Anyone within the CX industry will appreciate the feeling of concern when faced with an unhappy customer demanding to speak with the manager. While some issues do, of course, need to be escalated to more senior members of the business, everyone involved – both agents and customers alike – would probably prefer calls of this nature to become less frequent.
Embracing and leveraging AI-powered technology in the contact centre will be key to eliminating the phrase no contact center agent wants to hear and customers would rather not have to use – “I want to talk to your supervisor.”
Customer service is changing, whatever the sector
Many more industries will adopt AI-powered tools to assist with their customer contact operations over the next few years. AI technology provides analytical capability that allows for faster, more efficient business processes, while also encouraging cross-team collaboration between contact centre agents – ultimately leading to a more seamless customer journey.
For the agent, AI technology can now go a long way towards achieving more streamlined and effective customer interactions, helping to guide conversations and ensure that each query is directed to the most suitable person. For the customer, AI technology works seamlessly in the background, but can help enhance their experience with faster issue resolution and fewer potential hurdles.
What’s driving change?
Customers are engaging with businesses in person much less, relying more on remote connection. Defining how to create and manage these virtual interactions is an opportunity for brands to truly stand out in the area of customer experience.
Contact centre leaders must understand these changing customer expectations and adapt their approach to meet them, or risk a dive in their market share.
Agents will be at the forefront of this essential CX evolution – their roles transcending from just call handlers to trusted advisors capable of expertly guiding the customer journey. In banking, for example, when a customer calls their bank with a complex query – like filing a dispute – there could potentially be multiple hand-off’s between various contact centre agents and specialist teams before the customer issue is resolved. With the introduction of AI and automation into the process, one agent – the first agent the customer connects with – could access real time guidance to help resolve the customer query seamlessly in the moment.
For today’s time-poor consumers, this is crucial to prevent frustration and an experience that might tarnish brand loyalty.
New job opportunities, not fewer
One of the biggest causes for concern at the mention of AI is the underlying perception that this technology may, one day, replace human jobs.
In fact, this is not the reality. As call centre agents navigate the shift from handling standard queries to becoming trusted advisors, the introduction of AI technology actually leads to greater opportunities for these agents to upskill and diversify.
It’s important to remember that there needs to be a considerable level of human input to shape and develop AI-powered tools. To ensure this technology continues to fulfill its intended purpose, humans are relied upon to help AI systems learn, grow, and evolve. Simply introducing an AI-powered system and leaving it alone will cause problems, rather than bringing solutions.
The hidden helper
Most people aren’t aware of how much they’re interacting with AI on a daily basis. The technology is no longer a science fiction gimmick – it’s widely used to improve business processes.
Amazon and Google use AI technology, not only to anticipate what users are searching for, but in processing the colossal amounts of data that they gather from the activities of millions of people.
The point is that – when implemented and managed well – AI shouldn’t be that noticeable to the customer. Most companies aren’t using AI technology to ‘wow’ customers – companies are using AI technology to simplify and expedite ordinary processes.
The fact that AI has been extensively developed by the likes of Amazon, Google and Netflix means that widespread adoption is now possible across a range of workplaces, at a cost that makes it an efficient and smart commercial decision. Companies can reduce their dependence on data scientists and developers to manage this technology. Existing employees can easily manage the on-going development of AI-powered technology, bringing their own professional expertise to the table.
Rather than something to invest in for the sake of a business’s vanity, AI technology is now available to solve real pain points for contact centres, and to improve businesses’ customer experience.