Many of today’s adults remember a time when artificial intelligence was something mentioned only in relation to science fiction. Such mentions frequently involved futuristic self-driving vehicles, computers capable of taking over the world or robots that became so proficient, there was no real meaning in life for humans.
Today, many of those adults could pause and take a look around and see that there is truly artificial intelligence everywhere. From the automated systems that run stop lights to cars that really are capable of being self-driving, it would seem that yesterday’s science fiction has become today’s reality. Humans are learning each day just how beneficial this type of intelligence can be.
Artificial intelligence is not only changing traffic lights, commuting and homes worldwide, it is also changing the way companies do business. Systems that are automated have recently been shown to boost call center performance statistics and capabilities. In fact, a recent Gartner presentation predicted that by the year 2020, non-voice interactions in call centers will have risen to an unbelievable 85%.
Those contact centers that recognize how beneficial artificial intelligence can be lead the industry in both customer and agent satisfaction rates. Those that are still leery of technology and classify AI as something that should still belong in a science fiction movie often spend more on agent training and retention. They are also known for having a more volatile customer base as they are less able to meet the needs of their customers quickly or accurately enough.
Today’s consumers have learned just how quickly they can accomplish things when they are allowed to do it themselves. Contact centers that understand the need for both artificial and human intelligence frequently offer easy-to-navigate self-service options combined with available live customer service agents. Such digital solutions can predict and recognize what customers need which creates a seamless experience. Understanding that artificial intelligence will never make the human element obsolete can help more call centers to implement this crucial technology.
Effortless Customer Experience Driven by AI and HI
Today’s customer is one that is willing to share details about their experiences with a company, whether they were good or bad. Perhaps this is why more than 70% of businesses say that their top priority is improving customer experience rates. This is most likely due to the fact that US companies today are said to lose over $60 billion every year due to subpar customer service.
Companies benefiting from AI can dramatically improve customer satisfaction rates in the call center environment. Some of the ways include:
- Increased operational excellence
- Increased flexibility and versatility
- Improved business agility
- Human-centric interaction with machine-centric intelligence
- Ability to predict customer behavior
- 24/7 ability to meet customer needs
- Reduce operating costs
Automation of calls coming into a contact center, when done correctly, can handle a large percentage of the incoming customer needs. Increased efficiency and other systems, such as speech recognition systems, also help to lighten the burden for call center management and staff.
AI systems that are capable of speech recognition are frequently put into place today and can help relieve high call volume. Customers who call after normal business hours often benefit from this type of system. Though full call center capabilities may not be available, many customers find answers they need through an automated system.
Even more advanced interactive voice response systems (IVR) help customers to get through menu options by using their voice instead of punching the right numbers repeatedly. Additional options that benefit from speech recognition technology include call routing, speech-to-text and voice dialing.
When used effectively, a blend of automation, artificial intelligence and empathetic human agents can be the perfect solution for any call center environment. Many customers prefer being in control of system navigation while knowing that there is always a reliable agent available should the need arise. Such solutions help call centers to cut costs, improve overall customer experiences and increase efficiency rates.
The Human Touch Will Always Make the Difference
While there are call centers that have chosen to rely completely on artificial intelligence and technology and save money by hiring very few live agents, this is typically not a combination that builds customer loyalty. Instead, disenchanted customers work to find a company that they feel values their business.
The human element in a call center lends reality, compassion and out-of-the-box solutions to a call center environment. None of which can be replicated by programs or machines. Conversely, AI systems are able to compile massive amounts of data, are not influenced by a customer’s emotion, and are not prone to glitches or mistakes.
In order to provide customers with the best experience, companies must be willing to invest in the right combination of human and artificial intelligence. By moving technology and artificial intelligence from the realm of science fiction to the reality of today’s business world, call centers and customers alike will benefit greatly.