AI – It’s Full Steam Ahead in the Cloud Contact Centre!
Artificial Intelligence is certainly not a newcomer to Contact Centre operations but it is the power and flexibility of cloud computing that is really delivering advances in both Customer Experience (CX) improvements and a reduction in the cost per contact for service providers.
Here we will take a look at ways in which AI is reaching areas of contact centre operations and some of the most important considerations for any company looking to embrace this technology for the first time.
The Cloud Based Contact Centre Technology is driving Customer Understanding
Since the 90’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has been the key mechanism to provide skills based agent routing within the call centre. IVR is only effective in providing call centre efficiency and improved customer experience if we fully understand the most common reasons our customers need to contact us. Analysis of customer intent is just one key area were AI is providing valuable insights that can improve contact centre efficiency and customer experience.
First let’s quickly look at the technologies driving the application of AI in the contact centre and their key ingredients for success. Natural Language Processing (NLP) and subsequently Natural Language Understanding (NLU) underpin the current advances in contact centre operations, which as their names suggest, provide the ability to analyse human speech, whether that is presented in textual form or converted to text by analysis of a recorded, or in fact, a live conversation. The combination of NLP and NLU set out to interpret meaning, intent, sentiment and emotion within human language which can then be analysed to provide a wide array of benefits. NLP is certainly not new having generally started in the 1950’s, but it is the advances in processing power and in particular powerful parallel processing devices such as the GPU that have enabled complex AI models such as these to enter the mainstream and offer near real-time actionable insights.
NLP not only requires a lot of data in order to train its internal models to understand human language, but it thrives on receiving huge amounts of customer and contact centre agent transcripts to mine for patterns that can drive informed AI based decisions. Of course this requires both large amounts of data storage and processing power which is where the Cloud Contact Centre model steps in to enable these resources on demand. There is no longer any need for major on premise computing investments in the actual call centre. So the Cloud Contact Centre model is vital for anyone looking to embrace the full benefits of AI.
39% of Companies consider AI as the #1 emergent technology to impact CX1
AI technology has evolved rapidly in the last few years leading to a rise in adoption, so we believe it is very important for our customers to not get left behind.
Contact centres in particular are the perfect place to start implementing AI solutions as they are the source of enormous quantities customer data, impossible to process manually, and where implementing AI solutions can bring real benefits to efficiency and employee performance.
However, there are still barriers that block companies from the results that might be achieved with effective AI deployment. These include the lack of visibility on benefits and applicable use cases, disorganized and scattered data approaches and the inability to adapt the workforce to new technologies, tools and job requirements.
Below are some of the key use cases areas of AI application available today from our leading CCaaS partners.
Real-time Agent Assistance – Using AI to transcribe live conversations and then push knowledge to the agent in real-time to help solve customer issues. Effectively a real-time virtual training tool that can also greatly help new hires get up to speed.
Speech Analytics - Listens and transcribes every customer interaction, using AI to identify key moments of the conversation, topics and sentiment. Allowing for easily identify business trends, agent coaching needs and ensuring call quality.
Virtual Agent Technology – similar to the principles behind IVR, Virtual Agent platforms require a period of training based on analysis of common customer support requests so we recommend you use this for internal employee service first, then deploy to your customers for after-hours support and then, as your organisation is ready, deploy it for those redundant service requests your agents routinely get that can be easily handled by a virtual agent. Our key advice aims to help you deploy AI in a way that protects your CX while enabling you to take advantage of the benefits of AI now.
AI Powered Knowledge Base - Contact centres struggle to make sure agents can easily find and deliver the right answers to customers on a consistent basis. The reality for many companies is that information and data are located in a variety of places and maintained by different teams making it difficult to deliver to those who need it. The latest AI Powered platforms can connect to any external content source and enable any user to create, modify, publish and curate knowledge. The built-in AI assists administrators by identifying content gaps, suggesting improvements to existing content and suggesting better search queries to find the right answers. The AI knowledge base would typically provide the engine to empower the Virtual Agent and Real-time Agent Assistance functions previously described.
As you can see, the application of AI in the contact centre is an exciting and rapidly evolving area of technology that is driving down the cost per contact, increasing revenue and most importantly improving CX for those companies would are embracing the benefits correctly. It is a vast topic but hopefully we have wetted your appetite with some of the key functions that you can start to implement today with the leading Cloud Contact Centre providers.