AI is driving change in the contact center industry, making it a more accessible, friendly place for a customer. AI is changing the relationship companies have with their customers. ZaiLab chief product owner Catherine Collins believes that changing technology goes hand in hand with a changing customer. The time to adopt is now.
‘Contact centers are a hassle to deal with,’ says Catherine. ‘No one has the time to sit on hold while their call is transferred to the next available agent, let alone the patience to repeat their query, for the seventh time, to yet another person. From a customer standpoint, having to call into a company to resolve an issue is a bad experience that requires plenty of deep breaths and putting off more important things.’
Catherine believes that advances in technology, specifically around AI, is changing this.
If we look at global trade events in the communications industry, the buzzword being passed around the room was cloud.
‘Contact centers are moving online and that shift has brought a renaissance of innovation and a change in how we view the customer experience.’
A customer-centric approach
Savvy companies are investing now in AI to improve the customer experience. Intelligent routing, for example, eliminates long wait times by connecting a customer to the right agent quickly, while sentiment analysis allows companies to quickly pick up on unhappy customers before problems escalate.
Catherine explains that AI is accelerating these advancements, which ZaiLab has been quick to explore in its software. ‘ZaiLab’s routing algorithm identifies which customers take priority over others and matches them with the agents that have the best chance at satisfying a customer’s needs,’ says Catherine. ‘The algorithm then monitors these matches, and over time learns which matches will have the highest probability of getting a positive customer satisfaction score and a successful outcome.’
Maximising every channel
It’s clear the modern contact center is one geared towards the modern customer, with omnichannel engagement becoming more and more important. After all, picking up the phone is often a last resort, with email, social media and web chat being seen as more convenient ways to get in touch. ‘By adopting an omnichannel approach, companies suddenly have a more holistic view of what their customers are saying and where they’re saying it,’ says Catherine.
Imagine this scenario. A customer calls into a contact center. They’re connected to an agent quickly. That agent knows the customer’s name and history with the company. Additionally, that agent has the skills required to deal with the customer’s query without having to transfer them. The query is resolved quickly and the customer leaves a positive satisfaction score.
Now imagine if every query had the same result. For the contact center industry, it’s a game changer.
Also Read: The Great Bot Battle: Chatbots Vs Live Chat
The rise of the home agent
But it’s not only businesses and customers that profit from this new and improved experience. Cloud-based technology has definite benefits for agents too. Now agents can work anywhere, even from home.
The shift towards using home agents is gaining momentum in the United States especially, as outlined in a recent report by Contact Babel, which cited 52% of respondents choosing to go the home-agent route. This also means companies are finally able to employ agents closer to home instead of outsourcing. ‘We’ve already proven the socioeconomic benefits of using local agents with our community-run contact center in Delft, which not only has the potential to employ agents from the community, but also stay-at-home mothers, mobility-impaired individuals and the elderly,’ says Catherine.
Suddenly, the idea of calling into a contact center doesn’t seem so arduous. In fact, it’s never been such a joy.