Meet AI: Your New Virtual Contact Center AssistantMichael Curran
It turns out the Jetsons, Star Wars and WALL-E all had it right.
For decades, people have dreamed about robot helpers and predicted their imminent arrival. With today’s growing use of artificial intelligence (AI), it seems their time has finally come.
Statistics tell the story. Some 59 percent of organizations have already deployed some form of AI, according to a recent Gartner survey. Within the next year, the number of AI projects should double. For enterprise companies, the main driver of AI adoption is improving the customer experience, although their vision goes beyond chatbots answering basic customer questions. More than half (56 percent) of organizations use AI to help employees make better decisions and provide a superior level of customer service.
This is where AI within the contact center comes into play. It does more than simply provide faster customer service. Today’s AI technology has grown to the point where it fills numerous roles and wears several hats.
Let’s explore how businesses can benefit from AI’s advanced use in today’s high-performing contact centers.
AI As The Trainer
If you run a typical contact center, chances are you have a high volume of calls coming in each day, answered by a team comprised of both veteran and rookie agents. Businesses are always working to improve the quality of customer interactions, of course, and typically they’ve done this by recording and analyzing conversations, then providing feedback to specific employees or the entire team. While this approach gets the job done, it takes time. That means it can be a while before your agents get the feedback they need to improve.
AI introduces real-time training through virtual agents. These are similar to chatbots, except they’re powered by AI technology. Whether a customer begins their journey with a virtual agent or goes straight to a human, virtual agents monitor interactions via speech or text, “listening” to the words exchanged and their sentiment. In real time, virtual agents coach human reps, making sure they deliver a customer experience that’s not only efficient and effective, but also on-brand and on-message.
The implications of real-time coaching are significant. Supervisors are freed up to perform other work, and an agent who may only be a week into their job can handle calls just as well as a 10-year veteran. Customers enjoy a consistent, positive interaction regardless of the agent’s experience level. And, the benefits extend to the agents themselves, since they can now avoid the frustration that comes with a new job and demanding customers who want fast answers.
AI As The Data Collector
Without data, you can’t improve your level of customer service. You need to know what your customers want and why they’re contacting you so you can prepare your agents with appropriate information and resources. However, all that data is useless if you don’t have the means to analyze it and put it to use.
AI technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) interpret data and provide analysis around areas such as:
- Why customers contact you
- Ways you can improve your products and services
- The availability of information to customers
This kind of data lets you move beyond efficiency and actually improve your overall customer experience and satisfaction levels. More importantly, real-time insights allow you to adapt to customers’ preferences quickly – and stay ahead of the competition.
AI As The Assistant
Contact centers need assistance in more ways than one, and AI helps with them all. In addition to real-time coaching, AI chatbots provide faster and more personalized customer service. AI virtual agents can interpret and access customer data, so they can handle more inquiries on their own, freeing up human agents to handle complex calls.
Machine learning enables AI bots to determine when a customer is getting frustrated and needs a human touch. When this happens, customers aren’t placed in a random queue. Rather, AI technology routes their call to the most qualified person and, at the same time, provides them with a full transcript of the conversation. That saves customers from the nuisance of having to repeat themselves.
Once a human is involved, AI technology assists in the background. Bots monitor the conversation and present the human agent with relevant information that helps them satisfy the customer. From product information to weather forecasts, the virtual agent can access both internal and external data to make sure the customer has a smooth and pleasant experience.
It’s now possible for your contact center to have a “Rosie” of its own, just like the Jetsons. AI technology provides real-time coaching, advanced analytics and real-time assistance to create a more personalized customer experience and a stronger, well-armed team of contact center agents. Start taking advantage of AI technology today by working with a provider that’s committed to innovation and provides the latest advantages that AI can bring to your contact center.
Interested in adding AI to your contact center? Learn more about the Mitel and Google Cloud partnership.
This article was first published by Mitel.