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Have You Heard? Contact Center AI Can Transform Agent and Customer Experiences

This article was published on January 30, 2024

The emergence of virtual assistants and other AI-backed tools in everyday life has taken the business world — always searching for another process improvement or game-changing customer win — by storm. And companies have experienced real results since adopting AI-powered tools. 


AI and customer experience are already strongly linked through intelligently understanding what customers say and helping with various self-service tasks via contact center AI and other associated tools — and a lot of the same customer benefits also apply to contact center agents. Read on to learn all about AI in the contact center.

Photo of female contact center agent talking to a customer through her headset while typing notes in her computer.

How Can AI Benefit Contact Center Customers, Agents, and Managers?

Of course, suspecting AI could be a strong presence in your contact center and knowing where to get started are two very different things. Thinking about your desired business outcomes may be the most important step of all. What's the biggest unsolved issue in your contact center today? Issues such as plateauing sales, churn, NPS decreases, and turnover increases can all be solved by AI-driven technology, if deployed correctly.

Consumers today expect integrated, frictionless experiences that can occur at a moment's notice in any channel they choose. To meet these expectations, contact center agents need to be equipped with the right tools. Contact center AI technology can help create a win-win situation, where both customers and agents benefit. Here's how:

Highly intelligent, highly refined routing: For customers, a conversation opened in any channel should result in their quickly landing with the right agent, who can address questions or even resolve issues. What does this look like when AI is added to the mix? AI looks into numerous data sources, from active conversations to chat history, as well as CRM data. This provides a clearer picture of the need at hand and helps route the customer to the right human agent. The result? Your business saves time and money per interaction, while delivering an efficient customer experience.

Contextual on-call assistance: Once the call has landed with the right agent, contact center AI technology can provide contextual next-step guidance. For example, AI can analyze the call and identify a knowledge-base article for the agent to suggest. Smart enhancements like these make life easier for the agent, whose time is now optimized and productivity is increased. On-the-spot, contextual assistance also improves the customer's experience by giving them an enhanced level of agent support.

High-impact learnings at scale: Even the most productive managers can't listen to every call their team of agents receives, let alone generate consistent insights from them. AI, however, can listen in on a much larger scale, giving leaders at all levels agent insights — for example, that they’re speaking too quickly or interrupting customers too often. You can empower your organization with learning content and training at scale, all rooted in AI insights.

What to Keep in Mind When Considering AI

As you consider integrating contact center AI technology and tools into your organization, keep the following questions close to the discussion:

1. What Data Will I Be Collecting, and What Processes Will Be Used to Obtain It?

Identifying the types of data that matter to your business are an important part of choosing the right AI tools and vendors who can provide them early on.

2. How Will Data Consent Be Handled, and What Level of Transparency Should My Company Provide?

AI is a core differentiator and a quick path to customized experiences for many businesses, but not everyone is comfortable with a computer handing out personalized recommendations and other data-driven insights. Make sure customers know what data they're sharing and how it will be used.

3. How and Where Will the Data We Collected and Analyzed Be Stored?

The bigger the data, the bigger the storage needs. In a contact center environment, where voice communications are the norm and huge numbers of complex customer accounts are commonplace, it's worth knowing exactly how the information will be physically kept. This will help you determine if your infrastructure needs to change significantly to support it.

4. What Data Can and Cannot Be Shared?

You'll need a clear understanding of how data can be used as part of contact center AI tools and how it cannot. This is especially important in highly regulated fields with privacy and compliance requirements.

5. How Does AI Bias Play Into the Consideration to Implement AI?

AI bias (also known as algorithm bias) stems from inaccurate data and can create bad experiences. Being aware of the potential problem is the first step toward making sure your contact center AI experience is uniformly excellent for everyone.

These are just the start of the questions to consider as you plan to integrate AI technology into your contact center. AI is a complex and serious undertaking in any business, so setting a comprehensive strategy is important. This calls for working with a trusted partner to ensure that this integration is strategic and seamless.

How to Get Started with Contact Center AI

First and foremost: AI for AI's sake won't cut it. AI can do a lot to transform and enhance a business' contact center, from experiences to processes. But it achieves the best productivity and effectiveness when it's leveraged to solve challenges and achieve clearly defined goals.

In this regard, many companies prefer to test AI with a handful of use cases. It's a smart way to get started on the integration while allowing the business to work out its AI ideas in more practical terms. Expanding from this position lets the company grow AI's presence without overwhelming internal teams.

Consider the resources at play — both what you have now and what you'll likely need as the project rolls out. Some AI products are primarily business tools, but change on the level of an AI implementation carries certain training needs and resource requirements to plan for.

This is where partnering with a contact center vendor that has AI capabilities suited to your needs is a true game changer. As you explore potential vendors, don't be afraid to ask questions about how their AI solutions can scale with your business.

At Vonage, we have a variety of contact center solutions with innovative AI capabilities, from Vonage Premier for Service Cloud Voice to the Vonage AI Studio, a low-code, incremental path to an AI-powered contact center. Get in touch with a Vonage expert today to learn more about our solutions.

Have You Heard?

Don't miss upcoming installments of the new "Have You Heard?" blog series by Vonage, where we'll dive into unifying business communications, virtual assistants, and more.

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