5 Ways SMBs Can Benefit From AI in the Cloud Contact Center

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn't just for big enterprises with large IT teams and budgets. If you have a small to mid-sized business (SMB) with a cloud contact center, AI tech is for you, too.

Illustration of a contact center agent sitting at a desk working; beside them is a large computer chip labeled AI and above that is a cloud

Cloud contact centers give your teams the proper tools and information they need to provide a seamless omnichannel customer experience. Agents can work anytime, from anywhere — and with customer relationship management (CRM) integration, they can see a complete customer history whenever they make or take a call. They simply log into the contact center from any internet-connected device, and they're ready to talk, message, or video chat with customers.

Leading cloud contact center solutions also let you take advantage of machine learning and AI features to improve communication and customer service, turning data into actionable insights.

So, how can your business use AI in the cloud contact center today, and what are the benefits?

1. Provide Live Assistance for Agents

AI can improve customer interactions by analyzing conversations in real time, transcribing them with machine learning, and providing relevant insights to the agent. For example, an AI bot can predict customer intent and needs and then suggest prompts, relevant resources, or workflows to the agent. During chat sessions, AI can also suggest phrases or auto-completion prompts while the agent is typing to help speed up the process.

In addition to predicting customer intent, AI can also predict customer sentiment by analyzing the tone of voice and frequently used words. If it detects frustration, it can make suggestions to help the agent de-escalate the situation or loop in a manager for backup.

2. Get Customers to the Right Agent With Dynamic Routing

Most telephone-based customer service queries start with a phone tree, where customers get passed from one agent to another until they finally reach the person or department they need. After a customer has been put on hold several times and forced to repeat themselves, you don't even need sentiment analysis to know they're frustrated.

An AI-based virtual assistant uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to determine why customers are calling and route them to the right agent the first time. Rather than dialing "1" for English and then "2" for customer service or "3" for tech support, customers can just say or type their question in their preferred language. If it's a simple query or request, the virtual assistant can handle it for them. Otherwise, it can use skills-based routing application program interfaces (APIs) to direct the customer to an available agent who speaks the right language and can help.

Illustration of a robot with headset
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3. Provide 24/7 Service and Self-Service

With virtual assistants, you never have to close your contact center or worry about unexpected spikes causing long hold times. Virtual assistants can answer questions, provide assistance, and even walk customers through self-checkout at any time of day or night.

If you use social media or third-party messaging apps to communicate with customers, a chatbot API can provide virtual assistance and self-service on those channels, as well. This way, you're always open for business, even when your team is off the clock or busy helping other customers.

4. Improve Customer Experience With Advanced Analytics

Your managers don't have time to listen to every call "for training and quality assurance purposes," but AI does. It can also provide automated scoring for each interaction and auto-generated performance reports for each agent or team. Then, it can suggest personalized learning pathways or prompt micro-moment learning for individual agents.

On a macro level, AI-based analytics and reporting solutions can also help you identify parts of the customer journey that need improvement. It can also highlight operational or behavioral trends and show you which approaches have worked in the past and which have not. This way, you can improve both performance and the customer experience.

5. Gain Flexibility From Mobility

AI-based cloud contact center solutions have become even more valuable in this new era of virtual work and talent shortages. Agents can connect to the contact center — with its CRM integration and AI-based features — from anywhere. All they need is a single login and an internet connection to access the same tools and information they would have at the office.

If you're having trouble staffing your contact center with local talent, or if you're tired of the pandemic and inclement weather shuttering your office, a cloud-based contact center can free your business from those constraints and keep your team productive during uncertain times. And because flexibility is as important as salary to many workers, the ability to work from home can give your company an advantage in both hiring and retention. 

Simply put, AI can help your small business provide a better customer experience and a better employee experience, with solutions that scale as you grow.

Vonage Staff

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