5 Ways AI Can Enhance Your Contact Center Agent and Customer Experience

Innovative organizations are implementing strategies and technologies that prioritize, improve, and enhance the customer experience. After all, a customer-first mindset is critical for forward-thinking companies. In this area, digital-first contact and support centers are leading the way, shaping this transformation by implementing cloud-based artificial intelligence solutions that support omnichannel and multi-step interactions. From automating routine tasks to predicting customer needs, AI is driving significant improvements in productivity, employee engagement, and overall service quality.

Making optimal use of his company's workforce is one of the biggest challenges for any contact center leader, who often struggles with ensuring the correct number of agents with the right skill sets are working at the right times to address customer needs. Balancing the needs of their organizations, customers, and agents can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if they're doing it manually. Mapping their workforces to match customer demand can be tricky; too few agents can mean extended wait times and frustrated customers; too many agents available can mean wasted money and a restless team.

An AI-driven workforce management solution can automate what has traditionally required significant manual analysis and judgment by anticipating and fine-tuning service levels and scheduling without losing sight of the ever-important customer experience. A recent study by Deloitte revealed that 79 percent of contact center leaders plan to invest in artificial intelligence in the next two years.

Consider these five ways AI is reshaping workforce management in contact centers, enabling organizations to leverage data to make better business decisions:

  1. AI can streamline incoming queries and help customers self-serve across digital channels. AI can analyze interactions, which are increasingly becoming non-voice and digital-centric, and route them to the most appropriate agent based on skill sets, capacity, and customer preferences. This capability ensures that customers are quickly connected to the right person, improving customer satisfaction and reducing wait times. Chatbots can handle routine customer queries and provide basic support without human intervention. These virtual agents can handle repetitive tasks and provide self-service options, freeing human agents to handle more complex issues.
  2. AI can analyze digital customer interactions in real time to determine sentiment and topics. By monitoring all emails, chats, and social posts, AI systems can indicate a positive, neutral, or negative customer sentiment and the intent/topic of the conversation. With sentiment analysis as a proven predictive indicator of customer satisfaction, it provides additional information that enables customer service teams to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
  3. AI can provide data-driven analytics to help with valuable insights. AI can analyze large volumes of customer interactions to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. Contact center managers can leverage this type of data to gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, along with agent performance—all pieces that can translate to delivering more personalized customer interactions. AI tools can analyze customer data from multiple digital touchpoints and provide a holistic view of the customer journey. This enables contact centers to identify pain points, optimize processes, and personalize interactions based on individual customer preferences.
  4. AI streamlines capacity planning. AI-driven planning, forecasting, and scheduling embedded in workforce management enable contact centers to support more flexible work models where the needs of the individual agents can be more deeply understood. Contact centers can use AI to optimize operations by continuously modeling scenarios using historical and real-time data. This type of solution can save both time and money along with boosting productivity, enabling organizations to anticipate customer demands better and allocate resources accordingly. For example, contact centers that leverage AI can reduce backlog and give agents the right combination of tasks to make the best use of their time at work. Al can also monitor schedule adherence and occupancy throughout the day, allowing managers to move staff to the channels that need the most attention.
  5. AI can help uplevel agents. AI can provide real-time guidance to contact center agents during customer interactions. By analyzing customer data and contact center best practices, AI can offer agents suggestions, responses, and relevant information they might need to best solve issues or problems. AI can help ensure that agents deliver consistent and accurate support, improves their knowledge and performance, and fosters agents' continuous learning and improvement.

Since contact centers are often the initial touchpoint for customers, now is a good time to reevaluate and consider revamping processes, culture, and mindset. Embracing the power of AI in day-to-day operations will enhance employees' and customers' experiences.

Alex Bullen is chief product officer of Playvox.