CEO of Local Measure, Jonathan Barouch discusses the future of contact centers in light of the rise of AI and ChatGPT impacting the industry.
As the CEO of a customer experience technology business, I have spent more than my fair share of time lately fixated on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the service industry. AI has already become an integral part of our daily lives, and I am particularly excited about its potential to revolutionize the customer service industry.
The recent buzz surrounding ChatGPT, the latest AI language model from OpenAI, has us enthusiastically exploring its capabilities to automate tasks and enhance the efficiency of customer interactions. Use cases that once seemed like science fiction, have in the last few weeks become a reality. Industry analysts such as Forrester have been talking about ‘Conversation AI’ in their annual Wave Reports for many years. However, 2023 marked the year when Conversational AI went mainstream. If you are a CEO or Board member and you are not asking your executive team to reimagine the future of your business by leveraging this new technology, then you risk being left behind.
Current AI in the Contact Center: More Than Just a Voice on the Line
If you've ever called a major bank or telecom provider, you've likely already had a tête-à-tête with AI, although you may not have realized it at the time. Integrated into IVRs (Interactive Voice Response systems), technologies like Nuance have been working behind the scenes to streamline customer experiences and reduce wait times.
AI-powered solutions have come a long way since their early days. One of the most prominent applications of AI in contact centers are the use of chatbots and virtual assistants. These AI-driven tools handle customer inquiries efficiently, providing information and assistance through text or voice interactions. This frees up human agents to focus on more complex issues. AI-powered IVR systems employ natural language understanding to intelligently route calls to the appropriate department or agent, enhancing call routing efficiency and minimizing wait times.
AI also plays a crucial role in understanding customer emotions and preferences by analyzing the tone and sentiment of their written or spoken communication. This lets contact center agents tailor their responses to better suit the customer's emotional state. Real-time speech analytics, powered by AI, monitor live customer-agent interactions and provide agents with instant feedback to improve customer satisfaction. Predictive analytics help contact centers optimize their resources by forecasting customer behavior and call volumes, ensuring an efficient workforce.
Use Cases that are Coming Soon: The Stuff of Dreams
ChatGPT has opened the door to a plethora of thrilling new use cases for contact centers, taking customer service to new heights. These include:
- Content Summarization: AI-powered content summarization can help contact center agents swiftly cut through the fluff and get straight to the heart of lengthy documents or emails, resulting in faster resolutions and happier customers.
- Real-time Analytics: By analyzing customer interactions in real-time, AI can help supervisors identify potential issues and provide agents with timely feedback, leading to improved customer experiences and agents who can onboard faster than ever.
- Translation: Language barriers? No problem! AI-driven translation services allow contact center agents to communicate effortlessly with customers from diverse backgrounds, fostering a more inclusive customer experience.
- Content Creation: With AI's assistance in crafting personalized marketing materials and targeted campaigns, contact center agents can offer customers tailored solutions that are highly tailored.
- Knowledge Articles: New AI tools can curate relevant knowledge articles like a digital librarian, enabling agents to access the right resources quickly and efficiently, ultimately helping resolve issues more effectively.
- Agent Assist: Acting as a virtual sidekick, ChatGPT offers real-time guidance and support to contact center agents, helping them navigate the sometimes-treacherous waters of complex customer interactions.
The Future of AI Contact Centers: The Sky's the Limit
AI has a bright future in contact centers, but we need to remain mindful of the potential risks and challenges that come with the territory. One significant concern is the risk of AI generating incorrect or inappropriate responses. When being used in agent assist use cases, this risk can be somewhat mitigated. However, as AI is opened up and directed at end consumers, the risk of “getting it wrong” becomes much higher. Banks, Healthcare and Public Sector use cases can’t afford to fully automate interactions even if the risk of failure, however small, is still present.
While AI has come a long way, it's crucial for contact centers to have robust monitoring systems in place to ensure accuracy and quality. Striking the right balance between automation and human touch is essential. Automating repetitive tasks allows agents to focus on more complex issues, but relying too heavily on automation may result in impersonal interactions and dissatisfied customers.
The future of customer service could see AI-powered bots communicating with each other, enabling quicker and more efficient resolutions. Think of a customer’s own ChatGPT assistant querying a charge on their credit card statement with a Bank’s autonomous bot. While this can lead to improved customer experiences, it is essential to ensure that the human element is not entirely replaced.
As we continue to think about the future of AI in contact centers at Local Measure, we are excited by the potential for innovations like ChatGPT to deliver exceptional customer service. Our short to medium term thinking is that this technology will be leveraged to automate low value and highly repetitive tasks thereby allowing human agents to focus on the most complex interactions with customers. By driving agent assist capabilities and automation use cases that speed up the human agent’s work we expect to be able to support happier agents that can deliver better outcomes to customers.
Engage for Amazon Connect: Embracing the new age of AI
Local Measure as a business, strives to remain at the forefront of this recent wave of AI revolution. Our product, Engage for Amazon Connect is an out-of-the-box intelligent contact center platform that helps businesses improve customer experience and agent productivity, to increase contact center ROI. In addition to voice, email and sms, Engage offers social messaging such as Line, WhatsApp, Messenger and WeChat as customer communication channels right out of the box, so that businesses can deliver an exceptional experience using a channel where their customers are already spending time.
With the rise of AI and constantly evolving customer expectations, your business needs to have the flexibility that legacy systems just can’t provide. As a result, it may be the perfect time to consider the benefits of a cloud-based contact center solution like Engage.
Engage’s contact center solution offers:
- Inbuilt sentiment analysis for deeper customer insights that allows agents to catch interactions before they escalate.
- Chatbot implementation so customers have self-service functionality. Agents can also see a reduced workload, only dealing with more complicated matters where a human is needed.
- Rapid authentication and voice recognition so a customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves at every stage of service.