The future of contact centers will predict a customer’s inquiry and foresee what it is they’re calling about. By using artificial intelligence (AI), future contact centers will also be able to provide appropriate support to the customer, thoroughly enhancing the customers overall experience, hence the marriage of AI and customer contact centers. While this may sound like computers are replacing humans, it’s actually more like a human plus one. AI is actually helping the human, be it the contact center agent or the customer, to be more efficient and get more accomplished in a minimal amount of time.
But what exactly is AI? Well for one, it’s not intelligent, sentient robots that are going to take over the world (not yet anyway). Machine intelligence has nothing to do with being “alive” or even “conscious”. Instead it has everything to do with giving the impression of intelligence by drawing meaning from data. Whether it’s finding patterns in large amounts of fast moving data, understanding language written and spoken by humans, or allowing computers to self-program by adapting to changing circumstance and date, AI is ultimately computer software that allows you to perform several tasks quicker and with more accuracy.
What exactly does this mean for the future contact centers? AI will play three vital roles.
- Anticipating needs
It’s after dark on a snowy night in 2021. Liz is having car trouble and calls into her roadside assistance number. Even before her call is answered, the contact center’s AI deems Liz’s call to be urgent. In less than one second it can deduce the urgency by acting on the context of the call as the caller-ID was immediately linked to her account. She has been a customer for 13 years and hasn’t called in for help once. Other customer profiles resembling Liz’s only call when they really need help. The weather in Liz’s home city is below freezing and she could risk her health if stuck without heat.
AI places Liz at the top of the queue and she will be answered next. It then shows the time it would take for help to arrive to Liz, and relays that information to the agent when they answer her call.
- Augmenting conversations
The contact center agent promptly answers Liz’s call and hears Liz explain that she is about half hour north of her home where she hit some ice and skidded into the curb buckling her wheel. She needs to be towed home. As Liz speak, the agent’s screen lights up with a map of the area Liz is stranded, along with real time roadside assistance trucks nearby. When Liz mentions she needs to be towed, the closest tow truck is highlighted. Because of AI, all of this is happening without any instruction from the agent. The virtual assistant is listening to the call and uses natural language processing to pull out key terms.
Because Liz is unsure of her exact location, the computer generates a photo of a nearby landmark and sends it as a text to Liz’s phone. When Liz tells the agent that she can see the landmark, AI updates her location accordingly, sends the information directly to the tow truck driver, and provides an estimated wait time on the agent’s screen.
This example uses both the power of a reassuring human as well as the virtual assistant who was able to act on that information by listening for the appropriate triggers.
- Automating where possible
A few months later Liz needs to update her address for her roadside assistance provider so she texts the customer service number: I want to change my address. Immediately she receives a response: No problem, Liz. We’ll call you to confirm this.
Liz’s phone rings and a virtual assistant voice says hellos and asks her to confirm the change. Using voice print analysis, the virtual assistant verifies Liz’s identity, updates her address, and then asks if there is anything else she needs. By using automation, the contact center is able to save valuable human agents for those interactions where they’re really needed.
AI will continue to grow with the more data it’s fed but for now there’s no need to fear a robotic apocalypse just yet as it remains more in the background, far less visible to the end customer. Humans will still be there for when the data shows they do a better job (Liz being caught in the snow would not have felt comforted by the voice of a virtual assistant).
In the coming years, AI will be pivotal to contact centers and Blueworx Intelligent Contact Center Solutions can ensure you won’t be left behind. Contact us here: https://www.blueworx.com/contact/