Contact centres rapidly adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer experience. AI-powered technologies are automating critical aspects of customer service and enabling more efficient operations.
This article will provide an overview of how AI is revolutionizing contact centres.
Key AI Applications in Contact Centers
Here are some of the most impactful AI applications for contact centres:
|Chatbots||Agents get real-time AI-generated suggestions, answers, and sales prompts to boost performance.|
|Call summarization||Voice and text conversations are analyzed to gauge customer sentiment, identify pain points, and improve service.|
|Agent assist||Speech recognition transcribes calls and extracts key customer information, topics, and agent instructions using NLP.|
|Sentiment analysis||Historical data and external signals accurately predict contact volume and staffing needs.|
|Smart routing||Based on past interactions and customer data, AI recommends the optimal agent and service path for each inquiry.|
Key Benefits of AI for Contact Centers
AI delivers significant benefits for contact centre operations and customer experience:
- Faster resolution – Queries are answered more quickly via AI chatbots and agent assists. Customers get instant resolutions without waiting on hold.
- 24/7 availability – Chatbots provide seamless after-hours support without relying on human agents.
- Reduced call volume – Chatbots and self-service options deflect calls and free up agents to handle complex issues.
- Enhanced sales – AI generates real-time cues and recommendations for cross-selling and upselling.
- Improved analytics – Speech analytics, sentiment analysis, and predictive modelling provide deeper insights.
- Higher efficiency – Automating repetitive tasks like data entry and call summarization increases agent productivity.
- Better forecasting – More accurate volume and staffing forecasts ensure optimal resourcing.
- Personalized service – Data-driven insights allow routing and service tailored to each customer’s profile and needs.
Chatbots and Virtual Agents
One of the most popular AI applications in customer service is intelligent chatbots. According to Gartner ↗, 25% of customer service will use chatbots by 2020.
Chatbots augment traditional interactive voice response (IVR) systems with natural language processing. This enables text or voice conversations that handle customer queries, provide information and complete tasks like payments without human assistance.
Leading vendors like IBM Watson ↗, Microsoft Bot Framework ↗ and Amazon Lex ↗ provide chatbot platforms powered by deep learning and NLP. Features like sentiment analysis detect customer frustration and escalate to a live agent when needed.
Chatbots offer 24/7 automation of high-volume inquiries at a fraction of the cost of human agents. This results in increased customer satisfaction and significant cost savings. Juniper Research ↗ estimates chatbots will deliver over $8 billion in cost savings by 2022.
Call Summarization and Analytics
Transcribing and analyzing customer calls is another area where AI is improving efficiency.
Call summarization software leverages speech recognition and NLP to automatically transcribe calls, identify topics, summarize key points, and highlight agent instructions. This automates tedious manual note-taking, enabling agents to focus on the customer.
AI examines call transcripts, customer profiles, and past interactions to extract insights. Sentiment analysis classifies calls as positive, negative, or neutral. Competitor mentions, churn risks, and upsell opportunities are flagged. This powers targeted service improvements and marketing campaigns.
As per MarketsandMarkets ↗, the speech analytics market will reach $2.8 billion by 2025 thanks to AI capabilities. Call analytics drives cost savings of up to $1 million annually for large enterprises, as per NICE Systems ↗.
Agent Assist Solutions
AI is being used to guide contact centre agents in real-time during customer engagements. Agent assist or coaching solutions analyze interactions and provide relevant information, answers, or prompts to agents via screen pop-ups or headsets.
With natural language capabilities, agents can even speak queries that are answered through speech. This reduces average handling time (AHT) and boosts first contact resolution (FCR). It also facilitates upselling and cross-selling, generating more revenue per customer.
As per Salesforce ↗, agent assistance saves 3 to 5 hours per week for each agent. Customer satisfaction is increased by 3 to 17%. AI augmentation makes agents smarter for complex queries and compliant calls.
The Future with AI
AI adoption in contact centres is still in the early stages, with significant headroom for growth. As the technology matures, we can expect:
- End-to-end AI automation for simple inquiries
- Multilingual chatbots reaching global users
- Integrated self-service and human hand-offs
- Emotional intelligence for AI interactions
- Hyper personalization of customer engagements
The contact centre of the future will have AI working alongside human agents to drive customer satisfaction. Forrester predicts that AI investments will become a competitive necessity ↗ as part of delivering top-class customer experiences.
In summary, AI is fundamentally enhancing contact centre operations and customer service. The use cases are wide-ranging – from chatbots to call analytics and agent assists. AI delivers quantifiable benefits like increased efficiency, cost savings, and revenue growth. Contact centres are on the cusp of an intelligence revolution that will ultimately benefit customers and companies.