How do you really implement digitization and emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), in a contact center? There are many ways to approach this challenge, but the first step is to realize and state exactly what you want to achieve. If you are using digital technologies to become closer to your customer then it may be more of a cultural change that is required – rather than just new technology.
Call Centre Helper magazine recently published a list of 12 examples of contact centers using AI for different purposes. Some of the most compelling include:
- Replacing the IVR by allowing a customer to just say what they want and the system then directing the call to the correct agent
- Listening to calls and capturing information and sentiment – such as anger – and flagging up calls that may need to be checked by a supervisor
- Predicting what the customer may want next based on their previous behavior
- Supporting the agent by preemptively performing searches for information based on what the customer is saying
This last one is my personal favorite. The AI is listening to the call and it can put information on screen ready for the agent to use almost immediately. The agent doesn’t need to listen to a question then go to their computer, search for information, and then repeat the information back to the customer, in most cases if the AI is confident that it understood the customer question then it can have the information on screen immediately.
There are clearly many ways that AI can be deployed and it can support agents, ensure improved compliance, and improve the general quality of customer interactions, however there may be some process changes required. If you are getting closer to the customer and several processes are changing because of your digitization projects then you need to think about other factors.
For example, these are some considerations that need to be on your radar regardless of how you plan to use AI – they will be essential for success no matter which technologies you are using:
- Support from the top – your management needs to lead by example and believe in the new systems you are proposing
- Clear and consistent communication so everyone knows what you are planning and why and also how everyone fits with the new processes
- Mitigate resistance to change by ensuring that everyone understands how critical the situation is and why you need to change what the company is doing – plan for some short-term wins and train change agents at all levels
- Make sure your team has the tools and skills they need to operate in the new digital environment
It needs time, planning, leadership, communication, and training to get this right. AI can be used in a number of ways to improve your contact center, but you must also plan for change whenever deploying a new digital solution.