In the last year, generative AI has become nearly ubiquitous — roughly 60% of companies using AI now use generative AI specifically, and the market is projected to see a compound annual growth rate of more than 24% through 2030.
But for Cresta, this concept isn’t new — since our inception, bringing generative AI to contact centers (and navigating the challenges associated with that goal) have been central to what we do.
Cresta’s CMO, Scott Kolman, recently caught up with CMSWire to discuss the generative AI buzz, the skepticism ingrained in traditional businesses like contact centers, and more — here, we’ll share some key insights from that interview.
Communicating the cutting edge
CMSWire: With Cresta at the forefront of integrating generative AI into contract centers, how do you communicate the benefits of such a cutting-edge technology to such a diverse audience?
To this end, Kolman offers a key piece of advice as a starting point: rather than getting caught up in the bits and bytes and capabilities, remember that conveying value stems from one question: what are the key challenges that people face and how do you solve them?
In the contact center, this includes the growing complexity of business interactions, high agent turnover (and relatedly: slow onboarding processes), among other things.
“Generative AI is the latest buzzword for many people, although we’ve been doing this for about five or six years and people get a bit jaded — is this real? – does it work? You have to really ground it in proof of what customers are doing, particularly in the industry the buyer is in, and really reinforce the reality. What are they seeing as the actual results along the way?”
– Scott Kolman, CMO, Cresta
Overcoming AI skepticism
CMSWire: …Introducing AI, especially generative models into traditional contact centers can be met with a lot of resistance or skepticism. You mentioned a few challenges, but what are the primary challenges in marketing Cresta’s solutions to potential clients?
Broadly speaking, Kolman cites two main challenges in marketing generative AI:
Lack of understanding: with any new technology, it’s easy for vendors to forget that there may be gaps in buyers’ knowledge.
“It really requires a lot of education along the way, help them on the journey, providing content that really is not salesy, it’s not overt, it’s really just educational and bring them up to understand what’s possible.”
The instinct to over promise: excitement around a highly capable solution can make vendors eager to promise expansive benefits that can’t realistically be achieved. To avoid this, Kolman suggests focusing on key issues and the reality of how a solution will function in buyers’ organizations.
“We really stress how it’s provided to the agent, where it’s really something that’s hidden from the customers and the customers don’t have to worry about. It’s behind the scenes. So, it’s really a tool to help augment the agent. Using that information to give them guidance, hints and tips and tools for how to handle a problem. The agent is an intermediary. They can ensure that it’s done properly along the way, it’s the right answer at the right time.”
For contact centers specifically, the high-volume, real-time nature of the environment presents challenges of its own.
“You can’t go ahead and provide a tip on how to solve a problem to the customer 20 or 30 seconds after they raised it. It has to be in the moment, so we have to show that the transcription is accurate, and that the recommendations are timely and so again, that goes back to those customers, those proof points along the way.”
The future of contact centers
CMSWire: As the world of contact centers undergoes this technological transformation, where do you see the industry in the next five to 10 years?
Drawing on his years of experience in the industry, Kolman offers two predictions for contact centers:
AI will pervade: it will become easier for the customer to engage with an organization over a self-service environment as conversational intelligence and virtual agents become richer.
Agents aren’t going anywhere: though AI will be used more, agents will continue to be involved in customer interactions, drawing on tools to make data more actionable and accessible to offer personalized, specialized support.
“People are humans, we like to talk to people, we like to engage, but it’s really just going to be helping folks to do their job better over time.”
While AI will undoubtedly grow more relevant in all of our interactions, the fact remains that its greatest potential is in augmenting humans — not replacing them.