How AI is impacting business’ customer facing operations

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With the potential for better customer engagement, faster issue resolution, and reduced costs, Kevin Paige, CTO at leading IT and communications provider DigitalWell, dives into AI’s impact on enterprises and what they can learn from efficiently run call centres.

Recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) have had a monumental effect on the tech world of late. At this year’s CES Trade Show in Las Vegas – the world’s biggest tech expo – it was clear that AI’s rate of advancement has dramatically picked up this past year. Coupled with the experts’ predictions that 2023 will be a significant year for AI and Machine Learning (ML) as the technology matures, it’s almost inevitable that adoption will continue to surge.

From revolutionary products like AI-generated art and ChatGPT, to newly introduced platforms harnessing AI to enhance investment decisions or combat fatigue; we’re living in times that resemble the early days of the smartphone era, with an abundance of possibilities waiting to be explored.

While AI arguably has the potential to benefit almost any industry by improving efficiency, productivity and innovation, there are some sectors seeing significant advantages already, one of the most notable being enterprises relying on call centres to support their operations.

CCaaS: the importance of addressing CX, EX & DX

Alongside telecommunications companies, the business types providing customer service, technical support, sales or telemarketing services via a call centre is highly varied.

Recent years have seen a dramatic change in how businesses communicated with customers, and this has been felt in particular across banks and financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare providers, retailers, utility companies, airlines and travel agencies and insurance companies. Across this list, large office-based contact centres are being replaced by distributed Customer Experience (CX) teams that use agile, efficient, and scalable cloud-based tools. And it’s this shift that has contributed to the explosive growth of the Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) market, which according to a report published by Allied Market Research (AMR) is expected to reach $19.8 billion by 2031.

Creating new standards for optimising performance and exceeding customer satisfaction, CCaaS solutions are able to address three key areas: CX, which focuses on the customer for an experience that is as efficient and frictionless as possible; Employee Experience (EX), which ensures employees remain engaged and motivated to power a stronger customer experience; and Digital Experience (DX), which embraces the full range of communications channels with seamless integration across all of them.

Top 2023 emerging AI trends in the call centre

As more organisations deploy cloud-based CCaaS, further enhanced by AI, to improve digitalisation, operational and workforce optimisation across all types of contact centres, we expect to see the following trends emerge this year: 

● Empowered employees – In the contact centre field, AI solutions are being used to match customers with the particular agent who possesses the best knowledge to resolve their issue and provide immediate access to contextual customer information from integrated tools in the contact centre. This enables employees to resolve customer queries promptly and efficiently, enhancing CX and empowering employees.

● Personalised customer experiences – Predictive engagement insights provided by AI allow employees to create exceptional personalised experiences for customers. These solutions can also track the sentiment in human voices, evaluate intentions to identify when a conversation is going awry and offer recommendations on how to steer the interaction in the right direction.

● Higher workplace engagement – EX is a key part of CCaaS and gamification has been proven to improve the lives of employees. Employers cite a 48% engagement increase with a gamified work experience and 90% of employees say it makes them more productive. By actively coaching and training agents, workers are engaged and feel valued, employee churn falls, while productivity rises and performance is boosted.

● Reduced workload pressures – AI’s ability to handle repetitive tasks, rapidly record information and respond to customer queries in an increasingly sophisticated way ultimately diminishes the amount of work that human staff needs to handle. This results in employees who are less pressured, and frees up human resources for revenue-generating activities essential for the business. This in turn can contribute to a reduction in recruitment expenses, as many contact centres experience staff shortages. 

Tech evolution brings new challenges 

As AI technology continues to evolve, we can expect it to have an even greater impact on business operations in the future. According to Talkdesk Research’s global report, 80% of CX professionals believe integrating AI will provide a better contact centre experience, while 84% expect their company’s total spending on AI and automation to increase in 2025 compared with 2021.

However, the implementation of AI also presents new challenges for the industry, including workforce restructuring, data privacy concerns, and the need for effective integration with existing systems.

That aside, if integrated thoughtfully, AI is ready to empower the most valuable yet expensive assets of a contact centre – agents – while allowing businesses to boost customer engagement, resolve problems faster, and reduce costs. 

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Kevin Paige

Kevin Paige, CTO, DigtialWell

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