It probably wouldn’t shock you to learn that artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are some of the most misunderstood tools out there. Perceptions tend to err on the science fiction side of things, but in reality, AI is a powerful tool for maximizing productivity and generating valuable data insights.
Despite early reluctance, the advantages of AI have swiftly become apparent in a variety of business sectors. In fact, research firm Markets and Markets predicts that the AI market will grow to a value of 190.61 billion USD by 2025.
Why is the market for AI solutions growing so exponentially? Numerous studies have shown that early adopters of AI in the business world achieved significant benefits – including increased efficiency, cost reduction, improved customer experience, revenue growth and more. And thanks to the flexibility of customized AI solutions, there’s not an industry or enterprise out there that couldn’t benefit from artificial intelligence.
With these advantages in mind, the question contact centers should be asking is not if, but when they should be jumping on board the AI bandwagon.
In this blog post, we’ll explain how the role of AI in the contact center, and how the consolidation of customer service technologies, will increase the need for automated, intelligent contact centers in the near future.
The Role of AI in Contact Centers
The benefits of AI in contact centers are enormous. When implemented in a contact center, AI answers customer needs and improves their overall experience. How?
- By replacing the IVR processes
- By capturing data from customer interactions to better inform future interactions
- By navigating customers around the company website
- By predicting customer behavior to help contact center representatives better answer questions
- By improving chatbot performance
If that sounds like a laundry list of benefits, you’re right – it is. According to one report, by 2025 customer service organizations that embed AI in their multichannel customer engagement platform will elevate operational efficiency by 25%.
Remember: the underlying role of AI in contact centers is to enhance and augment the highly skilled role of a call center agent. You can think of it as helping agents do more with less effort required. As they say, work smarter, not harder.
The Need for Consolidated Contact Centers
The increasing recognition of AI’s capabilities couldn’t come at a better time: contact centers are in great need of time-saving automation and consolidation of services.
This is because CRM solutions and workforce engagement management (WEM) platforms typically support only one or two specific pillars of customer service with little cross-functionality between them.
What’s the consequence of this? Businesses who are looking to supplement their customer service with one of these solutions tend to invest in point or best-of-breed solutions that do not take into consideration the full landscape of customer service needs. In fact, many experts believe the highly siloed, multi-vendor ecosystem of the customer service technologies marketplace actually leads to higher total cost of ownership, less efficiency, reduced connected functionality and disjointed user experiences.
Therefore, as businesses realize the need to invest in customer service-related technologies that will support more consistent, personalized and intelligent experiences, the marketplace is reshaping itself to adapt.
And that’s where AI comes in.
AI, Enter Stage Right
A fully integrated contact center doesn’t just focus on a telephony system, CRM or marketing automation platform; it holistically supports all these solutions to create a streamlined experience for both the customer and the call center agent.
This is where AI makes it much easier to unite the full landscape of customer service needs.
In a fully consolidated contact center (meaning, one that incorporates a telephony system, CRM, workforce management and other solutions), AI offers some critical benefits. Here are three of the most important ones:
- AI reduces staffing costs with improved forecasting and scheduling.
AI is capable of calculating call loads and traffic to estimate the number of agents needed at a call center during a certain period of time. It can even calculate forecasted delays and wait times. Applying AI takes call center scheduling to the next level with the ability to forecast fluctuations and trends more accurately than ever before.
In a united contact center, this would mean honoring parts of traditional workforce management solutions while simultaneously equipping agents with a forecast of the data they’ll need to face the day.
- AI anticipates customer needs.
Through predictive learning capabilities, AI can reveal non-obvious patterns in a contact center’s data logs. These patterns are studied at both large-scale levels and on an individual caller basis. Machine-learning tools will then anticipate how best to respond when it sees those patterns unfolding. Everything from choosing the best promotions to run, to the type of interaction a customer prefers can be determined through cognitive machine learning.
Traditional CRMs focus on managing customer needs. A fully-integrated, AI-supported contact center goes beyond managing interactions into cognitively anticipating their needs … before the agent even picks up the phone.
- AI frees up agents to focus on what really matters
Intelligent chatbots can guide consumers to online content and materials through a self-support journey involving FAQs, product guides, spec sheets, tutorials and videos. These digital materials help consumers solve their own issues without needing to call customer support agents. As a result, agents have more time to answer more pressing and complicated inquiries. Although this automation used to manifest as simple digital transactions, AI is raising the bar with intelligent guides.
As stated in a white paper from software developer BairesDev, cognitive automation is critical for making the shift from simple task automation to mimicking human intelligence as a method of assisting complex and knowledge-intensive business decisions.
Bottom line? Experts agree AI is here to stay. In a marketplace flooded with specialized customer service technologies, cloud-based contact center software that incorporates AI to boost cross-functional capabilities is the future’s answer to creating meaningful customer experience journeys.
Wish your contact center technologies worked together seamlessly to deliver the ultimate customer experience? With CDC Software, it’s possible. Contact us today to connect with the CDC team or schedule a demo of our contact center CTI solution.