Is Artificial Intelligence Coming to Contact Centres?

Artificial Intelligence is a technology which has been growing exponentially, both in its development and in its mounting implementations. It no longer seems such an abstract concept, or one better suited to clinical rooms and metallic-clad cyborgs on the silver screen. In fact, Artificial Intelligence seems to be finding its place in contact centres, one of the staples of everyday business.

Because contact centres do hold such a central place in the professional world, and have done for many years, they are as subject to changing demands as any other entity which deals with professional customers or the general public. Call centres are constantly doing both, and so to work efficiently for everybody, they must be well-organised and up to speed on technology and trends.

That’s why the ever-increasing need for more information, at a faster rate, and on more diverse topics which has swept society at large with the burgeoning of the Internet and the many, many developments it has brought, is impacting directly upon contact centres. This, in turn, is heightening the demands made on individual agents within these contact centres, forcing us to consider the question of whether it remains reasonable, even feasible, to expect humans to be able to single-handedly provide the services and informations required.

Call centres are no longer operating on a simple basis of answering inbound calls on a set issue, or placing outbound calls with a failsafe script. They are now generally multi-channel centres, constantly tackling a huge array of different questions, topics, areas of expertise. And that’s where Artificial Intelligence can step in, to lighten call centre agents’ load.

This seems to be one the of the underlying factors to predictions made by Frost & Sullivan Contact Centre Research.
Instead, we should expect to see that by 2030, the growth rate of Artificial Intelligence will have surpassed Agent Services’.

The communications specialist Pyrios has emphasised the importance of flexibility when it comes to implementing new technology like Artificial Intelligence. One of the key uses which Artificial Intelligence can offer to contact centres is the ability to deliver personalisation, increasingly important in all facets of customer service (and, indeed, beyond).

So what would AI in the contact centre actually look like? What practical functions could it serve? Well, one short answer which has been given is that AI can enable sales teams to have more productive conversations with potential customers. And this isn’t a random stab in the dark. It’s based on actual AI technology which has already been developed for use in contact centres.

It really isn’t a far off projection. While we might have another decade or so until AI growth surpasses Agent Services’, AI is already making its way into contact centres. Talkdesk, one of the leading companies selling cloud contact centres, recently announced its integration of AI into its platform. It is using AI to boost its sales teams’ productivity, and while the product remains in beta, it has been displayed at the Salesforce Dreamforce.

The innovation combines a whole host of features which use Artificial Intelligence to make sales easier, smoother, quicker, and more efficient:

  • power dialling will create a queue of phone numbers to dial, skipping straight onto the next one whenever a call fails or ends, thus negating the need for agents to spend time manually dialling numbers.
  • voicemail drop provides agents with a set of pre-recorded voicemail messages from which they can choose when they encounter a customer’s voicemail machine. That way, they will no longer need to leave a unique message for every customer that doesn’t answer the phone, or leave no message at all. There is the added bonus of certainty that no important information was forgotten from the message.
  • local presence allows sales representatives to dial potential customers from local numbers.
  • callbar grants the ability to click-to-call and integrates CRM systems and other applications
  • com integration creates omnichannel capabilities, desktop voice, native reporting, as well as other automated features.
  • SalesAssist makes use of Artificial Intelligence and voice analytics in order to flag up specific points in conversations, and then provides the agent with ideal responses as the conversation is taking place.
  • call recording, a classic feature with innumerable benefits.
  • Voice Analytics tracks conversations to identify which techniques tend to be successful, and which are more associated with failure.

Clearly, this is a huge development which could have a direct and probably very significant impact upon the efficiency and ease with which call centres operate. Notably, there seems to be an emphasis on helping the agents to do their job better and with greater comfort, rather than replacing them as so many workers fear.

What we are seeing in the world of Artificial Intelligence is innovative and practical thinking combining with technological developments. The result is that contact centres should be able to keep up with the ever increasing list and exigency of demands, ensuring that they can provide and process the quality and quantity of information needed. In short, yes, Artificial Intelligence really is coming soon to a contact centre near you.