Centralized contact centers handle basic tasks like product support, customer inquiries and telemarketing, but their functions have changed significantly over the years. Nowadays, companies have recognized the contact center’s role as a critical connection point to their customers and are shifting their strategies accordingly.
Notably, businesses can use their contact centers to offer excellent customer service to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Contact centers are also a fundamental way for customers to gather information about a product or service from the comfort of their own homes. When utilized correctly, contact centers allow companies to:
- Boost sales opportunities
- Offer personalized customer service
- Optimize resource utilization
- Retain customers and improve the customer relationship
And if you think that they’re outdated, keep in mind that contact centers are alive and well—at least 45% of consumers still prefer to use phone channels. The bottom line? Companies have to create a seamless and easy calling experience or risk losing their customers to a competitor.
4 Benefits of implementing AI in your contact center strategy
AI provides many opportunities for companies to create the seamless customer journey and experience they are looking for. Let’s take a look at a few things it can do.
1. Predict customer intent
There are many reasons why customers may need to contact you, ranging from straightforward inquiries to more complicated requests. What’s rare is finding a customer with a unique query. Given the routine nature of customer intent, it’s easy to use AI to optimize interactions. By collecting data from chats, emails and recorded phone calls, you can then train machine learning models to quickly learn what customers need during real-time conversations. Once the technology understands customer motivations, you can begin optimizing your customer interactions using:
- More intelligent routing
- Flagging interactions that need follow-up
- Showing upsell suggestions during a call
2. Faster customer service & support
Chatbots are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of AI, and many people prefer to use a chatbot to get customer support before calling a contact center. Given that 1.4 billion people use them regularly, your chatbot has to answer typical questions to create the best user experience possible. Chatbots are intelligent enough to handle plenty of common queries automatically, such as:
- How can I pay my bill?
- What is the estimated delivery time?
- How can I change my password?
- When are you open today?
3. Automate routine tasks
AI can free up your human team in more ways than one: It can also help your agents and contact center managers by automating routine tasks. Instead of juggling several things at once (which frequently occurs in contact centers), AI can help your team focus on one customer at a time. Workflow automation is an excellent example of how AI makes contact centers more efficient. AI can make certain events trigger specific behaviors instead of agents having to initiate tasks manually.
4. Improve interactions routing
There are many reasons why being sent to the wrong place is problematic. It’s frustrating and time-consuming for the customer, and it may cause an agent to deal with a problem they’re not equipped to solve. AI can help solve this problem by making routing much more efficient. One of the best tools for routing is Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP allows customers to say what their issue is without having to rely on suggestions or stock phrases. From here, their needs are sorted according to whether it’s a routine query (like delivery of a package), or they can be passed through to an agent who can help with more complex issues. Read about the differences between chatbots and Conversational AI.
Balance is key. AI shouldn’t be about replacing people; instead, it’s about asking yourself how you can use the technology to partner with and enhance human teams. Both are essential, and you have to find the right balance between human agents and AI. The success of your company depends on discovering the perfect marriage of the two.