Where AI Can Pay Off in the Contact Center

Intelligent routing, sentiment analysis, chatbots and social media analysis are some of the ways artificial intelligence (AI) tools can pay off in the contact center, according to David Myron, principal analyst, Omdia.

“AI can automate customer personalization at scale and provide a level of support beyond human capacity,” said Myron at an Enterprise Connect 2022 session, “Where AI Pays Off in the Contact Center.”

Myron said his firm’s research shows that social listening and ticketing is the top choice for AI deployments, followed by tools to identify caller intent, chatbots, call/speech analytics, and monitoring customer satisfaction. Other use cases include digital customer contact analytics, intelligent call routing and agent training.

“You should look at your organization to see where AI can add the most value to your customer service,” Myron said. For example an AI social media listening system can automate, prioritize and triage conversations across multiple social media channels in real time. “But don’t only listen for bad comments,” he added. “Be ready to share what customers love about the brand.”

Enterprises are now implementing both basic task-oriented chatbots and data-driven predictive chatbots, as well as digital interaction analytic tools to gain enhanced insights, improve quality management and customer satisfaction, Myron said.

AI-enhanced call recording systems can add value by capturing, transcribing, linking, tagging and sharing customer-agent conversations. “Look for domain-specific conversational AI technology for optimal understanding of your agent and customer interactions,” he said. “Also, AI-enabled speech analytics can bring the voice channel into the digital revolution, allowing you to transcribe conversations and search through the data.”

Successful use cases

In his presentation, Myron outlined several successful AI deployments in a variety of vertical sectors. For instance, MetTel, a New York-based business telecom company, implemented an AI-driven conversational intelligence system to replace spot-checking quality management, resulting in a 28 percent reduction in repeat callers, a 35 percent drop in escalated calls, and an 11 percent drop in the department’s operational costs during the first 60 days.

The Bouqs Co., a California online flower and plant delivery company, deployed AI for sentiment analysis leading to a 318 percent ROI from conversation tagging. Consolidating the feedback from 250,000 conversations annually led to a significant savings in the reduction of agent hours.

Akzo Nobel, a paints and coating company serving the UK and Ireland, turned to AI to help its support team manage 60-plus social media accounts, resulting in 172 percent increased engagement. Meanwhile, Advia Credit Union in Michigan implemented a ticket system through a chatbot for after-hours servicing of member requests.

Recommendations

In today’s world, speed matters when responding to customers, Myron said. If an inquiry can’t be resolved right away, be sure to send an automated notice acknowledging the request.

In the contact center, AI can transform the role of agents from problem solvers to brand ambassadors. “As AI becomes more entrenched in contact center, we will see more super agents who are knowledgeable and skilled in different channels, such as video, phone, and social media,” Myron said.

But be sure you understand how new AI tools will fit into your organization, and don’t assume an application is ready to go when purchased. “The biggest misconception is that you can plug it in and it will work,” said Myron. “In fact, implementation is the biggest challenge. It’s not easy to get things right.”

Other challenges include lack of applicable use cases, inadequate training or implementing AI on a siloed basis. “You need to be sure that your data is clean,” he said.

“You also need to be sure you have the right people in place who are trained in AI. So start with your training right away. Don’t wait till the end of the project.”

From children to adults, everyone today is interested in digital-first solutions, Myron concluded. “Now, you should consider how AI tools could help your organization respond to that trend.”

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