The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Modern Contact Centers

March 21, 2018

Possibly one of the biggest changes to rock the economy in recent years has been the rise of artificial intelligence, and this trend has not escaped the world of contract centers and customer service.The phrase “Back in My Day” is thrown around a lot in social media situations today, but as Facebook wars rage on between Millennials and Baby Boomers, they highlight some of the nuances of (and sometimes complete changes to) social, political, and economic change over the past few decades. While people of all generations have mixed feelings about AI’s effect on their lives, there is evidence that AI’s roles in common jobs is not only important but is crucial to the industry’s well-being.

Human Empathy + Robotic Ingenuity = Better Customer Service

One of the industry fields that has been heavily impacted by the rise of AI is the contact center. On the surface, customers have been averse to this, understanding AI only through the way it is portrayed by science fiction – unfeeling robots doing a sub-par job at understanding customer plight. But leveraging artificial intelligence to supplement the handling of repetitive tasks is now relatively common in contact centers, doing everything from routing calls and emails to the right agent to handling and processing payments more securely. Artificial intelligence is controversial, but there is solid evidence to support its ability to automate processes in the customer service sector.

In particular, although a human touch is still often necessary for optimal customer experiences, AI and automation help to reduce errors in common routine tasks.  These kinds of improvements are welcome in areas where customers are getting increasingly frustrated by human error, as shown in a recent survey done by the Institute of Customer. What savvy businesses are now realizing is that the answer to customer service challenges is not solely in better training for human agents, but also in an amplification of automation that make routing services more efficient and less prone to error.

AI in Contact Centers

The customer experience is already realizing the helpful effect of artificial intelligence. Unsuspectingly to many and unsurprisingly to some, the modern shopping experience currently works hand in hand with AI. The 75% of United States consumers who shopped online have interacted with some form of AI, from automated payment processes to chatbots designed to help find the product that the customer is looking for quickly. These processes integrate seamlessly with a continued option for human interaction when addressing more complex situations, creating a customer experience that holistically satisfies all customer needs.

A study done by Gartner estimates that 85% of all customer experience will be self-managed by 2020. With this in mind, it is critical to have a capable workforce in the contact center that can service complex needs, but also to embrace the need for integration of AI and automation to service the simpler challenges.  For these easier-to-address issues, programmers have begun to implement processes designed to make human-robot interaction more natural.  Some of the ways in which AI is becoming optimized to customer experience is:

  • Sentiment Analysis: categorizing opinions and emotion based on keywords so that customer interactions can be more intuitively handled.
  • Machine Learning: this is the ability for machines to learn without the help of programmers. Janelle Shane, with a Ph.D. from UC San Diego, made viral headlines with her blog that pointed out the struggles that machines sometimes have with learning human complexities: everything from creating paint color names to creating titles for romance novels. However, machine learning advances have paved the way for quicker and more efficient detection of security breaches and other directly impactful customer issues.
  • Natural Language Processing: Natural language processing is just one more way in which computers can try and understand the complex language and emotions of human customers through multimodal means.


Preparing for The Future

The nature of customer experience changes quickly. At the rate that technology is pervading consumerism, it is only a matter of time before AI and automation become a natural part of all contact centers. The role of artificial intelligence should be to make customer-company interactions more convenient, efficient, and less prone to error. Artificial intelligence is making leaps and bounds, and as more companies begin to implement it within their contact centers, customers will recognize the difference in the service that they receive.

DATAMARK is a leader in contact center automation. Is your company ready to take the next big step in automating your workplace? If so, contact DATAMARK today to see what we can do for you.

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