AI is already here and is being implemented by companies across the world.
Call ATT about your Cell service and you will be talking to an Artificially Intelligent agent. This is a computer generated person talking to you. Not a real agent. And that robot is verifying your identity and answering questions in a conversational manner. The quality is stunning. No button pushing required. You can answer questions and the system understands you and either answers or directs you to where you need to go to get help. This is a big advance from the days of a robotic voice chopping its way through some basic commands and asking you to press 1 for yes and 2 for no.
Surveys show consumers like getting answers, information and service without having to deal with other humans. Great news for company bottom lines…not so good for Call Center agents across the world.
Dozens of companies like SmartAction, Afiniti, and IPsoftAmelia, to name a few, are developing AI applications to integrate with Contact Centers that are capable of totally disrupting operations in a good way. These companies are moving quickly and producing some very impressive products that will transform omni-channel Customer Service.
Google, Amazon, Apple and Tesla are pushing AI to new frontiers and the residual learning and technology wave is raising all ships and leading to amazing breakthroughs in quality.
The programs that are being developed are so sophisticated that they are learning on their own and improving their performance. This “machine learning” is the key leg to explosive growth. AI is providing insight on customers and building profiles using interactions, call audio and other contact data that are compiled from multiple sources and can be made available in real-time or for historical reporting. Sales and Service teams will have access to amazingly detailed and useful data about their agents and customers.
The what, when, where, and how of AI should be a key focus for all Contact Center leaders and those who utilize contact centers to service their customers. The “Why” is easy. Because AI leads to increased cost savings, more loyal customers, more buyers, longer retention of customers and employees (the human ones); reductions to infrastucture spending; better use of collected customer data, and, unfortunately for workers but good for company bottom lines, reductions in human workforce costs.
I spoke to a Venture Capital Group today and I can tell you that they are taking a very conservative approach to valuing the ROI on AI implementation. AI seems to have snuck up on everyone quietly, event the smart money, but it is here and it is growing fast.
The Contact Center industry is beginning the journey through major changes and improvements with AI and I’m very excited to be along for the ride.