The pandemic has driven the acceleration of digital transformation, with companies looking to move more business processes towards a smarter and data-driven future.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play a big part in this, allowing an organisation to streamline and automate essential functions and improve efficiency. A McKinsey research report suggests AI is now being used in at least one business function by 56% of companies worldwide. Of these, contact center automation is the third-most prevalent deployment of the technology.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) anticipates that AI and digital innovation will create up to 1.2 million new ‘technology' jobs across Australia's economy by 2034.
According to statistics from the Australian Federal Government, 80% of industry leaders believe that AI will have a transformative impact on their business, but 63% of organisations have difficulty knowing where to start when implementing AI technologies.
Customer experience is one area that can benefit from AI-powered tools.
Better technologies for improving CX
Starting at the front office, organisations can use technologies such as omnichannel, AI-driven intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) to free up time for human agents and allow them to focus on higher-level tasks. This form of automation removes a layer of repetitive, lower-level tasks for front-office staff. It also provides a quick and efficient way for customers to find the correct department or to be led towards the information they require to complete their inquiry.
Conversational automation adds a further layer of support for contact center agents, augmenting the skills they already hold and the level of service they can provide. Such a platform can address the entire spectrum of conversational experiences for customers and the agents they are speaking to. The platform uses advanced tools such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), conversational AI, and workflow automation to blend contact center operations with back-office processes seamlessly.
Looking specifically at conversational AI, this solution provides contact center employees with increased information flow during a call. The platform can present them with real-time information relevant to the conversation they are having with their customer. This empowers better customer service and enriches the overall service experience.
An AI-driven platform will co-pilot the call, assisting the contact center employee with advanced capabilities such as real-time insights and guidance, suggestions for added value, and real-time automation of repetitive tasks. AI-driven tools can also pick up on the tone of a customer's voice and ascertain their mood – alerting supervisors if the call needs escalation. Such features can help build detailed customer personas and thus play a pivotal role in improving customer experience.
Data capture and analysis
The organisation can capture much data for every call that comes into a contact center. Instead of siphoning that information into storage and potentially reducing its potential and risk it becoming siloed, organisations can apply it directly to their customer experience platform, further enriching the knowledge it holds.
This allows AI-led technology to analyse and detect behaviour patterns, make sense of a customer's preferences, uncover previously hidden relations between the customer and products or services, and systematise the data on that customer. This data and knowledge can make every customer journey more comprehensible for contact center agents and empower them to perform the best possible job for every customer interaction.
This analysis can be drawn from a large pool of data collected from various ingestion-points such as voice, email, chat and social media. In addition, it allows the company to detect friction points in the customer journey and provide deep insights into the contact center's daily operations.
Roadmap to success
Unlocking business value by deploying these technologies requires strategic thinking and a clear roadmap. The process involves evaluating how best to integrate smarter technologies into contact centers.
The first step is to understand what type of customer queries make up the majority of traffic to that business and thus build awareness of the kind of interactions and the types of customers the organisation should prioritise. Automation removes the burden from contact center agents, allowing them to better manage a higher volume of calls. The organisation will need to define the processes that make sense to optimise with automation and at what point customer queries need to be referred directly to a human agent.
Furthermore, the roadmap must evaluate how increased automation fits into a larger digitisation plan and assess all possible links between departments and the overall business transformation plan.
With the transition to a more digital economy, traditional enterprises —financial services, telecommunications, insurance, or e-commerce — will need to change their business models accordingly. Business success is built on customers and providing better outcomes, and ultimately, smarter customer experience tools will go a long way towards supporting that success.