This week we got another small data point reinforcing the idea that AI in the contact center isn’t primarily about chatbots—though chatbots are a part of the story.
In an Enterprise Connect webinar sponsored by Amazon Web Services’ Amazon Connect, we asked the audience: “What is the biggest benefit your contact center could realize by incorporating AI elements?” Almost 200 people attended the webinar, so we had a pretty decent sample size. The responses were:
- Deliver real-time context-based knowledge to agents: 40%
- Deploy intelligent virtual assistants/chatbots: 29.2%
- Easily add personalized support in digital channels: 12.3%
- Fine-tune auto agent routing: 9.2%
- Provide supervisors/managers with real-time dashboards: 9.2%
Given the amount of hype surrounding chatbots, you might find it surprising that this wasn’t the top choice, but it’s encouraging to see that, by a significant margin, the audience believes AI’s biggest benefit is the ability to help human agents do their jobs better.
The whole point of AI in the contact center is to provide better service and save money. Giving agents better information in real-time is probably the most effective way to provide better service, and if you believe that customer service is the differentiator that’s going to drive business success, then this should be your number-one goal—even ahead of saving money.
And saving money is where chatbots come in—you automate the process of giving simple answers to straightforward questions that don’t require human intervention (though improving the performance of your live agents also saves your enterprise money--presumably a contact center can reduce average call duration and handle more calls if agents are getting richer customer information, and getting it in real-time).
The goal of AI in the contact center isn’t to make agents obsolete; it’s to make contact centers better. That means deploying the skills that produce the best customer service, which requires understanding which of those skills reside inside human skulls and which inside software. This calculation will be constantly changing and evolving as AI technology improves and as society changes over the years. It’s a topic that will always generate new challenges, opportunities, and debates.
Our webinar featured analyst Sheila McGee-Smith, who also chairs our track on Contact Center & Customer Experience at Enterprise Connect 2020, taking place the week of March 30 in Orlando, Fla. The track contains a breakout session on The AI-Infused Contact Center, and in addition, Sheila will be leading a session on AI and customer service on the EC main stage. She’ll be joined by my colleague Beth Schultz, EC program co-chair and editor of No Jitter, along with a roster of top executives from leading contact center providers. It promises to be a lively conversation that hopefully will deepen your understanding of how AI can help you create the next generation of customer service in your enterprise.