Get in Touch

Can Outsourcing AI Operations Add Value to Your Contact Center?

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have improved many aspects of our daily lives. The traffic app in your car that helps you get to places faster? Advertisements popping on your phone that seem...

 Toggel Table of Contents

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have improved many aspects of our daily lives. The traffic app in your car that helps you get to places faster? Advertisements popping on your phone that seem to read your mind? Are social apps responding to your chat messages at odd hours? They’re all products of AI. Not surprisingly, customer support teams are also counting on artificial intelligence to expand their reach and provide better services. Specifically, AI and machine learning are enhancing contact center operations and remote team management. 

AI is Growing Bigger 

Given the benefits it provides to many industries, AI’s adoption continues to grow strong. In fact, Statista foresees that the global AI market will earn $207 million this year. By 2030, the figure could reach more than half a trillion dollars. 

Meanwhile, AI applications in customer service are just getting started. For example, Google recently announced the introduction of additional AI end-to-end solutions for the overwhelmed contact center. The solutions combine AI, customer relationship

management (CRM) integration, and multi-experience functions. Specifically, this means increased workloads for AI-powered functions, while making sure customer satisfaction scores remain high. 

Deploying Call-Center AI Technologies Enhances CX 

How does artificial intelligence help contact center operations? AI’s earliest contributions included the automated assigning of calls to available agents and the use of voice-activated services. These improvements did little to improve efficiency and instead kept angry customers on the line far longer than they preferred. 

AI technology’s automated conversational agents were a breakthrough for the customer contact center for several reasons. For instance, even when a company closes for the day, chatbots and automated response systems remain on duty to answer basic inquiries. And during office hours, human agents can address customer concerns faster through the use of AI-provided information. Through the success of these systems, companies realized investing in artificial intelligence was an essential factor in providing better customer experiences. The improvements led to increased customer loyalty and, ultimately, better revenues. 

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many contact center employees began working from home. This meant the increased requirement and adoption of call-center AI technologies. With no clear sign of the pandemic’s end as of now, it remains unclear when customer support will return to a central office full-time. As a result, experts believe the demand for contact center AI tools will increase from $800 million in 2019 to a staggering $2.8 billion by 2024. 

How Does AI Help Contact Centers? 

Each customer has unique needs and expectations of your brand, so one-size-fits-all responses won’t always work. Your call center humans may not be able to offer a personalized experience to every customer, but AI can. Through a series of automated questions, AI can get to the root of a customer’s issue and offer a customized resolution. 

So, in what specific ways does artificial intelligence help with customer service? Here are some of the things AI can do more effectively than humans: 

Improves Workflows

Customer service AI helps move customers through the line faster as it takes over some of the more basic inquiries. This ensures more live agents remain available for the more serious calls that require specific information. 

Reduces Agent Fatigue 

By handling callers that ask the most basic questions, AI allows agents to remain fresh to answer the more complex concerns sent in by customers. Call centers often receive the same question multiple times, such as whether a product is available at a certain location or what the store hours are. Having an automated responder provide that repeated answer over and over spares the call center agent from getting burned out replying to the same questions. 

Generates More Leads 

Faster response times to self-service inquiries can dramatically improve a customer’s buying mood. By removing aggravating factors such as ultra-long hold times or repetitive requests for personal information, callers can focus on what they want and might eventually lean into a purchase. 

Reduces Costs 

Deploying chatbots during off-hours or holidays means lower labor costs and reduced operational expenses while still ensuring customers’ questions can be answered. At the same time, AI assistance to agents during actual calls means faster resolution times. 

Is AI for Contact Centers Expensive? Outsourcing Isn’t

AI brings a wealth of benefits to contact center operations, but is it worth the price? The biggest driver for call center operations expenses remains labor costs. Anticipated to reach a value of $43.3 billion by 2025, the natural language processing (NLP) market, which is a subfield of AI, is poised for significant growth. An AI investment will pay for itself in the long run. 

As a result, contact center operations that use AI-powered tools will have a decided advantage over human agent-exclusive services. In fact, Gartner estimates AI-driven businesses will generate value worth $2.9 trillion. A majority of this value will come from improved customer experiences. 

Outsourcing Can Further Maximize Gains From AI 

While the gains are undeniable, many contact solution centers remain hesitant to fold artificial intelligence into their operations. The upfront cost of implementing a system and integrating it with their established CRM and CS systems can deter any sense of urgency. 

Rather than shouldering the implementation costs, many enterprising companies look instead to outsourcing. By contracting the services of an outside customer service expert already armed with AI tools, these companies further increase their cost efficiency without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

Top AI Use Cases in Contact Center Operations 

What processes and tasks benefit from the use of artificial intelligence? Below are some of the more popular applications of AI in the field of customer support: 

Predictive Call Routing 

Predictive call routing is one of the earliest applications of AI in the contact center industry. Specifically, it matches a customer’s inquiry with an agent who is an expert in the same issue. By matching the concern with the appropriate specialist, the system dramatically increases the probability of a faster resolution. 

But how does the computer decide which agent goes with which customer? The AI examines the caller’s history and notes their tendencies and communication styles. It then searches through the database of agents and looks into each one’s record when dealing with the same customer specifics. 

