According to Gartner, contact centres will spend $80 billion less on labour costs by 2026, because of conversational artificial intelligence (AI). The research and consulting firm predicts that one in 10 agent interactions will be automated, with conversational AI handling interactions with customers on both voice and chat channels.
Meanwhile, the ASAPP CX report discovered that almost nine out of 10 agents would like to see more aspects of customer interactions automated. According to Macario Namie, the chief strategy officer at ASAPP, “Contact Centres have the biggest opportunity in decades to advance agent productivity with artificial intelligence technology, new automation processes and workflows, which can also support CX workforce demands wherever they work. With an estimated $15 billion spent in the United States annually for contact centre real estate–that is unwanted, and unused–monies could be repurposed into new technology investments.”
In light of these findings, 147 Media’s flagship product, contact-centre.com, reports on the future of contact centres and the role AI will play in it. The contact centre news platform talks about the problems AI will solve to deliver a better customer experience (CX).
The first advantage AI offers is a reduction in costs. The article talks about how using AI to manage initial interactions with customers could help human agents deliver a more efficient and effective service. The technology could also help reduce repeat interactions, which, in turn, would free up agents and drive down expenses. Machine agents can be quickly deployed to handle higher demand, reducing the need to hire temporary staff and expand operations for a limited period of time.
According to the article, human agents are a contact centre’s most valuable resource, which is why they make up the bulk of the cost. It claims that replacing an agent can cost the business around $10,000-$20,000. It also states that staff turnover can be quite high when agents are not supported sufficiently and when they are overworked. However, with the effective use of AI, employers are able to reduce the workload and improve the efficiency of their agents. Simple and repetitive tasks can be delegated to AI, freeing up agents for more complex interactions. Initial enquiries can also be handed over to chatbots, empowering customers to find solutions through “self-service”.
This may give rise to a new role within contact centres–that of CX experts, claims the article. These professionals are next-generation professionals who specialise in delivering improved customer service through better interpersonal interactions. With mundane tasks automated using AI, human agents would be in a better position to provide callers with a more intimate, “human” service, the article predicts.
However, the article also points out the challenges businesses may face with technology adoption. AI and cloud technologies will be part of contact centres and CX space, but companies can lose money if they adopt them without direction, it says. Any tool or technology needs to be implemented with thought, and it needs to be tested thoroughly to ensure it works as intended. Testing–especially when done by reliable companies like Occam Global–will also highlight any issues with improper integration with other software products that are in place. When implemented properly, AI will be able to optimise operations and enhance satisfaction for both customers and agents, the article concludes.
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