Contact Babel has published its latest report entitled, “The Inner Circle Guide to AI, Chatbots and Machine Learning” looking at how UK-based contact centre operators are integrating the very latest automation technologies into their daily operations, as well as their plans for the future.
While the report finds that there is relatively low adoption of AI and Machine Learning within contact centres today – with just 13 percent of respondents stating they have already deployed these types of solution – there are strong indications that they will soon be integrated into more and more UK contact centres. More than a third of respondents (36 percent) stated they definitely intend to use AI and Machine Learning in the future.
Overall the report lauds the use of AI technologies such as real-time speech analytics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) within the contact centre, with benefits including better understanding of customer behaviour and the delivery of better service. While the report acknowledges that there is reticence from customers around the use of automation instead of human interaction, particularly amongst the older generation, it concludes that “Over a long period of time, AI will become thoroughly enmeshed in every element of customer interactions: the rise of the robots will be slow, but inexorable.”
Valur Svansson, Principal Consultant of Emerging Technologies at IP Integration, the Digital Contact Centre Company, has said of the report:
“Contact Babel’s report shows that AI technologies are still very much in their infancy, but there is no doubt that ‘Digital Workers’ and other solutions that tap into and mimic human thought processes will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. However, to fully realise the many benefits of these technologies, it is critical that contact centres take a strategic – rather than piecemeal – approach to their adoption, ensuring all these new solutions interoperate fully and support overall business objectives.
“One pitfall that contact centres can fall into is to become solely focused on the ROI of deploying automation tools. A successful implementation isn’t just about ROI or – more to the point – cutting costs. The real power of AI lies in the benefits it provides to both customers and staff; measuring their experience is a far better indicator of success.
“Customers just want their enquiries to be resolved as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, agents want their jobs to be less stressful and more motivating. If operators can equip their staff with software robots – or Intelligent Assistants – that can manage simple queries, connect systems and complete common tasks, then they will have a more positive and sustainable work experience. In turn, customers will get the highest quality support possible, and will be more likely to stay loyal to the brand.
“AI advancements place us on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, and nowhere is this more evident than in the contact centre. And while we may be a way off the rise of the robots, change is certainly afoot. If handled well, the benefits of such technologies will be far reaching and will change the face of the contact centre for the better.”
Published in Contact Centres 14th February 2019