How Artificial Intelligence Is Transforming CX
Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving a great wave of contact center system and application overhauls and upgrades. In the past three years, AI has progressed from a concept with great potential to a practical set of technologies that are being used to reinvent the underpinnings of every contact center system and application. The market is in the early days of this transformation, but its potential is awe-inspiring, as it is going to touch every aspect of what is done in and by contact centers and the customer experience (CX) in general.
For the past five decades, contact centers have functioned in basically the same fashion, enabled by as many as 45 different IT sectors of systems and applications. Over the years, vendors have enhanced their solutions and introduced many new features that have improved their performance, but the fundamental capabilities have remained the same.
Contact center systems and applications are long overdue for a major refresh, and AI and the cloud are ushering in a new era for these essential customer-facing service departments. Artificial intelligence is being rolled out in contact centers in a couple of ways. To begin with, AI technology is being used as the new foundation upon which all contact center systems and applications are being rebuilt. Artificial intelligence technologies are also being used to create a new contact center solution, one that sits at the core of the operation and oversees the performance of the department.
This new system, which DMG refers to as the “AI brain” (illustrated above), will be tied into all other systems and applications and will provide the intelligence to decide what should be happening throughout the department, at all times. It will glean its intelligence in real time from the enterprise (or contact center) repository of unified, tagged, and targeted data. This should dramatically improve the service experience as it will enable companies to respond in the moment and be proactive instead of reactive.
AI’s Vision for Contact Centers
The new AI-based infrastructure will alter the dynamics of service (all customer-facing activities) in enterprises, as well as the systems and applications that come into play. Vendors will have to rebuild most of their current offerings with intelligent AI-based technology components that are designed to operate with the new AI brain. This is a given, but it is only part of the story.
There is an opportunity to reconcile and rationalize the systems and applications engaged in contact centers and other service activities. Many of the current systems and applications have a great deal of functional overlap. For example, how many voice-of-the-customer solutions do companies really need? Today, there are many types of surveying solutions available to capture explicit customer feedback. Companies also have interaction analytics (also known as speech and text analytics), which is used to capture implicit feedback and insights from unstructured conversations. Additionally, companies use traditional quality management (QM) solutions to determine if agents properly handle customer inquiries. Each of these IT sectors came to market to address a specific business challenge and have contributed to the good of the company, its employees, and its customers. But the overlap should be eliminated, as this will make contact centers more effective while reducing complexity and operating costs.
All of this innovation is being enabled by AI, which is simultaneously challenging and energizing the world of service. And the scale, flexibility, and speed of change is being powered by the cloud. We’ll see what the future brings for contact center systems and applications, but we know that it must be very different from what exists today for companies to deliver the CX their customers demand.
Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting LLC provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes and technology in the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. DMG Consulting LLC delivers expert guidance, industry reports, and primary research that drives the strategic direction of the customer and employee experience, contact center, and back-office markets. Fluss can be reached at email@example.com.
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