Beyond Automation

Author: Geouffrey ErasmusDate: 2019/05/08

It may be the buzziest of buzzwords, but it’s not always clear what is meant by “Artificial Intelligence” (AI) nor how it is relevant to the contact centre. In an industry where person-to-person contact and communication is still highly valued by both operators and customers, there is an understandable suspicion around employing AI to administer customer enquiries.

However, in an age where budgets are under pressure and customers are increasingly demanding, AI could be the key to streamlining contact centre processes and taking customer service to the next level. When integrated with contact centre systems and databases, AI empowers operators to predict customer behaviour and make proactive decisions that deliver competitive advantage. By analysing historical customer data, AI can be used to forecast how customers will behave in the future and anticipate their needs to ensure satisfaction.

This delivers significant benefits for contact centres, enabling organisations to develop a well-informed strategy that results in competitive advantages, including:

  1. Turning customer interactions into useful data

Contact centre systems capture a wealth of data, and while many operators already use business intelligence analytics to understand trends, it can take significant time to process and analyse accurately. By the time that reports are fed into business strategy, the information may no longer be relevant, or a new issue could be emerging.

AI can expedite the analytics process, promptly identifying trends within a large data set, which is particularly helpful for labour-intensive jobs like quality checking voice calls. Tools such as sentiment analysis and voice analytics can review recorded voice calls in a matter of minutes, recognising signs of anger and dissatisfaction, then identifying the cause. This speed allows contact centre managers to quickly identify any issues (for example, agents giving customers incorrect information) and making amends. As a result, regulatory compliance and quality assurance standards can be improved significantly.

  1. Predicting what customers want

Whether a customer makes contact via phone, email or chat, Awaken Insights can ‘read’ the content of their query and categorise it by topic and even sentiment. The ability to identify and extract insights as trends emerge means the contact centre can respond to customers’ changing expectations faster and ensure that they capitalise on opportunities or mitigate potential negative outcomes.

AI will also help call centre managers to improve strategic resource planning, staff training and sales and marketing campaign planning, as well as predicting the outcomes of implementing business decisions or new processes. In the longer term, AI allows call centre managers to model best practices based on a more accurate understanding of the Voice of the Customer, their preferences and behaviour.

  1. Reducing recruitment costs

Beyond automating and speeding up analytics processes, AI can help to reduce the burden of keeping on top of training requirements. Voice analytics reveals what customers are really thinking and feeling. At the same time, it helps contact centre managers to monitor agent performance: over a period of time, AI can measure how the agent is feeling and whether they need any support with their job.  By automating the intensive process of monitoring agent-customer interactions at scale, AI can identify agents that might need further training, which is proven to reduce agent attrition. Since the average cost to recruit a single agent can be up to £25,000, this offers significant cost savings.

Technologies such as the Awaken Voice Analytics integrate AI into contact centre systems to effortlessly extract business intelligence from the vast volumes of data that is generated every day. The ultimate benefit of AI for the Contact Centre is to turn unstructured conversations across multiple channels into structured and contextual data, delivering insight that can be utilised to improve customer service at a strategic level for long-term planning, as well as supporting agents in real time during a live customer interaction. Leveraging behavioural and emotional analytics allows organisations to truly understand the customer and deliver better service outcomes.

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