Perhaps there has been no other year when the contact centre played a more pivotal role in the delivery of customer experience (CX). With the unprecedented surge in calls due to the global pandemic, call centres have not only had to adjust to having the majority of their agents work from home, but also in maintaining the level of customer experience that consumers expect.
Knowing that the contact centre’s intersection with the customer is a crucial touchpoint for the delivery of CX is nothing new. The ability to perform at the highest level was certainly put to the test over the past 12 months. However, leading companies are now looking at 2021 as a way to advance this to the next level. And they are looking at doing this through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
If you enjoy the sci-fi genre of movies, you may believe that AI is going to supplant humans in the very near future. While this is a fun indulgence from an entertainment perspective, we are a far cry from replacing human interaction. However, AI can certainly improve agent performance and in so doing help deliver an improved experience for your customers.
As we look ahead to 2021, here are a few ways you can turbocharge CX in the call centre through the use of AI.
Use AI to enable chat
If you’re like me, nothing kills the experience of needing support like having to pick-up the telephone, spend time in the IVR phone tree, selecting your issue, entering in your account number only to arrive at an agent, and being asked to explain your issue and give them your account number.
One of the most effective ways that organisations can help their customers avoid this challenge is by enabling chat powered by AI. I know that you may be thinking AI-enabled chat has a long way to go. I agree…to an extent. I do not believe for complex needs that AI chat should replace humans. However, there are a number of use cases where AI chat can be quite effective. In fact, chat is the preferred method of engaging the contact centre according to the statistics published by 99 Firms, and meeting your customer’s needs and expectations while making support frictionless should be at the top of your 2021 list.
Use AI for sentiment analysis
I am reminded of a conversation I had with a support specialist at a client of mine. We were speaking about how we could improve customer satisfaction and deliver a better experience and their perspective was vital. During our discussion, she told me, “what I have found is that many times customers are more concerned with being understood than having me have to fix their problem.” It was no surprise that she consistently had the highest customer satisfaction ratings among her peers.
According to the company lifesize, between 70-93 percent of our communication is non-verbal. Given this, how important is it for call centre agents to be able to anticipate and get better insights into a customer’s disposition? Having this at their fingertips can help them navigate conversations, apply empathy, and ensure their customers are heard and feel valued.
Use AI for continuous improvement
I used to play for a coach who like many before and after him have said, “there is always room for improvement”. The same goes for contact centre performance. Those that perform at the highest levels understand that there are always areas that can be improved in order to deliver a great experience.
Using AI and automation to perform analysis and benchmarking in your call centre will enable the review of a vast amount of data that humans are just not able to perform at scale. By benchmarking performance, reviewing individual agents, and regularly looking to optimise, AI enables you to be in continuous improvement mode which is passed onto your customers and employees.
Large organisations have been using AI in their contact centres for years, but this technological advantage should not just remain in the enterprise. If you are wanting to invest in competitive advantage in 2021, invest in delivering a world-class experience at your contact centre and conduct the necessary due diligence on AI to determine how it can turbocharge your efforts.
Originally published Mar 16, 2021, updated Jul 22, 2021