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How is AI Changing Call Center Services?

By Contributing Writer
Emilia Carol
June 19, 2024

Call centers have historically been innovation hubs, using advanced audio equipment and tailored software solutions to enhance operational efficiency and boost customer satisfaction. Thus, it makes sense that state-of-the-art technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) are set to revolutionize these settings and change how call center agents and clients engage today. Machine learning, natural language processing, and various other AI methodologies offer significant benefits to your call center operations, as long as you grasp how these technologies can optimize processes and improve productivity.

The Progression of AI Within Call Centers and Its Impact

AI has transformed call center operations in numerous ways, and it's reasonable to anticipate even more advancements that we may not have conceived of yet. Below are a few key stages of the evolution of AI in call centers:

From Manual to Automated Call Routing

These days, AI-powered systems can evaluate incoming calls and apply algorithms to identify the best agent for a particular query. This ensures that consumers are directly connected to the most skilled agent to address their inquiries, eliminating the need for manual call transfers and lowering wait times.

From Manually Handling Each Customer Inquiry to Utilizing Virtual Agents

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are used by virtual agents, often chatbots or conversational AI, to understand and respond to consumer inquiries instantly. These advanced chatbots can respond to queries instantly, saving clients from spending hours online. This frees up human agents to concentrate on inquiries requiring their assistance.

Speech Analytics, AI-assisted Reviews, and Manual Quality Assurance

Previously, call center supervisors had to manually listen to all of the call recordings of their agents for performance evaluations and quality assurance scoring. AI-driven speech analytics tools can speed up this time-consuming task by analyzing call recordings and transcripts, suggesting whether agents meet the QA scorecard criteria. Moreover, AI can accomplish this instantly for all calls made by agents, eliminating the need for supervisors to select calls for review randomly and reducing the risk of unfair QA evaluations due to the arbitrary selection of particularly poor calls by managers.

Benefits of AI in Customer Service

Let’s look at a few ways AI can assist your team in customer service, particularly if you're considering implementing generative AI.

Better Efficiency

Service agents can find it challenging to handle manual processes. This includes operations that are prone to human error, such as manually entering responses, routing field workers to service locations, searching for knowledge articles, and swiveling back and forth between systems and screens to check client history. AI in customer service can provide knowledgeable suggestions to agents based on conversational insights, client data, and knowledge sources.

Higher Productivity

Service teams can perform more efficiently with the help of AI tools like Einstein Copilot. For instance, AI can be an assistant integrated into an agent's workflow. Indeed, according to a recent study, 84% of IT executives believe AI will improve customer service at their company.

Optimized Operations

Operations in customer service are more efficient and run more smoothly when AI is used. AI can be used to evaluate chatbot discussions, customer emails, and calls to identify patterns that indicate when a client is likely to escalate a problem, how long it will take to fix it, and other information. It identifies indicators of potential issue escalation, estimates resolution times, and provides valuable insights for enhancing the overall customer experience. For example, a chatbot can proactively share a knowledge base article to reduce escalation if customers frequently ask for an agent when they wish to return a product.

Less Burnout and Improved Morale

AI eliminates repetitive, time-consuming tasks, allowing agents to concentrate on situations demanding creative problem-solving, social intelligence, and complex critical thinking. These activities have a significant impact on the overall customer experience.

Customized Service Interaction

AI needs access to your company's data to understand your customers. AI may automatically fill in key details, like the user's name, location, account type, and preferred language when the user starts a chat with a chatbot. When a field service technician is needed, AI can promptly transfer all relevant information to the technician, enabling them to deliver personalized service as soon as they arrive on-site.

A Proactive Service Experience

AI can utilize data from customers' contracts, warranties, purchase history, and marketing records to recommend the most suitable actions for agents to undertake with customers, even after the service interaction has concluded. For example, AI can inform customers about upcoming subscription renewals, prompt them to schedule maintenance appointments or notify them about available product upgrades or discounts.

Best Practices to Implement AI in a Cell Center

Here are the best practices that can be implemented using AI in a cell center:

Define Clear Objectives

Identify the particular objectives you aim to accomplish through AI implementation. These could include decreasing call volumes, enhancing first-call resolution rates, or boosting customer satisfaction scores. AI tools offer a wide range of functionalities, and defining clear goals will help in selecting the most suitable AI tools tailored to your organization's needs.

Integrate AI With Your Other Tools

Ensure seamless integration of AI systems with your current call center infrastructure and software. Automatic data sharing, simpler agent access to customer insights in a single, centralized app, and general efficiency gains are all made possible by organically interfaced products.

Provide Adequate Training and Support to Agents

Since your agents and supervisors will be the ones utilizing these AI technologies on a daily basis, make sure to give them thorough training and assistance so they can use them to their full potential. t is important to anticipate resistance and make the process as simple and painless as possible for your staff. Thus, it's essential to proactively address this and streamline the process to minimize friction for your team.

Track Progress and Enhance Performance

You must be able to provide metrics or other call center KPIs that demonstrate your call center's adoption or utilization of AI. For example, how have agent productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall efficiency changed? Understand the metrics you are measuring and analyze the data to pinpoint areas for enhancement, adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Can AI Replace Call Center Agents?

Artificial intelligence can handle simple and repeated calls by automating all or part of the client call. This assists customer service representatives by saving up time to answer more complex calls. However, in a sense, this can affect the number of representatives required in a call center and lessen the number of calls to live agents.

However, there will inevitably be complex issues that AI cannot address. Implementing AI in call centers primarily aims to enhance the customer experience and alleviate human agents from handling routine requests, thereby saving time and energy. AI can make customer service representatives work better and enable them to have meaningful, fulfilling discussions.

Moreover, after the COVID-19 pandemic, digital shopping and customer service have become the norm for many consumers. Hence, brands must adapt and persist in integrating AI into their call centers. AI can automate essential processes, offer in-depth research, and assist agents in achieving improved first-call resolution, a quicker response time, and happier customer service representatives with the resources to perform their jobs more effectively.

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