with customers, improve processes and empower employees to deliver the experience that users and regulators expect.

They also provide greater insight into contact centre performance, ensuring standards are maintained across the organization. Here are three critical use cases of an AI based contact centre:

Smarter Agents

Despite the rise of virtual agents, many people still rely on and prefer the human touch. But AI tools can help your contact centre agents work faster and more efficiently than ever, feeding them with real-time insight, such as the customer’s buying history and preferences, and automating tasks to help them solve challenges as quickly as possible and field more calls. In short, AI helps call agents do the task they’re best at–supporting customers.

Real-Time Translation

AI can help your contact centre agents quickly solve a caller’s issue even if they don’t speak the same language.

For example, AI translation solutions automatically translate a message typed in Spanish into the agent’s spoken language, enabling them to respond immediately. This allows you to provide tailored support worldwide without paying for local expertise in multiple locations.

Data Analysis and Insight

Contact centres generate an ever-increasing volume of data that’s nearly impossible for people to analyze.

AI tools can analyze vast datasets for actionable insights and customer behavior trends, enabling you to modify products and services or send personalized content to potential customers.

Additionally, contact centres receive thousands of calls per month, which would be impossible for those with even the strongest contact centre leadership skills to review manually.

However, AI tools can automatically transcribe and analyze every conversation to assess customer sentiment and identify potential issues and opportunities.

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 8th Apr 2024
Read more about - Industry Insights, , ,

Follow Us on LinkedIn

Recommended Articles

AI in customer service concept with a robot in headphones coming out of a laptop
Our Top Use Cases for AI in Customer Service
Prediction concept
The Future of Contact Centres: Trends and Predictions
AI bot responding to person in customer service
9 Ways to Use AI in Customer Service
Abstract digital wireframe of headphones with microphone on a phone screen
Virtual Call Centres and the Future of Call Centre Work