AI isn’t Artificial in the Contact Center—Here’s Why it Works
I recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a webinar with leading Communications Industry Analyst Sheila McGee-Smith titled “How AI Drives Results in the Contact Center” and the question posed was: “What does AI mean for those working in the contact center? And how can AI be practically leveraged in the contact center to achieve these customer and business outcomes.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly grown as businesses work to drive sustainable organizational change in line with shifting expectations and preferences. AI technologies like machine learning, cognitive computing, and natural language understanding have become urgently important for leading disruptive digital transformation (something only 19% of companies believe they’re doing, according to IDC) to drive next-gen customer and business outcomes.
The benefits of AI are far ranging from both a consumer and organizational perspective. For customers, it is the promise of a more contextual end-to-end service experience that drives loyalty and satisfaction. Meanwhile, for organizations it is that of increased profitability due to improved conversion rates, improved business processes, and agent satisfaction (Forrester, in their Predictions report this year, Blended AI Will Disrupt Your Customer Service and Sales Strategy, predicts that AI-driven companies will increase revenues by 10%).
Our webinar attendees certainly agreed. When asked what corporate initiatives AI supports or could support for their organization, the majority reported improved customer experience and CSAT (48%) and increased customer lifetime value and revenues (34%). Specifically, 49% of attendees who have AI fully deployed reported doing so to improve CSAT. For those who plan to deploy AI in the next 12 months (24%), the top driver was increased revenues.
Contrary to its name, AI is anything but artificial; the technology enables contact centers to deliver more authentic and meaningful experiences than ever. We discussed in the webinar the benefits and capabilities of AI before, during and after the customer interaction takes place.
Consider, for example, the use of AI for analyzing past consumer behavior to intelligently pair customers with the best resource or subject matter expert organization-wide. In this way, the technology would rapidly canvas data-driven internal and external sources such as databases, CRM, demographics and psychographics to not only determine match-ability but provide agents with informed insight on such things as how likely a customer is to buy or churn—all before the first “hello.”
During these customer interactions, agents can be provided with real-time knowledge base information that allows them to quickly answer inquiries, improving both customer and their own job satisfaction. And of course, the benefits of AI continue after every interaction with proven productivity improvements in after call work and documentation (ranging anywhere from 30 to 50% reduction, based on typical three-minute after-call work activity) as well as monitoring and coaching at the management level (supervisors can improve job performance and, subsequently, customer experience with complete visibility of calls).
All the while, there are the compliance benefits of an AI-driven contact center: with all conversations recorded and transcribed, managers will know exactly what was said and when it was said with complete coverage and supervision on demand.
I provided some examples above that are touching the surface of AI. We recognize the endless possibilities and introduced Avaya A.I.Connect, a consortium of companies dedicated to supporting and promoting the interoperability and value of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This initiative creates the broadest set of technology options of AI capabilities for Avaya customers worldwide to deliver more engaging experiences to their own end customers. Examples include Cogito, Scoredata, Nuance and Verint.
So, why AI now for customer care? The real question is: if not now, then when? The positive impact of AI is clear, as well as consumers’ expectations for the technology to enhance their experience with leading brands. Gartner predicts that by 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve AI in some form with more than 15% being completely handled by AI. Already 47% of companies currently use AI in some form for driving customer interactions, according to Nemertes Research.
I encourage you to listen to our webinar replay and hear what’s possible within Avaya’s contact center portfolio today.
And make sure you come experience Avaya AI with us at the AI+Big Data Expo, November 28-29 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. Avaya SVP of Innovation Laurent Philonenko will be giving a keynote on Harnessing Transformational Technology for Better Human Experience and Avaya will be participating in panel discussions and showcasing our unique AI solutions.