Optimizing Customer Experience with an AI-Powered Contact Center
Does your organization have a contact center at the core of its customer engagement model? The reality is that most large enterprises these days do, and that one moment of customer contact is a critical opportunity (and risk) for making the right impression, maximizing customer experience, and turning issues and escalations into lifetime customers.
So, how does your organization respond to shifting volumes of people making inquiries at your contact center? If you’re handling the work internally, you know it can be difficult to predict how large the workforce needs to be, how to manage turnover, and how to make sure your front line has the right expertise with so many variables at play.
From fluctuating seasonal demand, changes in consumer sentiment and the shifting state of the economy, your contact center capacity will naturally need to adjust. For example, one day you may need triple the capacity, while on another day, maybe half of the usual calls roll in.
With uncertainty in personnel needs and a company-wide mandate to control costs, it makes sense to leverage AI to optimize our resources and expertise in an attempt to perfectly meet your customer needs.
Artificial Intelligence as a Tool to Augment the Capabilities of Human Agents
In order to maximize customer experience, you can’t turn to AI for everything, but you can leverage it to help manage volume and automation. For example, chatbots are software-powered tools that can process natural speech and text to understand customer intent and answer basic questions, tailored to address the specific nature of their requests. This is a great way to address your very front line to gather inbound request information and begin to tailor the ideal resolution or sales path for your customers. Clearly using artificial intelligence for contact center optimization may not actually include a chatbot that speaks autonomously with customers but it can be a great way to augment your best agents.
As soon as a customer comes in, the AI engine can pull up and aggregate all the historical details about this person’s interactions with the company. This helps the assigned agent quickly see what the call potentially is about, and even gauge customer sentiment before answering.
Routing and triaging inbound contacts with AI will also save time and optimize the experience. Rather than having people shuttling callers to different agents until the right one responds, the AI engine can take care of this. As CIO noted, “Contact center managers spend hours developing complex call routing algorithms to route conversations to the “best” agent.” It explained that contact centers “have AI-based call routing capabilities where the machines will put those routing plans together for the company.”
Chatbots Engage With Customers
Many companies start working with artificial intelligence solutions via Google Cloud. With its Contact Center AI “Agent Assist” feature, Google Cloud “empowers human agents with continuous support during their calls and chats by identifying intent and providing real-time, step-by-step assistance.”
Identifying callers before they speak to a human is an excellent use of AI-fueled chatbots in the contact center. The phone number they’re calling from identifies many individuals. You can also use voice biometrics, to identify a previously identified customer based on a recording of their voice.
Of course, very simple chatbot interactions to answer inquiries about hours of operation, to get directions and other mundane tasks are eminently taken care of by AI, freeing humans to deal with more complicated inquiries and unique problems the software isn’t yet programmed to address.
Predicting what customers want and placing their conversations in historical context of previous interactions with the company is a high priority for AI systems for use in contact centers. To that end, UJET describes its contact center AI solution as a way to boost efficiency with predictive, contextual routing of calls. It gives customers a unified experience whether they are interacting with marketing, sales or support.
Working With Enormous Troves of Data
People are not well-equipped to process and analyze huge amounts of data, but being able to parse information can prove enormously helpful to support contact center operations. Artificial intelligence is well suited for crunching through big data sets, in near real time to help ensure that your customer gets the right agent, equipped with the right information, at the right time. This of course, leads to happier customers, and faster resolution times which directly impacts the bottom line.
Customer Think gave an example of a company that provides online learning courses and it is now endeavoring to finalize its workforce schedule for the coming year. That’s a scenario where the company typically would be either understaffed or overstaffed, and neither outcome is desirable.
“Even allowing for the usual estimates – a spike in calls when exam results come out, and again before the term starts, tracking trends can be difficult. AI could be used to monitor the data sets of the past five years of calls, looking at call length, first-tier resolution rates, and other metrics.” The AI service produces a more accurate trend map that helps you schedule the team much more efficiently.
Sometimes artificial intelligence in the contact center is used for analysis of workers, seeing how they are doing at interacting with customers. These would be humans who are doing complex tasks other than basic chatbot responses. An AI system can monitor all interactions between agents and customers, and not only provide insights into how those interactions are going, but also feed the agent with real-time expertise to address the unfolding situation in the customer interaction. This allows for much greater insight than you could possibly achieve by having human supervisors randomly listening in on calls, and goes way beyond any traditional training you can provide to your agents. In this sense, AI would become an important aspect of your onboarding and training program. As the artificial intelligence listens in, it detects mistakes, such as a worker going off-script.
Detecting errors early in training is ideal because otherwise, workers form bad habits that are harder to eliminate later. And correcting an employee for a small issue noticed by the AI makes for smoother operations, when compared to having to give a worker a severe warning over an ongoing problem that you’ve never discussed before.
Harnessing AI to Give Your Organization Unlimited Call Center Capability
It's becoming easier and more accessible than ever to deploy artificial intelligence in a contact center. Companies like Google and UJET enable every sized company to deploy cutting edge technology to maximize their contact center operations and experience, and deploy a solution that previously was only available to the largest companies in the world.
Specialized software is capable of picking up incoming calls no matter how many of them come in, 24/7/365, to deal with the most basic and frequently asked questions.
More sophisticated AI systems, with proper training, can address even more inquiries on your behalf. Of course, a major attraction to using AI is how it serves your human agents to predict caller needs and answer their questions with historical context based on previous interactions, which the AI serves up before they even start talking.
If your organization lacks expertise in AI, and you are interested in learning more about how to make your contact center AI enabled, please get in touch with F33 today.
CIO: Practical AI in the contact center starts with agent assistance
Google Cloud: Contact Center AI
UJET: Unified CX for the Smartphone Era
Customer Think: 5 Uses of Artificial Intelligence in the Contact Center