5 Trends in Contact Centre AI for 2022

Get to grips with how contact centre AI is transforming the customer service experience landscape

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5 Trends in Contact Centre AI for 2022
Contact Centre

Last Edited: October 12, 2022

Charlie Mitchell

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by several years, according to a McKinsey & Company study. Yet, many of these changes are not temporary; they are here for the long haul.  

Digital innovation, whether or not driven by the pandemic, has brought AI to the heart of many business operations. As the Harvard Business Review reports: “AI and analytics are boosting productivity, delivering new products and services, accentuating corporate values, addressing supply chain issues, and fuelling new start-ups.” 

The once-unfashionable contact centre has found itself at the forefront of AI adoption. As the home of an immense and growing store of customer data, the Customer Experience (CX) function holds the key to success in many business-wide strategic AI initiatives. However, there are also more tactical, low-hanging-fruit opportunities that contact centres can grasp to improve CX in practical ways.  

To uncover how contact centres now harness AI to achieve better CX outcomes, consider the following five trends. 

1. IVR Transitions into Voicebots

Traditional Interactive Voice Response (IVR) services form a significant pain point in the customer journey. Too many options, confusing choices, and frustrating dead-ends are familiar issues for consumers.  

In recent years, many contact centres have made a concerted effort to improve IVR experiences, with AI paving the way. Thanks to advances in AI-powered Natural Language Processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU), some contact centres have enabled customers to navigate the IVR menu using their voice alone. Such innovation makes for a much smoother experience and reduces customer effort, especially for those interacting through a smart speaker. 

However, many operations are starting to push the boat out further. As Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder of Content Guru, says: 

“What makes IVR truly intelligent is an ability to identify the intent of a query and provide a resolution there and then” 

From this concept, the voicebot was born. Evolving from complex, nested menu systems, contact centres can now resolve customer queries within the voicebot. If an issue is too tricky, the bot can still understand customer intent – from just a couple of words or a whole sentence – and seamlessly route the enquiry through to the most appropriate human agent. 

2. Robotic Process Automation Reduces Routine Tasks

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is making its mark across the customer engagement sector by simplifying manual, routine tasks for agents and customers. As a result, both parties enjoy much more effortless experiences. 

Consider the voicebot, but further along the chain of interaction. Once customer identification and intent have been verified, RPA triggers a workflow with the organisation’s IT systems that enables the customer to resolve their issues without assistance. As such, the contact centre caters for the modern, autonomous consumer. 

However, RPA application goes further than facilitating the automation of simple, transactional processes. It also mechanises particular elements within the resolution process of more complex queries. 

Take the voicebot once again. As soon as it captures the contact reason, it not only transfers the customer to the agent picking up their call, streamlining the start of the conversation, but it can also automate the ticket tagging process within one or more downstream systems.  

Aside from this application, there are many more examples of RPA bringing value to the contact centre. For instance, the technology often features in the agent desktop, automating processes such as launching applications, updating systems, and following up action items.   

3. AI Enhances Stalwart Contact Centre Systems

Through RPA, speech analytics, and other AI-enabled technologies, many traditional contact centre solutions are evolving at an unprecedented pace. 

Consider how natural language processing (NLP) – an AI tool that transcribes and assesses customer conversations to draw contextual meaning – has advanced the agent screen-pop. In doing so, the technology scours through previous interactions before neatly presenting critical insights to the agent, at the same time as a customer contact is delivered. Such insights go beyond basic customer information and enable agents to offer faster, more personalised service experiences. 

An AI tool can also present live information to agents. Customer sentiment insights are a particularly attractive example. Yet, it does not stop there. As Taylor says: 

“NLP systems can provide a summary of a conversation on completion of the call, leaving agents more time to focus on the customer interaction itself. Automated transcription and summarization furthermore reduce information inconsistencies” 

Another example of AI enhancement comes in call routing software. Now powered by machine learning, the technology learns from historical interactions to pass a customer through to an agent with compatible characteristics. This matching increases the chances of rapport – that most human of factors. 

4. Speech Analytics Exploits Data Opportunities

Thanks to the evolution of omnichannel communications technologies, conversational customer data no longer lies in siloes. Instead, as customers move across channels, the context of their conversations follows them. Such an approach has many benefits, including the ability to create a data stream that increases the value of AI tools. 

Powered by NLP, one of these tools is speech analytics. Discussing the value of the technology, Taylor says: “Using NLP technology to analyse and group large volumes of interactions automatically, organisations can extract valuable insights from these relatively unstructured datasets. This enables them to maintain compliance, mitigate risk and improve agent performance, optimising CX with ease.” 

However, as speech analytics evolves, many other uses cases emerge. Automating quality monitoring scorecards, giving agents real-time coaching, and predicting customer behaviour are excellent examples that can push CX further and faster. 

Of course, executing such strategies takes time and planning. As such, Gartner research states: “Addressing the root cause of inquiries is a better place to start when optimising costs in customer service.” Doing so is invaluable for uncovering pain points within the customer journey. 

5. Chatbots Harness Image Recognition

Over the past decade, chatbots have underwhelmed many customers. Maybe this is sugar-coating the situation, with Forrester Research suggesting that 54% of US online consumers believe interacting with a chatbot will have a negative impact on their quality of life. 

Luckily, as the years have rolled on, the technology has become much more sophisticated. For example, some of the latest chatbots leverage Image Recognition (IR), a form of AI which recognises entities within pictures and makes automated recommendations.  

Discussing this concept further, Taylor adds: 

“If a customer tweets a company the location and a photo of a faulty item of street furniture, IR can identify whether it belongs to that organisation. Based on this information, it can automate an appropriate response to the tweet, leaving agents free to answer more complex queries” 

As such, IR enables chatbots to automate ever more complex customer conversations. The bot may also sift through the images customers send and flag examples that require a human eye. Processes of this kind aid routing decisions while paving the way for more seamless customer experiences. 

Harness the Power of AI in 2022

Thanks to the rise of next-generation cloud contact centre solutions, such as Content Guru’s storm® platform, users can access the latest AI innovations more quickly and easily than ever before. A lab coat and thick glasses are no longer required. 

Whether AI innovation throws up an exciting, new technology or a more prosaic advancement to a stalwart system – contact centres can now evolve their technology architecture at the click of a button. 

For those wishing to harness such power and continually improve CX, reach out to Content Guru’s team of experts. 


AI in the Contact CentreArtificial IntelligenceCOVID-19Interactive Voice ResponsePandemic

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