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AI Named the Most Transformative Tech in 20 Years

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Contact center technology has come a long way in the past 20 years. But with all the technology advances, artificial intelligence-powered agent assistance has the greatest potential to improve contact center performance, according to new research from ContactBabel.

The research found, for example, that AI-enabled chatbots have lowered the cost of web chat by more than 30 percent, which is especially significant as phone costs continue to climb.

AI could also substantially cut costs in the area of voice security, according to ContactBabel, which found that for many businesses, having a voicebot rather than an agent take customers through security procedures will reduce costs while providing a similar level of security and boosting agent morale.

Industrywide, an average of 65 percent of U.S.-based inbound calls are for caller identity verification, and nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) of respondents who authenticate identity do so through human means, taking an average of 46 seconds to do so. And while dedicated authentication solutions, such as voice biometrics and call signaling analysis, are increasingly being used, they are expensive and focused mainly on large businesses or ones, such as banks, where fraud reduction is a key priority.

AI can cut the multibillion-dollar cost of customer authentication, but perhaps just as important for contact centers are the benefits that AI assistance can have on customer and employee experiences, according to ContactBabel’s research.

AI chatbots can, for example, decrease customer queue/wait times. The research showed that a short queue is one of the most important factors driving customer experience today, and customers are not simply imagining that the average speed to answer is excessive, according to the research. Despite high-volume yet simple interactions, such as password resets and account balance inquiries, being carried out via self-service, the overall industry-average speed to answer had stayed relatively steady until 2014 and has been steadily rising ever since.

AI could provide the answer, facilitating voice self-service, ContactBabel says in the report, noting that a typical self-service interactive voice response solution assumes that most customer inquiries can be solved through a limited number of solutions or options. That is often not the case, as some financial institutions have found that customers can request the same information in hundreds of different ways, posing problems for non-AI speech recognition that looks for keywords.

AI-enabled voicebots, conversely, enable customers to communicate using natural language without being restricted by programming to achieve outcomes based on specific patterns and inputs. AI-enabled voicebots can also have conversations with customers to determine multiple intents and deliver a far wider range of personalized information and services. The secondary benefits here could be more effective and accurate call routing; around-the-clock service in multiple languages; and wider opportunities for self-service, ContactBabel concludes.

There are plenty of other areas where contact centers can benefit from AI agent assistance, according to the research:

  • Outbound sales outreach. During outbound sales campaigns, agents must think on their feet and adapt to what the customer says. AI-enabled agent assistance elevates their skills, providing real-time guidance, objection handling, and alerts.
  • Complex call handling. Having AI support to understand whether all necessary steps have been completed gives agents peace of mind and allows them to focus on providing great service.
  • Competitive scenarios. During interactions where customers mention competitors’ offerings, AI can be prompted to spot these references and intervene in real time, prompting the agent to offer a discount, points of competitive differentiation, or the company’s unique areas of value.
  • Transcription. AI converts speech to text with greater speed and accuracy, allowing for better documentation, analysis, and understanding of customer interactions.
  • Knowledge base. AI provides agents with instant, accurate, and contextually relevant information from an extensive knowledge base, enabling them to answer customer queries more quickly and effectively.
  • Automatic translation. AI facilitates communication with customers in multiple languages, broadening the customer base and improving service to non-native speakers.
  • Summarization. AI quickly converts customer communications and feedback into concise summaries, helping agents to understand and address customer needs more rapidly.
  • Real-time coaching. AI provides agents instant feedback and guidance on calls or chats, helping them improve their performance in real time and adhere to best practices and compliance standards.

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