Though AI ubiquity may feel like a relatively new development, businesses are confident in its potential — over 60% of business leaders believe that AI will increase productivity and improve customer relationships.
But how does this potential lead to revenue generation and where can AI make the biggest impact in contact centers specifically?
Cresta’s CTO and co-founder, Tim Shi, recently discussed all of this and more with analyst Jon Arnold on an episode of the EM360 podcast.
We’ll explore some key moments from their conversation below.
What makes the contact center a natural fit for AI?
Nearly every organization is eager to deploy AI, so what makes contact centers a particularly strong candidate for leveraging these solutions? In a word: data.
Every business has conversations with customers, meaning there’s a huge amount of (unstructured) data available. As Arnold points out, this unstructured data from conversations is likely the richest with customer insights, but those insights are difficult to get a handle on — that’s where AI comes in.
Hype, tension, and transformation
The hype around generative AI due to ChatGPT has created a sense of urgency for many organizations. According to Shi, this is helpful in some ways. Contact centers have historically been very fragmented, operating with many different solutions and legacy systems, and creating a sense of tension between contact center leaders’ goals and what’s realistically possible — but now, the trend toward cloud migration has accelerated.
Though Shi noted that this hype isn’t a purely positive thing, the accelerated pace with which contact centers are moving to CCaaS platforms will make it easier for AI technology to capture the available data and leverage it for business impact.
The ROI of AI
ROI is a central concern any time businesses invest in a new tool. When it comes to AI, increased efficiency and productivity are two key value drivers for contact centers.
By way of example, Shi highlights Cresta’s knowledge assist and smart compose capabilities. Supported by these features, agents save time normally spent searching for answers or typing responses. In fact, up to 50% of agents’ typing can be automated.
As a result, average handle time (AHT) drops, agents can take on more volume (without burning out), and customer experience improves. With results like these, it’s easier to communicate value-based pricing, where contact centers’ investments total just a fraction of the returns.
Industries in need of AI
Businesses in the hospitality industry have seen a sharp volume spike after the pandemic period of minimal travel. Agents can’t work fast enough to manage the increased demand — unless enabled by AI.
For financial institutions, a surge in regulatory constraints has created the need for robust and accurate AI for governance and QA purposes.
But parallel to these trends, Shi says it’s important to remember that every industry (and every business) is different — there’s no one-model-fits-all solution, but because AI learns from every interaction, this tech enables a custom-tailored approach to unique challenges.
The value of better experiences
There are two avenues through which AI drives revenue for contact centers: user experience and customer experience.
While it may be easy to overlook the former, Arnold notes that plenty of platforms appeal to leaders with potential benefits, but it all hinges on adoption. If agents don’t receive any utility for a solution, adoption will flounder and ROI will never be realized.
In the contact center, generative AI has immense potential to improve employee experience at both the agent and supervisor level. Managers can easily identify coaching opportunities, coach agents in real time, and monitor for QA without exerting extra effort. Agents have access to the guidance and information they need to succeed in every interaction, plus the tools to offload rote tasks like note taking that tank efficiency.
In turn, contact center employees at every level feel more productive, effective, and satisfied in their roles.
On the customer side, AI-empowered contact centers provide faster and higher quality service, eliminating the frustrating experience of waiting in line to speak with someone for a simple query, and ensuring excellence in every interaction.
Taken together, improved UX and CX are brand-building outcomes that drive customer loyalty and retention, enhance agent effectiveness, and ultimately boost revenue as a result. As Shi puts it, “AI unlocks the supply of human output.”