AI in the Contact Centre: People, Bots, and the New Customer Experience
In the space of just a few short years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gone from being a somewhat niche field, to front and centre in the public consciousness. With the rise of ChatGPT and similar platforms, there is much speculation about where this technology is heading, and what its impact will be on our personal and professional lives. Indeed, organisations across numerous sectors are already exploring the different ways it can be utilised to reduce costs, optimise efficiency, and improve service quality.
It's understandable. We all like things that run efficiently, and when they don't, it can be a major source of frustration. That's why customer service and contact centre environments would seem like a natural area to explore where AI can be of the most benefit. Indeed, the timing would appear to be perfect, as according to Forrester's annual report on customer experience (CX), the way customers feel about their interactions with companies has dropped significantly over the past year.
However, it's not quite that simple…
The reality is that CX is becoming inherently more complex, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. The divergence of customer interactions across multiple channels, ever-evolving consumer habits, and an ongoing labour shortage have all impacted contact centre environments, and most businesses are lacking even the basic foundations for modern, omnichannel customer service.
The good news is that there are opportunities here to harness AI's capabilities when it comes to automation, which will potentially have a positive impact on contact centre performance, agents' wellbeing, and the overall customer experience.
Consider the following:
- Enhanced efficiency
With AI-powered technology we can automate the simple and mundane tasks that don't require an agent's specialist expertise, while also ensuring they always have the right information they need to resolve more challenging cases right at their fingertips.
- 24 / 7 availability
Bots can answer customers' questions and complete tasks around the clock, meaning agents will not be met with a backlog of tickets when they log in on a Monday morning. This will not only enhance wellbeing and job satisfaction in the contact centre, but ensure each agent is able to deliver their best for every customer.
- Personalised experiences
By drawing on the high volumes of data generated throughout each interaction, AI provides you with the means to precisely tailor each customer journey, and even predict customer issues before they escalate.
- Data driven insights
Building on the above point, these growing data lakes are far too complex for humans to effectively analyse, but AI can simplify the process of building insight into trends, customer behaviour, agent engagement, and sentiment, providing a clear picture of long-term trends in the contact centre. This can then be used to develop more accurate customer personae, more efficient processes, and more effective training programmes.
It's clear then that AI will prove truly transformative to contact centre operations, providing the foundation for a whole new breed of customer experience at a time when many businesses are seeking to restore the consumer confidence that has been lost over the past few years. This isn't speculation about what can be achieved when the technology has fully matured - we are already seeing it taking place. Based on our ongoing work with our customers to optimise their contact centres, and our collaborations with leaders in the field of CX technology, Exponential-e estimates that a typical contact centre could use AI and automation to positively impact at least three customer journey types within just three months.
The potential is enormous, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that all this depends on having the right underlying technology infrastructure in place. For AI to deliver its fullest range of benefits, dataflows from across every channel must be both seamless and highly secure, storage must be both highly scalable and optimised for high volumes of unstructured data, and agents should have a comprehensive range of integrated tools for communication and collaboration at their disposal. Without this foundation in place, successfully executing any AI project will invariably take a lot longer and may even negatively impact your customer and agent experience.
That first step is key. That's why Exponential-e offers a complementary 'AI and Automation Assessment' for businesses. Whether you are taking the first step into the world of AI, or whether you are already further along the journey and need help realising its full potential in the contact centre, our process shines a light on the opportunities for your business and provides clarity on the way forward.
We'd love to talk to you today, so don't hesitate to get in touch to discuss your own contact centre's current level of AI maturity, your CX goals, and how we can help you deliver tomorrow's customer experience, today.
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