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The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Contact Center Automation

What is Contact Center AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computation that aims to mimic human action smartly by recognizing inputs, processing them, and responding accordingly. Contact Centers have played an essential role over the years in enabling enterprises to provide customer service and initiate sales conversations. Contact Center AI is about applying artificial intelligence to contact center operations.

Why is Contact Center Automation Important

While the role of contact centers is mission-critical for most organizations (especially the larger ones), it is often challenging to match customer expectations while economizing costs. There are two main cost heads associated with the contact center:

  1. Cost of Manpower: Companies need large workforces to handle high-volume customer requests. 
  2. Cost of Infrastructure: The cost of infrastructure includes the technology and real estate required to enable the contact center agents to perform. 

For decades, cutting down on contact center costs has been a high priority for businesses. However, traditional cost-cutting measures( such as outsourcing operations to a lower-cost geographic location) bottom out beyond a point. 

Artificial intelligence allows businesses to explore further pockets for cost reduction while not compromising on customer delight.

How Contact Center Automation with AI Helps

Most companies first adopt  AI for contact center automation to reduce workforce and infrastructure costs. However, the benefits of AI-based automation aren’t just limited to cost savings. As a result, AI is fast becoming a default standard in contact center automation, at least in the case of L1 support. Let’s look at these benefits in detail.

Improves Customer Journey

Initially, there was tremendous apprehension amongst naysayers that AI would lead to customer dissatisfaction & churn. The fears held merit a few years back. However, the field of AI is fast evolving, and as a result, the technology is getting better at handling customer requests. 

An improved AI-based automation system leads to an improved customer experience and journey. Think about some of the typical challenges of traditional contact centers. Two of the most outstanding ones would typically be long wait times and sketchy after-hour services. In both these cases, AI has played a pivotal role in transforming the customer experience. 

It’s not that AI today can handle 100% of all contact center cases. However, there are quite a few cases that a contact center receives daily, which are primarily about performing simple tasks such as updating information, booking or canceling appointments, or typical other such queries. These requests often comprise about 70% of all daily requests. In AI is used successfully to handle requests, the contact center can save on costs while bumping a few notches up in efficiency.

Analyzes Customer Interaction

A couple of lines from the famous Coca-cola promotional song for the FIFA world cup 2010 apply really well to artificial intelligence:

“When I will be older,

I will be stronger ….”

AI-based systems improve with age because the data it handles supervises the algorithm to perform better. There is another side benefit that’s often ignored. This data is available to the organization to analyze customer interactions. Such data collection is almost impossible in a human-agent-based contact center. More often than not, agents are overloaded with cases, and it’s unfair to estimate proper documentation of each case.

Empowers the Agent

There has been quite a hue and cry on how AI might end up jobs for contact center agents. The reality, however, has panned down differently. While there have been workforce reductions- AI hasn’t eliminated agents. Instead, artificial intelligence has ended up empowering the agents. In quite a few cases, AI is used internally to help agents resolve issues better and faster.

Enhances Overall Agent Performance

In most centers today, it’s a hybrid environment. Artificial intelligence does the gatekeeping and handles the basic requests. The escalations are then transferred to human agents. Such a system improves the overall agent performance. Agents can now spend more time per case and handle more complex issues. The overall agent performance improves as agents get better at handling such cases.

Reduces Cost

According to the report, Call Center Software Statistics for 2022, AI adoption in contact centers have led to: 

  • 59% reduction in operational costs
  • 59.9% increase in productivity
  • 36% improvement in efficiency

The cost reduction presents a compelling case for more prevalent adoption of AI in contact center operations.

Future of Artificial Intelligence in Contact Center Automation

As per Deloitte, in 2019, only 13% of Contact Centers deployed Artificial Intelligence. However, the situation is fast changing, and AI adoption is growing at a CAGR of 21.3%. In 2022, the market size for global Contact Center AI is $1.6 Billion. It is estimated to reach $4.1 Billion by 2027.

As of 2022, about 60% of contact centers are testing AI. There is one question; however, that needs to be addressed. In what form would AI be most effective to be customer-facing? 

As per Call Center Technology Survey, 2022 – 76% of customers prefer voice when dealing with contact centers. The preference for chatbots or interactive chats is just 14%. Yet, in most cases today, we see companies adopting AI using text-based chatbots. 

We can expect the trend to change towards voice-based AI. If you want to give voice-based AI a spin, you may want to try out Softbrik.

Frequently Asked Questions

What level of support does Contact Center AI offer?

There are 2 major ways in which contact center AI is used today. In some cases, it’s used to solve customer queries directly. In other cases, it is used in the backend to help agents solve customer queries better and faster.

Who are the typical users of Contact Center AI?

When it comes to adoption of Contact Center AI, the top 4 sectors are BFSI, IT&Telecom, Healthcare and Retail.