Artificial Intelligence (AI) adoption in the contact center has lagged behind the rest of the enterprise, in large part due to its mission-critical operations. When AI has been adopted—many times due to a push from other departments, like sales and marketing—usage has largely focused on finding ways to manage costs and time.
Today, however, use of AI in the contact center “has made the journey from novelty to necessity,” according to a report released recently by Ventana Research. The report, “The Contact Center and AI,” explains that adoption is increasing because vendors have embedded AI processes deeply into their customer experience platforms.
Giving people ways to use AI without having to bear the burden of understanding how to program or train complex models has made all the difference, the report’s authors assert: “So much more is possible, across the enterprise, using new or underutilized data sources from the contact center. The missing element is now available: artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML), which have entered the contact center conversation in a powerful way.”
AI has become increasingly common in several key contact center processes, including:
- Interaction routing.
- Ingesting and parsing unstructured data captured in voice recordings.
- Understanding customer sentiment.
- Advanced analysis of consumer behavior.
“By 2024, three-quarters of organizations will have explicitly introduced more than one artificial intelligence or machine learning application into their contact center service processes for predictive routing, chatbots and agent assistance,” says Keith Dawson, vice president and research director at Ventana Research.
The Key Benefits of AI in the Contact Center
AI wields the greatest power in the contact center when it is used to aid and support customer service agents, according to the Ventana report. Its primary value lies in three areas:
- Preparing agents: AI can quickly surface resources the agent needs—even resources that are siloed across the organization—turning the job from a reactive to a proactive one. The knowledge AI accesses isn’t static; instead, it’s an “organic repository that’s always current,” according to Ventana Research.
- Helping agents provide the right response based on context: AI-powered solutions on the market today listen in on interactions, presenting next-best actions in real time—“one of the most revolutionary advances in contact center operations in decades,” the report states. In doing so, it shortens interactions and makes them more consistent, regardless of the agent involved. It reduces customer friction while increasing the probability that the response the agent offers the customer is the right one.
- Making quality assurance processes fairer: AI enables an organization to evaluate 100% of interactions while removing the subjectivity from the process. This provides better insight into how agents are performing while shortening the time between the interaction and the evaluation.
What to Consider When Evaluating Whether AI Can Help Your Organization
To determine whether AI can add value to your contact center, the report suggests asking yourself a few questions:
- Are there opportunities to enhance productivity that would emerge if we could leverage more or different data sources?
- If AI processes are spread across departments and functions, are the metrics we’re using to determine success broad enough to take in and assess the resulting benefits?
- What operations do we take for granted as fixed or unimprovable based on standard technology?
“The best way to think about AI/ML is as a constellation of applications that are characterized by the ability to learn and adapt as conditions change,” the report concludes. “It is hard to overstate the potential operational impacts that AI/ML is unveiling.”
A growing number of contact centers are embedding AI into their operations with NICE Enlighten AI, which makes the entire contact center smarter. Learn more about how you can turn customer service into a powerful competitive differentiator with a suite of innovative CX solutions, purpose-built on the industry's only comprehensive AI and machine learning framework for customer engagement. Download the complete report from the NICE website.