Adding artificial intelligence to the contact centre is an important decision that involves a significant investment of time, money, and resources. Because of this, when an organisation is ready to implement AI, it’s absolutely critical to identify how and when the new technology will deliver a return on investment.
There are a number of ways that the contact centre can benefit from adding artificial intelligence. It ultimately depends on how progressive the business is in their use of the technology and how willing they are to fine tune its capabilities to their unique needs. With the right strategy and implementation process, the contact centre can experience an exponential ROI from artificial intelligence. While some of the uses are straightforward and already widely adopted, there is even more potential for leveraging the core benefits of AI in the service experience.
The core benefits of artificial intelligence include:
- Collect robust amounts of data across virtually limitless sources
- Process data quickly and effectively, with an ability to learn over time
- Complete easily predictable tasks
- Augment human experiences with recommendations and predictions
Some executives will fall into the trap of seeing these benefits and believing that they should reduce (or eliminate) their frontline contact centre workforce as a result. They’ll buy into the detrimental lie that the ROI of artificial intelligence will come from eliminating staff. In reality, however, an organisation deploying AI shouldn’t do so to replace humans and/or minimise costs. While there can be cost savings as a result of using chatbots to automate entry-level interactions that can be handled by humans, AI is not necessarily always the right solution. If the bot lacks access to a comprehensive knowledgebase and cannot effectively understand a customer’s request, it is certain to result in amplified frustration and dissatisfaction. Sure, bots are capable of handling those types of interactions but, for some organisations, what AI can do and what it should do are two very different things!
The companies who will excel at using AI will leverage it to gain deep insights into customers’ preferences. The inherent capabilities of artificial intelligence should be used to deliver bespoke content and communications to customers. The vast amounts of data that are available within an AI tool is best utilised when it delivers accurate, predictive answers to customers. In other words, artificial intelligence can help organisations simplify the complexity of their data to deliver smarter service experiences.
When AI is thought about through this lens, the potential use cases stem far beyond automating customer interactions. Contact centre leaders could use the analytics from AI sources to better identify the training and development needs of their staff; the aggregate data from previous customer experiences could be utilised to route contacts to the best agent or source for a solution; product development could be accelerated through faster access to customer insights and preference data. The efficiency would not just be through the customer interactions, but rather across the entire enterprise as people, processes, and technology grow more agile in meeting and serving customer’s needs.
It couldn’t be a more interesting and energising time to work in contact centres. The convergence of people and technology continues to present exciting challenges and tremendous opportunities for organisations to adapt and evolve. While there is plenty of fear around artificial intelligence and whether or not its capabilities will be abused, the real story is that it’s going to enable a beautiful future for humans to do our best work, while machines handle the rest.