Is Artificial Intelligence in Contact Centres only a tool?
Contact centre services have always relied on two way communications. Initially by voice, followed by fax, email, and now Live Chat and messaging are gaining ground as a preferred method of contact.
Customers’ expectations have steadily grown, which has put more and more pressure on businesses to deliver solutions to these and satisfy their customers which, has subsequently increased pressure on their contact centre staff.
No longer is a customer prepared to wait in a queue for their call to be answered. No longer are they prepared to be called back, especially when the call never happens. No longer are they happy to be pushed from “pillar to post” speaking to various people and relaying the same information again and again.
They want, expect and deserve an answer to their query, complaint or problem, or they will take their business elsewhere.
What is most frustrating for Contact Centre personnel is that they want to help the customer, they want to solve the problem, they want the customer to be happy, but unfortunately all too often they don’t have the necessary tools or information available to do their jobs which leaves both them and the customer frustrated and dissatisfied.
So how do we help contact centre agents cope with this situation?
The answer is simple, we take away the mundane, repetitive jobs from them, we give them the right tools to do the job, we empower them so they are free to make the right decisions and to ensure that every interaction with a customer leaves both sides feeling happy and satisfied.
This is where AI or Artificial Intelligence comes into play.
More and more of everyday life is becoming automated through developments in artificial intelligence (AI), making interactions with “robots” a common daily experience. Artificial intelligence is already employed in various industries to deliver information or perform tasks, such as making purchases or booking reservations.
Almost every sector today is incorporating AI to provide its customers with a unique experience be it ordering a MacDonalds, suggestions on hotels to book or even serving as a personal assistant.
So what is AI or Artificial Intelligence?
AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction. Particular applications of AI include expert systems, speech recognition and machine vision.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In the context of contact centres, AI shall augment at three levels:
1. Predicting Queries
Thanks to big data, AI will be able to predict and analyse questions based on past activities of the customer.
2. Efficient Communications
Chat bots will be able to perform instant query handling irrespective of the time and location.
3. Automating Operations
Wherever applicable, AI will be able to automate operations. For example, following up with customers is a very crucial part of customer experience which the AI will be able to prioritize and perform.
Crucially, however, there is a limit to the complexity and range of questions chatbots will be able to source answers to. When a bot can’t provide an answer or gives one that isn’t relevant, then the responsibility will be passed over to a member of staff to help find the information they need.
So despite all the developments and possibilities AI presents, machine learning is a long way off reaching the level required to respond successfully to complex queries without an extensive database covering all conceivable topics.
So to this end chatbots should be considered a valuable asset which helps improve business processes. Customer service is still incredibly important to any business and the personal touch and emotion that you can receive through contact centre solutions such as call handling has not yet been beaten.
Call centre automation can, bring real benefits, providing a business presence during out-of-hours when enquiries are likely to be minimal. Likewise, they can give an instant helping hand during peak hours when employees are pushed to their limits in terms of capacity.
For effective use, the topics and questions a chatbot is responsible for need to be straightforward with appropriate planning. They should also be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are helpful in providing customers with a good service, as opposed to becoming a frustration, which can ultimately lead to a loss in business.
Using AI and chatbots for simple enquiries, will determine the hours that can be saved and made available to talented professionals to better do their job and will reinforce how important the human element of a contact centre is.