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What Is Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) and How Can I Use It in My Call Center

It isn’t surprising most business leaders are confused about how artificial intelligence is transforming contact centers. For decades, popular culture has presented us with fantastical images of what AI would be. From robotic co-pilots to psychopathic operating systems, it seemed that artificial intelligence would enter the world stage with dramatic flourish.

Instead, artificial intelligence has emerged to fulfill much more mundane roles in our everyday lives. While we can all be glad that the reality of AI is nothing like the movies, most of us would be surprised at just how ubiquitous artificial intelligence really is. As one MIT professor puts it, artificial intelligence “is changing, or will change, every industry, and leaders need to understand the basic principles, the potential, and the limitations.”

Contact centers, especially, have been transformed in their use of AI. In this article, we’ll explain what AI is, how it’s used in contact centers, and the benefits of using AI in your contact center.

Artificial Intelligence Is Everywhere, Including Call Centers

IBM defines artificial intelligence as a “field which combines computer science and robust data sets to enable problem-solving.” An important subfield of artificial intelligence is “machine learning.” MIT explains machine learning as “artificial intelligence that gives computers the ability to learn without explicitly being programmed.”

For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to both artificial intelligence and its subfield, machine learning, as AI.

We encounter AI every day, even if we don’t always realize it. From the movies Netflix recommends to the product suggestions you see on Amazon, AI uses vast amounts of data about us to predict our behavior. AI doesn’t just influence our buying habits. AI can help emergency responders diagnose patients based on clues from the emergency call, including sounds from the patient in the background. And of course, the most futuristic development just around the corner, self-driving cars, relies on AI.

AI is currently used in countless business applications. Within the business community, applications powered by AI are collectively referred to as “business intelligence.” Businesses are using AI to identify operational bottlenecks, monitor theft, and forecast sales.

One industry, in particular, is exceeding all others in its adoption of artificial intelligence: call centers.

How Call Centers Use Artificial Intelligence

We’re all familiar with chatbots and messaging apps. But call centers use AI in a number of surprising ways.

  • AI Customer Assistants are far better than their interactive voice response (IVR) predecessors. AI-powered customer assistants can “understand” up to 90% of human speech. And instead of aggravating customers by asking them repeatedly the reason for their call like IVR systems of yore, AI assistants can provide first-tier support and answers without the help of a human service representative.

  • AI Analyzes Data to gain important insights. Call centers can use AI to analyze customer and agent behavior to provide better service. Leaders can know which agents handle negative customers the best or which agents are better at upselling. They can know which customers are more likely to cancel their account. Or they can use AI to analyze customers’ interactions on their website to facilitate upselling on the call.

  • AI Helps Human Agents provide better service. When customers contact a call center that uses AI, human agents have access to a wealth of data. AI can use speech recognition to zero-in on the reason for the call and provide the agent with relevant data. AI can also provide the agent with possible solutions to the customer inquiry.

  • Predictive Call Routing Uses AI to match customers to the best agents for them. AI can use personality profiles to match customers to service agents. Or AI can match high value customers to agents adept at upselling. Call centers that use AI can use any number of parameters for predictive call routing.

Benefits of AI in Your Call Center

The variety of creative ways contact centers use AI delivers important, proven benefits.

  • AI Improves Customer Satisfaction. According to one study, using AI improves customer satisfaction by 61%.

  • AI Improves the Call Center Employee Experience. Agents at call centers that use AI are almost 70% more satisfied with their jobs. Employee satisfaction at call centers creates a better, more seamless experience for your customers. And since most data breaches begin with disgruntled workers, a positive employee experience at your call center increases security.

  • AI lowers contact center costs. When AI handles your customers’ repetitive requests, you save money.

  • AI delivers deeper insights. If your contact center uses artificial intelligence, then you have access to more robust data for analysis. These insights can help you make better decisions.

Get Ahead of Your Competition with AI-Powered Contact Center

The use of AI is spreading throughout every industry, especially contact centers. Already, 80% of businesses are using AI in their contact centers. And while cost savings are an important reason to use AI in contact centers, it’s the improvement in the customer experience driving the trend toward artificial intelligence.

It turns out you don’t have to fear the rise of artificial intelligence; but you should be concerned about falling behind if you wait too long to use AI in your contact center.

If you’re ready to improve your customer service and save money by partnering with a contact center that uses AI, contact us today. We can help you find an AI-powered contact center familiar with your industry and within your budget.

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