Many companies have taken the opportunity to put advanced technology to use in their contact centres to better serve customers. Some organisations are taking advantage of contact centre as a service (CCaaS), enabling their employees to work from home with call services, intelligent routing, and advanced automation.
If you’re considering going further and using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and automated services to manage customer relationships and improve processes, RingCentral can help.
What is AI in customer service?
Automated or AI customer service can be defined as technology or software that allows customers to help themselves, using virtual assistants to manage many of the more basic interactions and enquiries.
Growth in the call centre AI market
AI trends in customer service solutions are seeing increased adoption of this type of technology as an effective way to handle customer contact at scale. According to Salesforce Research, 83% of IT leaders say AI and machine learning (ML) are transforming customer engagement, with 69% saying it is transforming their business. IDC predicts growth in the AI call centre, with projected spending on AI systems reaching $97.9B by 2023.
What are the advantages of automated AI customer service?
Statistics show that bots can cut operational costs by up to 30% and can help businesses save on customer service costs by speeding up response times – meaning you can assist more customers with fewer resources.
Using automated AI customer service means that routine questions can be easily answered without any human interaction, through either interactive voice response menus or chatbots. This leaves your team to deal with the customers that could really use the help. Automatic AI is also available all of the time – making your business accessible whenever your customers need you, and wherever they are in the world.
Automated customer service examples
Chatbots are a good example of how automated customer service systems can contribute towards improving the way customers and brands connect. Contact centres can use AI customer service to create intelligent virtual assistants, the most visible application of which is chatbots. So how exactly can they help?
The benefit of chatbots in customer service
AI customer service agent robots or ‘bots’ make agents more productive by freeing up time for them to focus on more complex requests that need a human touch.
Bots can be used to engage customers through conversational user interfaces; collecting information, dealing with simple queries, and handing over complex problems to an agent. In some cases they even handle moderately sophisticated conversations. These capabilities can save time for customers who might otherwise be put on hold, and can speed up processing time which further cuts down the length of calls.
Using AI to automate tasks, including administrative functions such as form-filling and approval workflows, reduces agent processing time. The time saved by freeing managers and agents from some of their admin can allow staff to invest more time on learning, coaching, self-development, goal setting, and performance management. AI sets the stage for your organisation to thrive and keep up with your consumers’ demands.
Advanced automated customer service examples
Examples of AI customer service include the use of advanced bots to ‘understand’ historical chat or call logs, to search for answers in a knowledge base, to ask customers for more clarity, or direct customers to human agents, and even provide answer recommendations.
Using machine learning to become more sophisticated, intelligent virtual agent (IVA) bots can help simulate a customer relationship, interpret complex language, remember the context of an entire conversation, and reply to customers with natural responses. You can even give your bot its own personality and run it on most messaging channels, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook chatbots.
It’s also possible to talk to people over the phone with a conversational AI for customer service, using a human-like voice. The bot can use deep learning to understand the intricacies of humans’ sentences, and can fully resolve certain customer service enquiries (with more complex matters being routed to an agent). Furthermore, the AI will continue to train and learn from agent corrections to output summaries.
AI for contact centre – automate for speed and savings
RingCentral’s cloud contact centre helps you improve process efficiency and make customers happier. Here is how AI can help your business.
AI customer service business insights and KPIs
While it’s important to know who your customers are today, it’s also necessary to understand their changing needs and plan ahead. Your contact centre is a mine of customer data, allowing you to see exactly how you’re doing and what strategies you can use to improve your customer satisfaction scores going forward. In fact, a CMO Survey report from last year showed that over 52% of small businesses with sales of $25M or less are using AI to gain predictive analytics for customer insights.
AI also has a role to play in managing contact centre KPIs. Workforce management and workforce optimisation (WFM/WFO) platforms use AI to help forecast high and low periods of call volume, automate resource scheduling, and help contact centres understand call tracking metrics quickly and easily.
AI customer service and contact centre automation tools
AI-based smart routing uses behavioural analysis to detect intent and optimise skills-based routing, connecting customers to the right agent or department to handle the interaction. It can be done by sharing data from IVR with agents, through innovative AI applications. Support automation can be done over the phone or via automated email response customer services.
For example, if a caller is entering data to get a building insurance quote with a bot and then leaves the chat, that departure can trigger the customer with the option to speak to an agent. If the customer agrees, all of the information captured by the contact centre bot, or the IVR, is automatically sent to the agent who’s taking the conversation, saving the customer both time and the frustration of having to answer the same questions again. This leads to greater efficiency, streamlined interactions, and higher customer satisfaction rates.
Is AI the next step for your contact centre?
AI is likely to keep advancing, making machines smarter and smarter. Do you feel the pressure to improve and innovate your customer experience on top of daily operational demands? What are your competitors doing to transform customer experience today? What’s your strategy to meet the consumer preferences changing in your industry?
It can take a financial investment and some staff training to get fully up and running with a new system, but if you get it right it could really pay off. It’s clear that self-service is key to the customer experience, and AI and digital innovations can be key to your success. At some point, you’ll need to help customers find immediate answers on their own. Provide intelligent self-service, handle enquiries, offer the right information at the right time, and empower your customers with 24/7 convenience.
AI won’t replace the need for humans in the contact centre. Customers still want a human connection – that’s for sure. But AI can be a tool to equip and empower your team, freeing them from repetitive tasks. AI offers game-changing opportunities for your agents to maximise their time and develop skills, while freeing them up to handle more complicated activities and interactions that demand human attention.
RingCentral’s AI, automation and digital self-service tools for contact centres
Why not discover how RingCentral can help your business succeed through automation and call centre AI? Offering both traditional inbound and outbound call and messaging services, RingCentral’s AI chatbot customer services, automated customer service telephone systems, and IVR/self-service can help your business by getting customers to the right agent the first time, for faster resolution.
Originally published Dec 23, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023