Video (Part 1): How AI-Powered Virtual Agents Have Changed the Contact Center Landscape
Practical Solutions at a Time of Rapid Change
AI-powered virtual agents present significant potential to improve the customer experience (CX) via call center automation. According to recent surveys by Frost & Sullivan’s Stratecast team, 20% of all companies have plans to adopt some type of AI-powered solution in the near future. Meanwhile, those surveys also show that many companies are laboring under the impression that AI is complex and costly to implement.
As a result, organizations must find prepackaged cloud-based AI solutions so that they don’t need to devote IT resources to custom development. These solutions are easy to sell to executive leadership and IT teams and help address specific challenges for the organization.
When it comes to the contact center specifically, companies are still focused on improving the CX while aiming to reduce costs. A series of notable roadblocks have remained fairly consistent for the contact center over time. These challenges have discouraged many from taking the path of AI automation.
- High customer expectations
- Limited automation options
- Difficulty implementing and deploying new contact center technologies
- Agent turnover
Business leaders should be more focused on finding practical solutions to these stubborn challenges rather than focusing on the wonders of AI technology. Fortunately, the opportunity to address such challenges through cloud-based voice automation solutions – that can also scale digitally to text and chat – is considerable.
Focus on Solutions, Not Technology
While recent breakthroughs in AI research have led the news, it’s important to focus less on the wonders of AI’s potential. Leaders should focus more on the actual ways in which AI-powered customer service can provide practical solutions to specific CX-related challenges.
Using cloud-based conversational AI to enhance existing IVR and contact center platforms helps companies deliver the natural language IVR experience that customers prefer and expect. New capabilities in speech recognition and natural language understanding help get to the root of customer issues. This moves past simply recognizing what a customer said and into diagnosing what to do about it.
These solutions can replace menu-based routing that leads to long hold time and frustrates customers. Greet every customer with a natural language “front door” – “How can I help you?” – and capture intent before routing calls and chats to live agents, AI-powered virtual agents, or other automation. Cloud-based AI automation can also gather data upfront and pass it to live agents (i.e. product registration), automate the most common conversations handled by live agents today (i.e. Tier 1 tech support), and handle dynamic outbound calls that are more than just notifications (i.e. Collections).
These cloud-based AI solutions do not require expensive and complex technology upgrades to legacy contact center infrastructure. Instead, this call center automation seamlessly integrates with systems in place to enable the call center to automate one call or chat type at a time, making for faster deployments and agile improvements with low risk. SmartAction takes it a step further, delivering its industry-leading AI automation along with a team of CX experts.
Because AI allows contact centers to automate repetitive and routine conversations that used to be handled by live agents, humans can be upskilled to focus on quality conversations that require complex critical thinking and the human touch.
AI has the potential to offer effective solutions to the contact center’s most difficult problems, making it an essential part of the contact center toolkit.
Download the latest analyst report from Frost & Sullivan, “The AI-Powered Virtual Agent: Practical Realities for Contact Center Leaders,” to learn more.
Video Transcription: How AI-powered Virtual Agents Have Changed the Contact Center Landscape
AI-powered virtual agents offer significant potential to improve customer experience and provide practical solutions to contact center challenges. And believe me, there’s a lot of them:
- High customer expectations.
- Limited voice automation choices.
- Difficult and lengthy implementations.
- And the scourge of the industry, agent turnover.
If you look at the research surveys, a lot of companies plan to implement AI, but are under the impression – mistakenly so – that the solutions are not only costly, but really complex. What contact center leaders need to do is increase their focus on the practical applications of Artificial Intelligence. And that means looking at cloud-based solutions that don’t demand extensive IT resources or custom development. The beauty of that is that these same customer self-service solutions seamlessly integrate with systems already in place and that enables the contact center to automate one call or one chat type at a time, making for faster deployments and agile improvements with very low risk.
These kinds of solutions are easy to sell to executive decision makers and, at the same time, they’re popular with IT organizations since they don’t require a ton of support. When it comes to the contact center, AI-powered virtual agents are already helping hundreds of companies reduce cost and improve the customer experience.