What’s on the AI Horizon: Roadmap to AI in the Contact Center

How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) affect your contact center? Whether you’re looking to impact operational costs, keep up with the competition, improve efficiencies, reduce the volume of agent interaction or improve the overall customer experience, AI is going to make a measurable impact.

AI isn’t new to today’s customers, who already interact with AI through multiple outlets daily. An efficient, omnichannel approach is what your customers anticipate. All those experiences and ideas add to the conversations surrounding AI. So, what expectations do consumers have when it comes to AI in the contact center?

To best answer this question, we turn to research. Art Schoeller, Vice President and

Principal Analyst at Forrester, has taken his experience in contact center service and dug into the world of AI to uncover key learnings about the new technology today, and what direction contact centers need to take tomorrow.

With this contact center research, you’ll be able to answer these three major questions:

  • How are my peers adopting AI in the contact center?
  • What are the gains I can expect from implementing AI?
  • What should I be doing, both in terms of preparing and implementing AI projects, to get the most from that technology in my contact center?

Through this Forrester research, you’ll explore the answers to these critical questions and what steps to take in your contact center today. Explore more.

Artificial Intelligence on the Front End

Consumer research indicates heightened expectations for AI in the contact center. Not only do consumers want AI in their interactions, but they also anticipate utilizing it in front end interactions. Here’s what the data shows:

  • Consumers expect 50% of all calls to be self-serviced
  • Consumers expect 80% of contact to be automated

Whether it’s through an IVR system or chatbot, customers assume that they will find help through AI. What is an IVR? That stands for interactive voice response, which can reduce your cost per call by letting customers choose the type of help they want such as self-service or speaking to an agent.

What’s behind this increased expectation for self-service? With modern IVR and AI technology, and bots and menus that are easy to interact with, customers have seen the advantages of being able to act quickly. Being able to get answers at any time with the help of AI is becoming second nature.

These high expectations for automation should encourage organizations to implement AI tools immediately with comprehensive software for contact centers and today’s cutting-edge technology.

 

Blended Artificial Intelligence

But there’s an important level of harmony and balance between humans and AI for ideal service. This blended AI is critical from the standpoint of your agents and what they do in your contact center.

Capitalizing on the learning ability of AI, data captured from agent outcomes can provide feedback to machine learning models. As agents complete a task, the outcome is sent to the learning algorithm — so AI might be able to handle that task in the future. With machine learning tools seeing what it takes to create a good outcome and avoid a bad outcome, the technology develops a feedback loop and learns to take those steps itself.

In the past, routine tasks might have been stuck with an agent, but this training now enables AI to take over. Alleviating repetitive tasks empowers agents to tackle the bigger challenges more efficiently than ever.

 

Flipping the Design Process

While the capabilities aren’t quite reality yet, organizations can look forward to a future when machine learning enables AI to learn by itself. This concept of self-learning is on the horizon. Though the future of machine learning has yet to arrive, we’ve still come a long way from the past.

For years, software for call centers has been designed to operate on data. Today, that concept has been turned on its head. With today’s AI technology, the system receives data and begins to build a neural network on its own. This process might bring to mind the early days of IVR, when IVR systems would take customers down a good path — or a not-so-good path! — based on their own similar neural network.

All of this adds up to a significant change. Instead of software designed to operate on data, the future holds the opposite: thanks to advanced AI and machine learning, the data builds the software. We are literally turning the whole process on its head with this evolution.

Still, whenever using data in such circumstances, it is important to use well-chosen data. This data needs to be tagged with outcomes both positive and negative in order to inform AI.

 

Increased Investment in AI

So, let’s return to the critical question: what are your peers are doing in AI? In Art’s research with Forrester, he inquired about plans for investment in the next 12 months. While a large number of respondents were already rolling out AI in their contact centers, 64% said they’re going to increase their investment in AI. Long story short: AI investment is on the rise.

While 33% of respondents were content with their level of investment in AI, twice as many were ready to go one step further. Between these responses, a very high degree of respondents were ready and willing to increase their investment in AI.

For organizations that have yet to increase their AI capabilities, now is an ideal time to get on par with competitors, meet consumer expectations and tremendously improve customer experience.

 

The Roadmap to a Cognitive Contact Center

The many potential uses of AI in the contact center can lead organizations to a number of questions. You might find yourself thinking:

  • Where can AI deliver the greatest impact?
  • What staffing, expertise and business process is required to support AI?
  • How can vendor partners be best utilized?
  • What is the best method to measure business impact?

For the answers to these questions and more, watch the on-demand recording of The Roadmap to a Cognitive Contact Center. In this webinar, you’ll hear more from Art Schoeller on research findings, key recommendations and answers to your AI contact center questions.

This webinar is not one to miss with its inside look into the latest contact center research, packed with valuable insights from peer contact center leaders who have taken steps to infuse AI into their contact centers.

AI is here and it’s already transforming contact centers around the globe. Watch the webinar now to learn more!

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