The Next-Gen Contact Center Starts with Conversational AI

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The Next-Gen Contact Center Starts with Conversational AI - CX Today News
Contact CentreInsights

Published: June 17, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

From offering rapid AI innovation to delivering new engagement channels, CCaaS platforms promised so much.

Yet, a decade after the first CCaaS solutions went mainstream, not much has changed within the service experience.

Still, customers must repeat themselves, queue for long periods, and – perhaps most frustratingly – get caught up in the IVR.

Thankfully, the more forward-thinking contact centers have started challenging that “press one for this, press two for that” functionality.

As a McKinsey & Company report summarizes: “IVR systems are evolving from dumb menu systems into smart ‘voicebots’.”

Those voicebots can solve simple, transactional queries. But they can also reinvent that stale, cumbersome contact center triaging process.

How Forward-Thinking Contact Centers Triage Customers

Smart voicebots can gauge the customer’s intent through the spoken word alone. From there, they pass them through to the best-suited agent – live or virtual – in the channel of their choice.

Forward-thinking contact centers leverage this capability and take it further.

Indeed, after recognizing the customer intent, some companies have utilized voicebots to engage with the customer in the queue, gaining pertinent information to their query. Then, the bot will pass that information to the agent.

As a result, the agent knows the customer’s query from the start of the conversation and has critical information at hand to solve it.

In doing so, the bots can shave 45 seconds from every customer interaction, boosting customer, agent, and business outcomes.

However, the next-gen contact center doesn’t stop there.

The Next Evolution of the Contact Center Triage

In the example above, the contact center focuses on handling the interaction within the customer’s channel of choice.

The next-gen contact center challenges that approach. As Gurpreet Singh Kohli, SVP and Global Head of Telecom & Networks at HCLTech, told CX Today:

“If the contact center knows that it’s a much better experience for the customer to call in – instead of going through live chat for their specific query – it should prompt a one-click escalation.”

Some may challenge such logic. After all, they may prefer to handle contacts on channels like live chat, as it’s often cheaper.

Yet, by analyzing metrics across different customer intents – such as average handling time (AHT), first contact resolution (FCR), and quality scores – the contact center can spot where such a prompt makes sense and where it will ultimately cut costs.

Kohli and his team at HCLTech can help contact centers with such analysis and execute on this next evolution of contact center triaging.

Furthermore, they can prepare contact centers for the future of contact handling – where they tactfully leverage conversational and other forms of AI alongside various channels and modalities.

Where Is This All Heading?

According to Kohli, the future of customer contact handling will fixate on intent-level customer journey orchestration.

As above, that approach starts with the contact center isolating their customers’ most common queries. Then, instead of only defining the best place to handle the query, it will define THE single best possible way to resolve it.

That looks far beyond the boundaries of channel and conversational AI. In this case, as Kohli stated:

“The contact center of tomorrow will consider: how can I blend humans, AI, and modalities to resolve this single problem and deliver the most seamless customer experience?”

For example, consider a scenario where a customer reaches out because their order arrived broken.

The business could orchestrate an online virtual agent experience where customers verify themselves via fingerprint recognition. Then, they may ask each customer to submit a photo of the problem and confirm the customer’s claim via image recognition (AI).

From there, the virtual agent will request a recall and send a replacement, utilizing workflow automation on the back end.

By optimizing such a flow – in one specific place or channel – the contact center not only innovates but also reduces complexity. After all, they can place less emphasis on developing different journeys across various channels to answer the same queries.

HCLTech: Keeping Contact Centers a Step Ahead

The journey to intent-level journey orchestration may seem daunting. Yet, the contact center can slowly build towards Kohli’s vision by first utilizing smart bots to triage customers.

Still, many organizations may require assistance. There, HCLTech can be the knight in shining armor.

Indeed, it provides a global community of specialist contact center consultants, far-ranging expertise, and numerous strategic partnerships to help enterprises create the contact center of tomorrow.

To learn more about how HCLTech enables the next generation of contact centers, visit: https://www.hcltech.com/digital-foundation/contact-center

Artificial IntelligenceCCaaSConversational AIDigital TransformationWorkforce Optimization

Brands mentioned in this article.

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