Research Insights – Where Are Contact Centres on Their AI Journey?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chapter Cover 2023

In our What Contact Centres Are Doing Right Now (2023 Edition) research – sponsored by Centrical – we polled the industry on their experiences with artificial intelligence (AI) so far. Here’s what they said…

43% Said They ‘Don’t Have’ an AI Strategy in Place Yet

2023 Survey Graph Where Is Your Artificial Intelligence Strategy?
AI Strategy Status Response %
Joined up Strategy in Place (Central Team) 10.7%
Departmental Strategy/ Strategies 13.2%
Working On It 33%
Don’t Have One 43.1%

A Quarter of Contact Centres Leading the Charge With Artificial Intelligence (AI)

When asked ‘Where is your artificial intelligence (AI) strategy?’, 10.7% said they had a ‘joined-up strategy in place’ with a central team, whilst a further 13.2% said it’s in their ‘departmental strategy’.

This shows that artificial intelligence is high on the business agenda in around a quarter of contact centres, where leaders are admirable pioneers in this space. It was equally encouraging that 33% said they were ‘working on it’.

Half of the Industry Needs to Start Playing Catch-Up

Despite this promising picture, 43.1% of contact centre professionals said they ‘don’t have’ an artificial intelligence strategy.

This is possibly due to budget and buy-in limitations, but may also hint at some scepticism, with many perhaps waiting for others to go through the pain of trial and error first.

However, this may be short-lived, as once customers start experiencing the benefits of AI-led CX strategies, those lagging may face a more pressing need to adopt this technology – yet only time will tell how quickly this will happen.

33% Said ‘Contact Reduction’ Key Driver for AI Implementation

2023 Survey Graph 718px What Would Be Your Biggest Driver for Implementing AI?
Biggest AI Driver Response %
Contact Reduction (dealing with High Volumes) 33.2%
Customer Satisfaction 31.6%
Cost Reduction 20.4%
Revenue Generation 9.2%
Other 5.6%

Efficiency Savings Trump Customer Experience

It was promising to see a third of contact centre professionals citing customer-centric reasons for wanting to implement artificial intelligence (AI) – with 31.6% striving for improved customer satisfaction.

However, the majority declared that efficiency savings, which would ultimately benefit the bottom line, were the key drivers behind implementing AI – with 33.2% aiming for contact reduction, 20.4% cost reduction, and 9.2% revenue generation.

Furthermore, of the 5.6% who said ‘other’, survey respondents cited automatic quality monitoring, improved processes and efficiency, process automation, and time as additional drivers for implementing AI.

Overall, it’s somewhat concerning to see that the best interests of the customer are being sidelined here, as contact centres charge into an artificial future.

69% ‘Very Excited’ About Using Interaction Analytics

2023 Survey Graph 760px How Exciting Do You Find Each of the Following AI Technologies?
AI Technology Very Exciting Somewhat Exciting Not Exciting at All
Interaction Analytics 69% 26.1% 4.9%
Predictive Routing 60.1% 33.5% 6.4%
Chatbots 56.6% 33.3% 10.1%
Robotic Process Automation 54.7% 33.3% 12%
Customer Prediction Modelling 52.7% 38% 9.3%
Automated Insight Generation 50.8% 32.8% 16.4%
ID and Biometrics 42.9% 37% 20.1%
Augmented Reality 33% 30.2% 36.8%
Campaign Modelling 28.6% 41.2% 30.2%

Interaction Analytics and Predictive Routing Most Popular

Interaction analytics (69%) and predictive routing (60.1%) took a strong lead in what contact centre professionals were ‘very’ excited about in the scope of available AI technologies, closely followed by chatbots (56.6%), robotic process automation (54.7%), and customer prediction modelling (52.7%).

These results highlight that many professionals have been quick to see the potential benefits of this new and emerging technology and are keen to see it implemented in their contact centres.

By stark contrast, just 33% said they were ‘very’ excited about augmented reality and 28.6% were ‘very’ excited about campaign modelling – highlighting that there’s a big educational piece still to do across the industry to showcase the capabilities and value-add of individual AI-driven technologies.

Only 9% Claimed to Have Had an ‘Excellent’ Chatbot Experience

2023 Survey graph 718px What Has Been Your Experience in Dealing With Other Organizations’ Chatbots?
Chatbot Experience Response %
Excellent – I Always Try to Use Them 9.7%
Good – I Have Had Mostly Positive Chatbot Experiences 20%
Mediocre – The Quality Varies Significantly 57.4%
Bad – I Have Had Mostly Negative Chatbot Experiences 10.3%
Terrible – I Avoid Them at All Costs 2.6%

There’s a Lot of Work to Do to Improve the Reputation of Chatbots

The survey findings revealed a disappointing situation in the experience of dealing with other organizations’ chatbots.

Whilst a promising 9.7% claimed to have had an ‘excellent’ experience, around 70% of chatbot experiences were dubbed below par – as the vast majority (57.4%) said they were ‘mediocre and the quality varies significantly’, whilst a further 10.3% said they’d had a ‘bad’ experience, and 2.6% went so far as to say their experience was ‘terrible’.

2% of Contact Centres Have Already Adopted Generative AI

2023 Survey Graph 718px What Are Your Thoughts on Generative AI for Your Organization?
Thoughts on Generative AI Response %
We’re Highly Interested 21%
We’re Thinking About Potential use Cases 43.6%
We’re Not Sure There is a Benefit 26.7%
We’ve Already Implemented and Are Using 2.6%
There is No Benefit to Our Organization 6.1%

Almost Half of Contact Centres Thinking About Potential Use Cases

The survey findings showed that just 2.6% of contact centres had already adopted generative AI into their contact centres.

Quite promisingly, a further 21% said they were ‘highly interested’, whilst 43.6% said they were ‘thinking about potential use-cases’. This suggests the technology has already made big strides in capturing the attention of the industry, and many more may be implementing it soon.

Third of the Industry Unsure of the Benefits

However, not everyone felt this way! The findings also revealed that 26.7% said ‘we’re not sure there is a benefit’, whilst a further 6.1% said ‘there is no benefit to our organization’.

Only time will tell if these operations change their tune once the technology becomes more mainstream and begins to sway customer loyalty.

Run in partnership with Sabio, Centrical, Odigo, Scorebuddy, and NICE, this survey focused on the key elements of a contact centre, including advisor experience and engagement, artificial intelligence (AI), customer experience, quality assurance, workforce management, and more!

Related Research

To download the full copies of our ‘What Contact Centres Are Doing Right Now’ survey reports, follow the links below:

For more great information, check out our other Contact Centre Research

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 10th Jun 2024
Read more about - Contact Centre Research, , , , ,

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