Call Analytics/Agent Performance Analysis 

Another early application of AI is the routine analysis of calls. The system can look in-depth into a call and determine trends and insights. By cross-referencing call data with customer information, the system can determine if the caller is having a good or bad customer experience. Compared to a shift manager, AI can dive deeper into the call and measure the customer’s current sentiment and mood toward the call. As a result, AI can generate better insights and produce deeper analytics.

At the same time, AI can help gauge an agent’s performance through detailed monitoring. By diving deeper into voice patterns, emotional states, and word choice, AI can provide a more efficient analysis of the agent’s sentiment compared to a supervisor monitoring the same scenario. The system can even intervene when it detects heightened tension in the agent’s voice by sending a timely reminder to stay cool. 

Schedule/Forecast 

By sifting through the volume of calls made every day, AI can identify patterns and gather insights. These observations can focus on the frequency and schedule of calls, time spent by agents per call, and resolution rates. 

Managers can then gather and analyze the data to produce efficient deployment schedules. At the same time, AI can help create forecasts based on anticipated customer service activity. This ensures enough agents are always on duty to handle the anticipated workloads. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) 

Interactive voice response (IVR) is another function that ushered in the age of self-service in customer service. IVR systems ask customers a series of questions, and customer responses push the conversation into the next stage. While valuable, early IVR systems had poor voice recognition abilities, leading to negative customer experiences. 

Today’s IVR systems are much more efficient at recognizing speech patterns and identifying spoken letters and words. It works with the automated call-routing system to provide customers with the support agent that’s most qualified to handle the inquiry. 

Conversational Assistants/Chatbots 

Chatbots are the most popular example of AI in contact center operations. Maintaining 24/7 support is next to impossible for many companies given the prohibitive labor and operational costs. Instead, companies deploy chatbots and other conversational assistants to talk to customers during non-operation hours. 

Chatbots are also a surefire way to provide answers to common questions. A significant 55% of consumers express their willingness to experiment with chatbots that provide location-based deals, while 35% of individuals rely on chatbots for issue resolution or obtaining comprehensive responses.

In addition, chatbots are becoming more advanced and more efficient in pulling a customer’s information during a conversation. This allows it to offer customized responses without skipping a beat. 

Agent Assistance 

Finally, AI can also help live agents complete an inquiry by providing the needed information instantly. Instead of the agent dealing with the customer while looking for files, AI can monitor the conversation and anticipate the needed data to help resolve any questions. 

At the same time, the system can monitor the customer’s sentiment and suggest solutions to the agent instantaneously. It can determine what information a customer is actually looking for, alert the agent, and provide numerous suggestions that can resolve the matter. 

What the Future Holds 

Despite the best efforts of artificial intelligence developers, totally eliminating human contact center agents is not yet possible or feasible. However, AI can introduce improvements in the staffing and deployment processes, which means better labor cost efficiency. For example, using optimization and workforce management software can help determine which days and hours experience heavier call volumes. This can give management the tools to ration the positioning of more agents during peak hours

and fewer ones during idle times. 

There’s no need to worry that AI will eventually replace humans as the primary support provider; instead, think of it as a valuable partnership. For instance, AI is a great tool to help human agents better address customer inquiries. Artificial intelligence may even be a more appropriate way to resolve some issues. However, the human touch will remain a superior strength when addressing challenging calls. 

Integrating AI with human agents is a natural fit. Automated responses and systems can help weed out calls that ask basic or redundant questions. Not only does it free up the lines for more serious calls, but it also prevents agents from getting burned out from repetitive inquiries. 

Dealing With Emotions 

Even with the most modern technological advantages, AI still has ways to go before developing a human persona. Traits like empathy, remorse, and joy are still the exclusive domains of humans. Applying these traits in contact center conversations often provides the spark to turn any conversation into a positive customer experience. 

In addition, AI has yet to make great strides in understanding colloquial language or figures of speech. As many people use colorful language in their daily activities, human agents still have a decided advantage over their computer counterparts. 

Find the Best Outsourcing Partner for Your Contact Center 

Applying AI to fill your contact center’s shortcomings is a good way to boost your customer satisfaction scores. Companies unable to implement AI themselves can rely on outsourcing solutions that are experts in AI-powered contact centers. 

Helpware is an outsourcing provider dedicated to helping companies maximize their growth potential. By leaving the daily administrative and support tasks to our team of highly trained specialists, companies can focus on what’s important: growth. 

Through enhanced integrations and tasking, Helpware can implement your objective of providing an exceptional and well-rounded customer experience. This is made possible through the integration of an AI-powered system with a team of highly qualified professionals. Leave the work of enhancing customer experiences and generating measurable data to Helpware. 

Do you want to know more about the many ways Helpware can help your company? Contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss your specific needs. We’ll provide you with a free, no-obligation quote to get things started. 

Related Posts

img-name
Jorge Cervantes
Vice President LATAM Business Operations

Helpware expertise

Core Services

Explore Helpware

Let’s chat about business process outsourcing for success

Let’s Get Started
Helpware-Anton-2