Artificial Intelligence Taking Call Centers to The Next Level
Introduction to AI
Advancements in technology have been making life easier and comfortable for humans. Artificial Intelligence is one of them. It is shaping the world for the better by giving solutions in retail, banking, capital markets, and many other industries. Call Center AI solutions were not very popular a few years ago but they are gaining popularity. It is not a question anymore that AI is going to be the future of the call center industry as well.
Challenges faced by call center agents
In South Asia Pacific, call centers are of a major significance to the economy. While the working conditions in this industry are often good enough, they can be exhausting and monotonous. Being a call center agent is not only demanding but can also affect mental and physical health. Hence, their productivity is among the top concerns for management.
The list of their problems doesn’t end here. These agents also tackle:
- Angry customers day in and out
- Hectic schedules
- Working on tiny and squeezed budgets
- High agent attritions
- Low employee engagement
- Negligible career growth.
And yet, the biggest challenge still exists – providing seamless customer satisfaction. Many technologies like IVR have been implemented in the past to ease the burden of the agents. Still, their usage is limited and often discouraged by customers due to their inefficiency.
What is the solution to these problems?
These problems have started to become history with the implementation of call center AI solutions. Call center AI solutions like Conversational AI products are easy to install and cost-effective. According to a report by Markets and Markets, The global call center market is estimated to be $800 million in 2019 and is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by 2024, which is a CAGR of 28% in 5 year period. Companies are now using AI for customer support services. They are engaging customers using omnichannels like voice, chat, web app, social media, and mobile apps. Also, with the availability of increasing data for AI platforms, they adapt and become better with time.
How is Call Center AI implemented?
These days, customer service is the utmost priority for companies. But what makes a customer service satisfactory? Customers always want their queries to be solved instantly. They want answers and they want them at lightning speed. Not long back, call centers used to direct the call to the first agent available. If an agent wasn’t available, the customers were queued.
That’s where AI steps in. AI Voice Assistants are capable of handling customers with ease. They can answer their level 1 queries by having a human-like conversation. Not only that, but the AI will also monitor the call and give a short report on the caller’s intent, behavioral analysis, previous history, and other data. This will cut short the response time, as the agents will only have to deal with calls that need their urgent attention. This will lead to an elevation in call center agent productivity. Also, through sentiment analysis, the AI can redirect requests only to those agents where the caller is most likely to be satisfied.
What else can the AI do?
The AI can perform outbound and inbound calls nonstop that do not need an agent to invest time. It can also generate valuable leads that boost the business and give insights into customer’s minds through speech analytics reporting. The first intervention by AI Voice Assistants will be used to run the knowledge base. If escalation occurs, human agents will intervene. Since AI Voice Assistants can learn and adapt with time, corporates can start using them by loading pre-existing chats and calls. With this data, call center AI solutions can be trained on real questions and utterances to be able to handle complex problems.
The disruption in customer service, however, is not only in voice calls but also in chat support. AI-powered chatbots are also based on natural language processing. Hence they can carry out human-like conversations with the customers and provide help. With speech synthesis technology, AI chatbots can also interpret user preferences. This gives valuable business intelligence. Major corporations are now even naming their chatbots to have a personalized customer experience. Naming a chatbot can also be beneficial for company marketing. For self-serving industries, this becomes a primary source of data for customer preferences.
Is it time for us to say goodbye to human interactions in Call Centers?
No, it is not. While the topic of AI replacing humans has always been a debatable one, it seems unlikely, at least in the near future. Albeit AI is beneficial in solving basic queries, human intervention may be required for complex problems. While human interactions can go hand in hand with AI, they can never be completely replaced. Artificial Intelligence, however, can be beneficial in:
- Providing useful insights which consequently can reduce agent bandwidth
- Improve call center agent productivity
- Deliver business insight
- Accelerate real-time decision making while keeping costs intact
It will help in making work for humans easier and faster. Therefore, keeping all the calls streamlined and providing a seamless customer experience. A report by Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprises and corporates without any human interaction. While the implementation of call center AI solutions may increase post the Covid-19 pandemic, a 100% call center automation may not be possible.
AI Voice Assistants can be brought to the best use when people are stuck, looking for information or a way to solve their queries. When people are nervous and need instant help, they will always look for a real human interaction. And with AI to help the agents at every step, companies will be able to provide the best possible customer service with ease.
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