The contact centre space has proven to benefit a great deal from artificial intelligence, enhancing the customer and agent experience through intelligent automation designed to drive faster resolutions and response times for customers. Along with richer data and context for agents, AI extends self-service options via Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs), bots, and more. Ron Maayan, SVP, Product Management, Vonage, said the gains of using AI in the contact centre are unmatched and serve to streamline formerly time-consuming tasks for customers as well as free up agents so they can focus on more complex matters.
This is only if it’s done right, Maayan said. If not, AI can become a headache and cause considerable frustration when it is not implemented with the appropriate parameters – or, if it isn’t intuitive. What do you want to solve by implementing AI in your contact centre? This is a key question Maayan posed during a recent sit-down. He added it could be any number of desired outcomes, including cost-savings and enhanced customer experience.
“You have to first think about use-cases and goals, and how AI can help solve these problems”
If you consider a customer’s pre-engagement experience, there are AI-powered tools like chatbots that can do a lot of the heavy lifting to reduce customer frustration and increase positive elements, like the level of content they feel, according to Maayan. Today the technology can even perform tasks like routing customers to the proper agent to handle their queries and more.
“Our Vonage AI Virtual Assistant performs this kind of automation during the pre-call experience for tasks like answering commonly asked questions, taking payments and placing product orders, freeing up agents to handle more complex tasks that need the human touch”
According to Maayan, Vonage and its fast-growing ecosystem of partners have seen a growing demand for such capabilities because of the Coronavirus pandemic. He added that chatbots have come a long way since the early days and that companies have identified the value that AI extends which allows them to take advantage of the technology in bigger volumes.
During a customer call, AI might make suggestions to an agent on how to best assist customers, something achievable via keyword spotting and sentiment analysis, where AI identifies the needs of a customer and suggests the next best actions to adjudicate a dispute. This includes escalating the matter to a manager if necessary. All this requires the use of real-time transcription, a technology that’s constantly being refined thanks to the use of AI.
Maayan said there is one factor that’s often overlooked – the post-call interaction and the opportunities it poses. He shared that Vonage has an offering called the Vonage Conversation Analyser. The tool can analyse voice, SMS, and any other form of digital communication customers have. It can then provide insights for agents and decision-makers within an organization, adding value to any business that leverages the tool. Such a proposition could lend agents some insight into the most opportune moment to upsell customers and more.
Workforce optimisation (WFO) is another principal purpose for injecting AI into contact centre solutions as it has a myriad of use cases, like agent training. Maayan said the argument that contact centre agents will become obsolete because of AI does not hold much weight in his eyes, at least not in the short-term. He maintains, AI will work to heighten the agent and user experience, not to replace them.