For many contact centres, the thought of introducing and integrating artificial intelligence (AI) is a scary thought. AI has been widely discussed as a threat to human jobs for almost five decades, but we’re here to tell you; have no fear. AI can be a saving grace for contact centres. It can offer customers an ideal combination of relatable human interaction with the enhancement and reliability of service that this technology can offer.
AI has already begun to make many tasks easier for contact centres…think about programmed email triggers, IVR systems and live chat. For example, back in April 2016, Facebook announced that third parties can use their messenger application to create their own chatbots, allowing organisations to automate online conversations. Some businesses are simply using it to let a customer know that the office is closed or direct them to contact details, however some organisations have fully embraced AI, allowing their customers to order products, check flight times, and even order pizza to their door simply by sending a message on Facebook.
With all this coming into play, you’d think that robots will indeed replace humans. However, customer expectations are constantly on the rise and the need for human response is still very much in demand from customers who have more complex problems. AI should be viewed as an enhancer, not an alternative solution, and should be looked at by contact centre operatives as something that will help customers and help contact centre agents get more done in less time.
It is predicted that in the next 10 years, AI will help your contact centre agents by:
- Predicting needs – using big data, it will help determine customer needs in greater detail
- Enhancing conversations – virtual assistants will be able to provide instant help
- Automating procedures – freeing time for human agents for interactions that need specialist support
Basically, they are saying that AI will help to alleviate agents from tasks that could be mundane and basic, giving them more time for customers that need additional support and could be more profitable for the business. It will also allow supervisors to allocate additional resources and further develop the workforce, ensuring that agents have great skills when it comes to empathy, problem solving and resilience.
Our viewpoint is that AI will play a background role in contact centres, but in the future, will be crucial for anticipating customer and company needs, handling less urgent interactions and directing customers to the right people, helping to increase first call resolutions. Like with all technology, artificial intelligence’s job will be to make contact centres and humans more efficient.
How are you using AI in your contact centre? Tweet us at @mplcontact.