Question: Ben, What Is the Current Sentiment Around AI and Automation in Contact Centers?
Answer: Today, contact centers have started to feel the concrete benefits of AI, from its ability to improve customer satisfaction to increasing agent productivity and upskilling employees.
While some companies still struggle to understand how automation can fit into their tech stack to transform how they operate as a business, many have started to experiment with AI technology to support specific processes or tasks in their contact centers.
Q: The Report Shows That Only 15 Percent of Organizations Are Taking Advantage of Emerging AI Technology, Such As Human-in-the-Loop. What Might Be Causing the Hesitation?
A: Our survey shows that contact center professionals are lacking confidence in their understanding of AI and the business results they should expect. As with implementing any new technology, AI comes with challenges, and our survey found that security and IT risks around legacy contact center equipment rank number one for concern.
Companies are also facing resistance from leaders and staff within their organization while grappling with labor shortages, all of which make it difficult to build, use, and maintain new automated systems. CX (customer experience) leaders need to be transparent with their workforce, emphasizing the core benefits and uses of AI and automation.
In addition to improving a business’s processes and bottom line, this technology also has the power to streamline employees’ day-to-day activities by filtering out the repetitive tasks. By openly communicating these direct benefits, companies can gain buy-in from their entire workforce, from entry level staff all the way up to managers and above.
Q: What Are the Security Risks That Come with AI Technology?
While security and IT risks of outdated contact center equipment are a main barrier to adoption, once deployed as part of a digital transformation initiative, AI actually makes contact centers more secure. Three in four CX professionals agree that AI tech will allow customer data to be more secure than a live agent, and four in five agree that AI will significantly help companies improve identity and authentication security in the next two years.
Q: How Can CX Leaders Address These Risks?
A: If AI has the potential to improve contact center security, the question then becomes, how can companies securely implement the technology? The answer is simple: businesses must put the strongest foundation in place to support AI. Specifically, they’ll need to invest in modern cloud architecture that will seamlessly and securely integrate AI technology.
Q: If a Company Has Not Yet Adopted This Technology, Are They Falling Behind?
A: Companies that continue to be resistant to AI adoption will undoubtedly fall behind in two areas: EX [employee experience] and CX. In today’s contact center workforce, AI technology helps reduce the repetitive tasks and transactional work for agents, alleviating stress, reducing workloads, and allowing teams to rebuild their contact center workforce.
AI provides the much-needed support during ongoing labor shortages and will be instrumental in upskilling workers to provide a more meaningful role in the contact center.
In terms of CX, conversational AI can help contact centers provide high-quality experiences by instantly responding to customer queries at any time of the day. AI can also equip agents with the contextual, personalized knowledge they need to accurately answer customer questions. This leaves customers highly satisfied and eases friction that comes with lengthy interactions.
Q: In Making the Decision to Implement More Advanced AI Technology, What Do CX Professionals Need to Consider?
A: There are three things CX professionals and leaders should consider:
First, do our agents have the right training and resources to leverage this technology effectively? Before launching new tech solutions, it’s important that the current agents have a strong skill set and understanding of how this will impact day-to-day operations, as well as best practices to work in tandem once the technology is in place.
Second, do we have the internal resources to make AI operations accessible? AI will continue to become more advanced and the only way for a company to reap the benefits of this technology is by making it accessible to everyone, even those who don’t have formal technical training or backgrounds.
Third, do we have a current system that can support a safe integration of advanced AI technology? Without the right foundation, you won’t be able to utilize AI to its full potential. Prior to deploying AI technology, take the time to consolidate redundant tech stacks.
Q: With 79 Percent of CX Leaders Planning to Increase Contact Center Investments, What Do You Think the State of AI and Automation in Contact Centers Will Look Like in 2023?
A: In 2023, the realization of AI’s capabilities and benefits will be more apparent than ever. While some companies may still be hesitant, there will be many more use cases and success stories to reference and tout the positive outcomes for contact centers.
We can all agree that AI technology will continue to evolve and adapt to new business needs within the next year. Along with that, the growth of no-code solutions will continue to shine a light on the true ease of adoption, putting a rest to concerns around the challenges of adoption.
Thank you, Ben, for taking time to share your insight.
It’s been my pleasure!
Ben Rigby is the SVP and Global Head of Product & Engineering at Talkdesk, an end-to-end contact center solutions provider.