AI in the Contact Center: Is it Good for Customer Satisfaction and Retention?
According to Gartner, by 2021, 15 percent of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400 percent from 2017*.
Is that a good thing?
Everyone agrees that improving the customer experience is a top priority, and that a better customer experience translates to higher satisfaction and retention. And, there’s no doubt that AI is transforming contact centers, making them more effective and efficient. However, not all AI capabilities are ready to deliver on the promise of higher customer retention.
Not Quite Ready to be Customer-Facing
Despite Gartner’s prediction, it’s not 2021 yet, and most AI capabilities that are customer-facing are not quite ready for the spotlight. We’re not at the point yet where an AI agent can have a live conversation with a customer, and even if we were, it might be inadvisable.
Here’s Where AI is Good for Customer Retention
People like to choose how they connect. Sometimes, they prefer to self-service through chatbots or online help, and sometimes they want to talk to a person. Giving them a choice is good for customer retention.
AI isn’t always customer-facing. In fact, some of the most useful aspects of AI happen behind the scenes, making agents more effective. Here are some examples of where AI is good for customer retention.
- Self-service. While chatbots are popping up everywhere (pun intended) they are most useful for handling transactional issues. When things get more complex, they have a tendency to churn out nonsensical information, and that can do more to hurt customer retention than help it.
- AI based call routing and optimization. You can streamline customer’s interactions by using AI to collect information, which the agent can use to resolve issues faster. As an added bonus, automated workflow and the ability to autofill forms reduces agent workload and increases agent retention. AI can route customers to agents based on deep knowledge of both customer and agent profiles. It can also put manager’s routing plans to the test and recommend improvements.
- Agent assistance. AI is very adept at guiding and prompting agents with actions and recommendations throughout the customer interaction. Through voice analysis, AI can spot stress indicators if a customer is becoming upset and, during the call, can provide recommendations to the agent in real time.
- Business insights. AI can transform previously untapped data in voice recordings for valuable business insights.
- Predictive analytics. by analyzing data sets to estimate peak call times, and they can go the extra step to predict what a customer’s call will be about.
- Quality control. AI is adept at scoring and rating agent engagements, giving managers the data to manage for continuous improvement.
The bottom line? Give your customers choice, and use AI to complement your contact center, rather than replace it.
*Gartner CRM Vendor Guide 2018
As CEO of Packet Fusion, Matt sets the tone and vision for our company and our customers. His 20+ years in telephony gives him a deep understanding of unified communications and collaboration technology. He is an engaging presenter and has a knack for breaking down the often over complicated VoIP technologies into plain and simple English. Outside of PFI, Matt’s happy place is on the golf course or on a bike ride with his daughters.