Navigating the Future: How Generative AI Is Empowering Not Replacing contact centre Agents
Robert Mansfield, CTO at Content Guru discusses
Over 80% of CX executives are investing in AI-enabled agents. While some may fear that AI systems are on the brink of replacing human agents, a paradigm shift from agents to AI-enabled agents is not about replacement, but rather, augmentation. AI in the contact centre isn’t set to remove the human element, but instead, help them to focus on it.
As with other forms of AI, such as self-driving cars which so far have amounted to little more than advancements in intelligent cruise control, generative AI is equipping agents with tools that enhance their skills and play an important role before, during, and after interactions with customers. Voice interactions remain a popular channel of choice amongst customers, despite the growth of many different kinds of channels, including social and digital, and are an area that will be heavily influenced by the integration of generative AI to support more established AI and automation tools already in use.
Generative AI is a powerful tool, and by integrating it alongside other technologies, such as other AI and automation functions, businesses can expect to see valuable outcomes. To realise the benefit of how generative AI can support voice interactions, organisations need to focus on how it can play a role at every stage.
Getting on the Front Foot
AI-enabled interactions begin to add value as soon as an interaction is initiated by a customer, even before they are connected to an agent. Instead of spending time listening to repetitive, poor-quality hold music, AI-powered interactive voice responses (IVRs) can capture customer data such as intent, demographic information and geographic location to guide the customer to the most appropriate available agent.
The captured information can be used on its own or can be integrated into a customer data platform (CDP) to identify previous interactions and present the agent with information curated by generative AI to reduce average handling time (AHT), as the customer’s details are already located.
The Power of Real-Time Customer Insights
During the call, natural language processing (NLP) ‘listens’ to the interaction and provides a transcription of the call to the AI through its speech-to-text capabilities. This, in turn, generates knowledge articles to provide information on screen with suggested answers and useful sources that can help with the customer’s query in real time, reducing the need for agents to take time searching for the same information.
The generative AI outputs presented to the agent can draw reference from multiple pre-approved data sources from the organisation, which helps to expand the agent’s knowledge while simultaneously reducing the time needed to train new agents. Automatic article sourcing and summarisation can further reduce the AHT as it eliminates the need for agents to look up information related to a customer’s query.
Agents can spend up to 60% of their time in the post-interaction wrap-up, performing tasks such as updating databases and creating a summary of the interaction. Generative AI can assist agents in this stage by transcribing, word-for-word, the entire call interaction using NLP. It can then use the transcription to create a summary of the call, create post-interaction reports automatically, analyse the sentiment and intent of the interaction and even populate complaint forms and CDPs with relevant information. This saves the agent time as they only have to check the information is correct, and can compare the AI-generated data to the generated transcript as a source.
If generative AI could remove a third of the post-call processing time for each agent, this would amount to the equivalent of a 50% increase in headcount, without any added budget constraints or the need to train new staff. The extra time would also be used where it matters: serving the public and building trust in human interactions.
Enhanced Operational Efficiency & Better CX
Although AI, and specifically generative AI, is in its infancy, its impact will transform several industries. Within the CX space, leaders are already looking at how it can benefit their customers, agents and organisation. Ultimately, as we’ve explored, it will be implemented across all stages of interactions and improve efficiencies. As a result, both customer and agent experiences will improve as AI takes care of typically admin-heavy tasks, that are vital to organisations that need to audit and monitor calls. As we move into 2024, a responsible approach to generative AI will reap lucrative benefits and will be a top priority for all CX teams
Robert Mansfield is CTO at Content Guru
Content Guru helps organisations achieve outstanding customer experience.Its cloud-based solution, storm®, ensures that customers’ requests and issues are quickly and accurately resolved – simply put, engagement made easy. storm is used by over 1000 enterprise-scale public and private organizations in over 50 countries, and is trusted by leading global brands, such as AXA, Interflora and Rakuten Communications, for mission-critical communications.
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