How UK Contact Centres Are Leveraging Conversational AI

A hand touching a diagram of a chatbot that is in the process of being built


Tricia Morris at 8×8 takes a look at how contact centres in the UK are leveraging conversational AI.

The transformative effects of AI are being felt everywhere and are only set to accelerate. According to PwC research, AI alone will grow European GDP by 9.9% by 2030, which is why PwC has labeled it the “biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast-changing economy.”

Customer-facing roles have some of the greatest potential for augmentation and enhancement thanks to AI. UK contact centres are currently experiencing many of AI’s transformative benefits first-hand.

Chatbots, conversational AI, and generative AI are all playing a central role, and 8×8’s latest research shows that the next 12 months could bring a sea change for UK contact centres.

Asked about AI and automation, 84% of UK IT and contact centre leaders said increased usage over the next 12 months is “very important” to their organization.

The question is what role do the different types of AI (chatbots, conversational AI, and generative AI) play, and how are UK contact centres benefiting now and in the future? The State of Conversational AI in the contact centre report sheds light on the issue.

Workforce and Knowledge Management – Supporting Supervisors and Agents

Automation and AI are currently playing a significant role in workforce (WFM) and knowledge management in UK contact centres.

Workforce management allows contact centre leaders and supervisors to predict the future staffing needs of their contact centre, while knowledge management allows for the efficient capture and storage of different types of information to be used by agents in customer interactions.

In UK contact centres, the use of automation and AI in WFM is a high priority. Self-service automation and real-time agent assist are the top two areas organizations are most interested in applying AI and automation to, accounting for 97% and 87% of CC and IT leaders respectively.

However, Canada and the US skew those figures significantly. Focusing on the UK alone, 93% of UK respondents list workforce management in the top two.

Similarly, 84% of UK companies are interested in using automation and AI in knowledge management, compared to only 65% of US companies.

Applying automation and AI to these two performance management tools helps to enhance agent and supervisor performance without replacing these roles:

  • Automating workforce management boosts the efficiency of scheduling, attendance and performance.
  • Using AI within workforce management gives better forecasting for call centre demand and agent schedules.
  • Automating knowledge management can streamline and standardize response and information delivery.
  • Using AI in knowledge management systems enhances customer experience by giving agents faster access to important information, which can also increase resolution rates.

Chatbots and Conversational AI Are a Benefit-Led UK Priority

One of the key benefits of AI within the contact centre is the ability to offload routine tasks from agents to bots.

This boosts the employee experience, increases productivity, and helps to create more meaningful customer experiences.

Triaging customer queries, via call handling, webchats, or SMS and WhatsApp messaging is one area that AI has great potential.

It can intelligently collect customer information and connect them with the agents best suited to their needs.

In the UK, many organizations are using AI to do this, but focusing on voice channels for AI adoption, with 65% of UK respondents currently using chatbots for voice at their companies.

All organizations have reported reduced wait times (55%) and improved customer satisfaction (48%) through the use of conversational AI.

But in the UK, focusing on voice has helped to enhance internal and customer workflows more than anywhere else, increasing them by 15% and 10% respectively.

Generative AI Is the Next Stage of Contact Centre Development

Generative AI has dominated headlines due to its ability to create vivid images from scratch, along with its ability to pass law exams, write essays, and compose music.

Most important to the contact centre has been the step-change in natural language processing and generation.

Conversational AI can now be augmented by generative AI (just as ChatGPT or Google’s Bard are) to create AI agents that can sometimes be difficult for customers to distinguish from human agents.

Although the potential benefits are significant, UK contact centre and IT leaders aren’t yet prepared to hand over to AI.

Instead, they’re looking to preserve the human touch. In the UK, only a small (54%) majority of CC and IT leaders would trust generative AI to answer customer queries, compared to an average of 64% of global respondents.

Similarly, only 23% of UK contact centre and IT leaders trust generative AI to engage directly with customers, compared to a global average of 34%.

In the ongoing debate between AI replacement or enhancement, the UK contact centre leaders’ position is clear: enhancing agent and supervisor performance, coupled with AI enhancement for voice self-service capabilities, is where the most benefits can be found. The human touch remains key to overall customer satisfaction.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of 8x8 – View the Original Article

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About 8x8

8x8 8x8 is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of voice, video, chat, contact centre, and enterprise-class API solutions, powered by one global cloud communications platform.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: 8x8

Published On: 4th Jan 2024
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