The Power of AI in Enhancing the Customer Experience

Companies are confronting a growing number of customer experience challenges, the most significant of which is that customers are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of their service. This situation is troublesome for executives because what was considered a good service experience a year or even a few months ago is now deemed poor. As expectations for a great CX continuously evolve, how can companies deliver a consistently outstanding experience that is going to satisfy and possibly even wow customers?

The answer is that companies need to build an artificial intelligence (AI) technology framework that provides the intelligence to continuously improve their operating environments. This will allow companies to transition from today's static environments to the dynamic servicing environments of the future. Let's look at this another way. Over the years, contact centers have implemented dozens of great systems and applications to enhance the performance of their employees and operating departments. Automatic call distributors (ACDs) have been used to route and queue customer interactions efficiently to agents. Interactive voice response (IVR) solutions have been used to automate handling of the most mundane and repetitive customer inquiries. Workforce management (WFM) applications have been implemented to optimize resources while ensuring that companies have the right number of agents with appropriate skills available to respond to customer inquiries. Knowledge management (KM) helps agents find correct answers and information to respond to customer inquiries quickly. A sophisticated contact center can use as many as 45 systems and applications.

At the time of implementation, each system is optimized as best it can be. Companies invest a great deal of time and effort to realize the highest return from every solution and, when done right, will see a positive contribution and payback from each one. The problem is that each system is implemented in a vacuum without considering how its functions and performance effect other systems and applications already in production in the contact center ecosystem. A great deal of consideration and effort is dedicated to integrating the various applications, as the various technologies need to work together, but not to how one application impacts the other.

This is where an AI technology framework comes in. The idea is to implement an AI brain that functions as a controller, overseeing the performance of all contact center systems. This AI framework uses its intelligence to decide how and when each of the contact center systems goes into action. Another way to think about this is that the AI framework is the conductor directing a large orchestra. All of the instruments (which in contact centers are the systems and applications and agents) must work together for the performance of the orchestra to produce the richest sound.

But this is only the first of the three core functions of the AI technology framework. Its second fundamental activity is to watch vigilantly and monitor everything happening within these highly complex contact centers so that it can rapidly identify when the department is confronting something new or different or when things are out of sync or have gone wrong. This task is the key to continuously enhancing and upgrading contact center performance and positioning companies to dynamically keep up with the changing CX needs of their prospects and customers. The ability to identify variations in the performance of all contact center systems, applications, people, and procedures cannot be done by one or many people, but it can be done by an AI application specifically designed for this purpose, one that gets smarter with each completed transaction.

The third core component of the AI technology framework is the data repository. Artificial intelligence solutions are fueled and energized by data. While, at least in the beginning, humans create the parameters and provide the underlying guidelines for what it should look for, the AI framework is capable of identifying trends and patterns undetectable by humans. The larger the repository of unified, tagged, and targeted data, the smarter the AI platform and the more effective it will be in identifying patterns. As a result, it can find situations that depart from the norm and bring them to the attention of its human controllers.

The contributions AI is making in the realm of customer experience are game-changing for the industry and, therefore, for customers. Although AI is still in its early days and DMG expects to see exponential advancements in its capabilities every two to three years for the next two decades, it has already proven to be instrumental in improving the effectiveness and performance of contact centers. As part of its initial roll-out, AI is being used to discretely improve and optimize the performance of each application and system used in contact centers. In its next phase, AI will be used to deliver a technology framework that orchestrates the overall performance of contact centers, enabling all of their component solutions to operate in harmony.

Donna Fluss, president of DMG Consulting, is an expert on contact centers, analytics, and back-office technology. She has 30 years of experience helping organizations build contact centers and back-office operating environments and assisting vendors to deliver competitive solutions. She can be reached at