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  • July 2, 2024
  • By Donna Fluss, president, DMG Consulting

A Practical Approach to GenAI in the Contact Center

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Artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI (genAI), is changing the contact center and customer service landscape for the better. GenAI is essentially the missing link in automation and self-service initiatives, structuring and providing answers and information in a way that is easily consumed by customers and employees. This technology is compelling due to its power and effectiveness, but it must be carefully managed and controlled for the same reasons.

Critical to genAI’s success are the foundation models used or accessed as data sources, including large language models (LLMs). LLMs must be sizable enough to enable applications to identify trends and construct answers but sufficiently controlled to eliminate the risk of hallucinations and (hopefully) bias. DMG recommends that companies use LLMs that are targeted, tagged, verticalized, cleaned, and maintained. It’s a good practice for the LLM to be kept current, but this is not always necessary, depending on the use case.

And there are many uses for genAI in the contact center, among them these:

  1. Transcription:GenAI greatly increases the accuracy and timeliness of transcribed conversations and feeds this information into other systems and processes.
  2. Self-service:It can provide conversational natural language answers to customer inquiries, significantly broadening the variety and improving the accuracy of self-service interactions.
  3. Real-time guidance (RTG): GenAI can listen to/read both sides of customer-agent conversations and deliver recommendations, answers, and checklists to agents, enabling them to address and resolve inquiries more accurately and quickly.
  4. Post-interaction summarization: It can draft a concise and comprehensive summary of voice- and text-based interactions, which is shared with the agent for modification and then posted to the system of record.
  5. Post-interaction follow-up: It can use the transcript and post-interaction summary to identify and launch follow-up actions and activities and ensure they are completed on a timely basis to increase first-contact resolution.
  6. Analytics-enabled/automated quality management: GenAI can automate the process of evaluating and scoring up to 100 percent of voice and digital inquiries to identify agent performance improvement areas, as well as to reward agents for a job well done.
  7. Interaction analytics: It captures, identifies, and delivers actionable insights into the customer and employee experience across the business.

GenAI has caught on quickly in contact centers and customer service organizations because it automates some of the tasks that previously required live agent assistance, improves the accuracy of information delivered to agents and customers, increases first-contact resolution rates, and decreases processing time. It reduces the average handle time of inquiries and speeds up transaction processing while improving the customer and agent experience. As a result, it delivers a quantifiable payback of 3 to 12 months, depending on the use case.

The benefits from genAI and other AI technologies can be rapid and significant for contact centers and service organizations, even though we are in these solutions’ early days and they are going to continue improving. DMG encourages companies to get started by selecting and imple­menting one genAI application to learn how to use and maintain the technology while building internal AI expertise. We also caution that it may not be as simple as vendors make it sound, as there is a learning curve. The biggest issue in the market today is the limited number of resources that have experience with these solutions. The majority of AI and genAI expertise comes from the vendors that sell these applications, which is great for implementation but places companies at risk when maintaining and enhancing their solutions.

BOTTOM LINE

GenAI is an amazing technology that is addressing many existing opportunities in contact centers and customer service organizations. Dozens of vendors are offering solutions enabled by these technologies, and while their messaging may sound similar, there are significant differences in functionality and vendor experience. Starting slowly by implementing AI in a phased approach will position organizations to move more aggressively as offerings improve and provide even greater benefits in the future. The use cases described here can provide a practical jumping-off point for your AI journey. 

Donna Fluss, founder and president of DMG Consulting, provides a unique and unparalleled understanding of the people, processes, and technology that drive the strategic direction of the dynamic and rapidly transforming contact center and back-office markets. Fluss can be reached at donna.fluss@dmgconsult.com.

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