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Is Conversational AI the Best Solution to Support Pandemic-weary Contact Centers?

As the Delta variant of Covid-19 sweeps across the globe, contact centers are feeling the continued strain of a long, hard season spent overcoming pandemic challenges in customer service. Most have adapted to remote work, adopted cloud contact center platforms, grappled with hiring shortages, and grown accustomed to unpredictability. But all of these changes, combined with the personal impact of the pandemic on agents, has taken its toll. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, the pandemic has caused: 

  • 68% more escalations
  • 50% more difficult calls
  • 34% longer hold times

Customers, meanwhile, continue to have high expectations for even more personalized andfaster,service, but scaling service has been difficult. Many contact centers have turned to the benefits of AI to automate self-service and meet higher call volumes. And it’s been for good reason. 

AI solutions offer advantages that cannot be gained elsewhere, such as: 

  • Automated scalability
  • The ability to respond to every customer immediately
  • Elimination of hold times
  • The capacity to resolve the majority of tier-1 level issues without a human agent, freeing agents to focus on more complex, high-empathy calls
  • Faster, more accurate service resolutions
  • Integrations that deliver more personalized omnichannel experiences
  • Improved customer satisfaction through self-service or faster routing to appropriate human agents

From an operational cost standpoint, AI reduces OpEx costs while ensuring that contact centers can scale service to a virtually unlimited amount of customers — without adding human agents, hiring a BPO, or needing to invest in the costs and time of training new agents quickly. AI improves efficiency and streamlines processes and workflows. 

These improvements happen the moment AI is deployed and do not take months or years to achieve. 

If you’re going to deploy AI, go with conversational AI

There are numerous AI solutions available for contact centers today; however, conversational AI, offers some of the most promising gains — with the biggest benefits occuring in CX. Why? Because it’s the closest thing to experiencing a human interaction. 

Conversational AI uses natural language processing, machine learning, and big data to enable computers to converse in a human-like way. Instead of having humans conform to robotic-like ways of interacting with computers, conversational AI makes talking with machines feel far more natural. Callers can express themselves as if they were talking to a live agent and, through speech recognition, conversational AI is able to respond to multiple intents and changing contexts. 

Conversational AI helps contact centers solve today’s challenges by:

  • Providing a virtual agent that’s always available, eliminating hold times
  • Creating elastic capacity so you don’t have to hire and balloon costs when call volume changes
  • Meeting consumer expectations by providing what they value now: personal care, ease and convenience
  • Increasing agent engagement and happiness by removing the repetitive, transactional work that they do (which is also a selling point when hiring agents)
  • Providing a virtual agent that you just have to train once
  • Giving contact centers the ability to be proactive

All in all, conversational AI is one of the fastest, most effective AI solutions that eases the burden on agents and delivers high impact CX for customers.

Learn more about how contact centers are overcoming market challenges: From Understaffed to Overprepared: How Contact Centers are Bouncing Back

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