AI and Call Centers: A Perfect Match

Gone are the days when customers simply called or emailed a company for support. Today’s customers expect a seamless, omnichannel experience where they can engage with a brand through multiple digital channels, such as text, chatbots, and social media. And as 76% of consumers say poor customer service negatively impacts their perception of a business,1 ensuring you deliver the best possible digital experience is vital to staying competitive.

Unfortunately, this shift in customer preferences has left many companies struggling to keep up. Some business leaders are hesitant to adopt new technologies designed to improve the customer experience (CX), while others need more knowledge or resources to upgrade their technology systems. But one solution has gained a lot of attention lately, and it has the potential to improve CX – while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

That solution is artificial intelligence (AI).

In this blog, we’ll explore how businesses are delivering better customer service by using AI in the call center, and how you can harness its benefits.

How Is AI Used in Call Centers?

The call center AI market is expected to reach $4.1 billion by 2027,2 so it’s likely no surprise that many call center providers have already implemented AI capabilities into their platforms. The top ways call centers currently use AI include:

Conversational AI

Conversational AI is typically seen in the form of chatbots, which are AI-powered tools that can automate routine tasks such as answering commonly asked questions, providing account information, and even handling basic support requests.

You’ve probably interacted with a chatbot or two over the past few years, as they’ve become increasingly popular tools for self-service. 88% of online customers had at least one conversation with a chatbot in 2022,3 with around 70% reporting a positive experience. Since they allow customers to engage with websites quickly and use self-support options, chatbots reduce wait times, free up agents to focus on more complex issues, and provide access to support 24/7.

Predictive Call Analytics

AI technologies can analyze call data to identify patterns in customer behavior and predict customer needs before they arise. This allows call centers to offer proactive solutions, reducing the number of support requests and improving customer satisfaction. And since AI measures factors like tone, sentiment, and personality, it can deliver more in-depth analytics than any call center manager ever could.

Emotional Intelligence AI

Emotional intelligence AI uses natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to identify customer emotions during calls. Also known as sentiment analysis, this tool can provide customer service representatives with real-time insight into how the customer feels throughout the call and what steps they can take to improve the interaction.

A 2022 survey found that 72% of consumers believe they would have better experiences if customer service reps used AI technology to improve their conversational skills in real-time.4 Clearly, sentiment analysis will grow as more companies strive to improve customer service.

Predictive Call Routing

Predictive call routing uses AI to match a call center customer to the specific customer service agent best able to handle the issue, not just based on the department but also on factors like personality, communication style, and expertise. AI software can gain a comprehensive understanding of the customer journey by analyzing customer behavior profiles, enabling the call center to offer hyper-personalized service.

Interactive Voice Response

As one of the earliest call center automation tools, interactive voice response (IVR) tools have been in use for years. However, IVR saw renewed interest as organizations responded to the COVID-19 pandemic: 33% of companies adopted the technology for the first time, and 42% of companies already using IVR increased its use.5

You’re likely already familiar with using IVR systems for customer support. It’s the pre-recorded voice that asks questions when you call a business, such as your name, account number, etc. You’ve probably also had a negative experience using IVR where you were forced to repeat the information. Luckily, this technology has come a long way with advances in AI, paving the way for advanced IVR solutions that improve customer satisfaction and help businesses reduce call center costs.

What Are the Benefits of Using AI in Call Centers?

Thanks to its wide range of capabilities, there are several advantages to implementing AI technologies in your call center. Some of the most significant benefits include:

  • Increased Efficiency – AI-powered tools can automate routine tasks, like call routing and data entry, reducing the workload on customer service agents and improving overall efficiency.
  • Cost Savings – Call centers that use AI technologies can reduce the number of representatives required, resulting in significant cost savings. Gartner predicts AI will save call centers as much as $80 billion in agent labor costs by 2026.6
  • 24/7 Availability – Since AI can handle basic customer inquiries and tasks without human intervention, customers can access critical support functions around the clock.
  • Advanced Insights – AI can analyze vast amounts of customer data to identify behavioral patterns and trends, providing valuable insights businesses can use to improve customer service and performance.
  • Personalization – Modern customers want businesses to provide them with a personalized experience. In a recent survey, 73% of respondents said they expect companies to understand their unique needs7 – something AI technology excels at.
  • Scalability – AI technologies can easily scale to handle large volumes of customer inquiries and transactions, allowing call centers to grow without significant additional resources.
  • Consistency – Ultimately, using AI in your call center can help your agents provide a more streamlined, consistent experience with every customer interaction. 83% of customers are more loyal to businesses that offer consistency across departments and service channels,7 so this is a key factor in improving the customer experience overall.

Enhance the Customer Experience With UniVoIP

AI-enabled call centers have the power to revolutionize the customer service industry, from providing more self-service options to personalizing each interaction and beyond. And as AI technology continues to advance, you can expect to see even more improvements in call center operations. By embracing AI, companies can provide the best possible service to their customers – now and in the future.

If you’re ready to deliver a seamless digital experience to your customers, UniVoIP can help. Our cloud contact center solution takes call centers to the next level with AI-enabled features, such as IVR routing, real-time analytics, forecasting, and more. Use our platform to standardize interactions across every touchpoint, including web chat, SMS, email, social media, voice, and self-service. Contact the UniVoIP team today to get started.

Sources:

  1. https://www.replicant.com/blog/survey-the-effects-of-bad-customer-service-and-how-brands-can-fix-it/
  2. https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/call-center-ai.asp
  3. https://financesonline.com/call-center-trends/
  4. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20230131005091/en/73-of-Consumers-Believe-AI-can-have-a-Positive-Impact-on-their-Customer-Experience
  5. https://financesonline.com/call-center-trends/
  6. https://www.cxtoday.com/wfo/gartner-bots-cut-agent-labor-costs-80bn/
  7. https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/research/salesforce-state-of-the-connected-customer-fifth-ed.pdf
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