Contact Center AI: How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming Customer Service

March 27, 2023
AI in contact center

The rise of contact center AI and automation is rapidly transforming call centers and the digital customer experience.

Thanks to these emerging contact center technologies, businesses can maximize productivity, streamline operations, and engage more consumers than ever before.

It’s why 91% of call center leaders have made automation a critical priority for 2023.

With AI taking the marketplace by storm and shaping the future of digital customer service, it’s important that brands are ready to embrace these innovative solutions - or they may get left behind.

That being said, you might be wondering if AI-powered automation really lives up to the hype - and whether it’s the best fit for your contact center.

Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide to help you answer that very question. We’ll cover:

  • What is contact center AI?
  • The benefits of implementing contact center AI and automation
  • Examples of contact center AI in action
  • Getting started with AI solutions for your contact center
artificial intelligence services meet human customer support

What is contact center AI?

Contact center AI refers to the application of artificial intelligence technologies (e.g. interactive voice response) within a call center.

In this context, AI is implemented to boost operational efficiency, improve contact center performance, and optimize customer support.

It achieves this by assisting contact center agents and automating a number of tasks that would usually be carried out by humans, such as:

  • Helping customers with FAQs, troubleshooting, and order tracking
  • Guiding customers through the purchasing process
  • Booking appointments and making reservations
  • Routing customer service requests to the most appropriate team/human agent
  • Collecting customer data and feedback

By automating these processes and providing real-time assistance, contact center AI enables human agents to perform better and focus on more high-value tasks.

It also enables consumers to engage in self-service while giving contact centers the tools to deliver higher-quality support.

This contributes to increased customer satisfaction and an improved contact center experience.

AI robot working in contact center

What are the benefits of AI in call centers?

The addition of AI technologies can significantly benefit businesses and their customers in a number of ways.

In this section, we’ll explore the key benefits of contact center AI in turn.

24/7 customer support

Unlike a human agent, contact center AI doesn’t require sleep or time off.

AI-powered systems can provide immediate assistance around the clock, ensuring that customer queries are always addressed promptly – even outside of your operating hours.

This is significant because 90% of consumers consider an immediate response to be of high importance when they have a customer service question.

It’s also particularly beneficial for businesses that operate in multiple time zones or have customers based in different geographic regions.

By offering 24/7 AI customer support, you’ll prove that you care about your customers which is essential for cultivating customer delight and building brand loyalty.

You’ll also decrease the chance of cart abandonment as customers will always have somewhere to turn when they need their questions answered.

customers around a clock

Maximum operational efficiency

It’s no secret that AI can be leveraged to boost contact center efficiency and agent productivity.

In fact, AI technologies are projected to increase business productivity by up to 40% in the coming years.

On top of that, 60% of call center agents report that AI helps them save time.

Customer service AI boosts agent efficiency by automating repetitive tasks and reducing workloads.

As a result, human agents are left free to prioritize high-value customers and the more complex calls or issues that require human expertise.

AI tools can also assist agents during customer conversations, providing them with real-time insights and recommendations based on the customer's needs. 

This empowers agents to increase their productivity while forging stronger customer relationships.

By maximizing efficiency and agent productivity with AI, businesses can reduce average handling time, decrease wait times, and provide an improved customer experience overall.

AI brain

AI-powered analytics

One of the great things about AI is that it can collect and analyze large volumes of data in real time.

This information offers valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. It can also be a valuable resource when it comes to optimizing contact center operations.

AI-powered analytics in a contact center can be used for various purposes, including:

  • Customer profiling: By analyzing customer data and interaction data, AI-powered analytics can help contact centers create detailed customer profiles. This information can be used to personalize customer interactions and boost customer satisfaction.
  • Performance monitoring: AI-powered analytics can be used to track a range of performance metrics, such as average response time and first contact resolution rate. Call centers can use this information to identify areas for improvement and reduce churn.
  • Predictive analytics: AI-powered analytics can be used to predict customer behavior and preferences based on historical data. This can help call centers anticipate customer needs and provide proactive support.

By harnessing the power of AI analytics, businesses can better understand their customers, elevate the quality of service, and quickly identify any issues that may arise.

intelligent AI analytics graphic

Cost-effective solution

Contact center AI is a cost-effective solution for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it can reduce the number of human agents required for your contact center to operate. In fact, it’s been predicted that conversational AI will reduce agent labor costs by $80 billion in 2026.

Secondly, AI can significantly decrease the average handling time for customer inquiries, allowing agents to handle more customer interactions in less time.

And finally, the automation of frequent tasks allows contact centers to handle a large volume of customer inquiries without increasing the size of their workforce.

Thanks to AI technologies, businesses can reduce costs by revamping how their call centers and agents operate.

AI chatbot cost-efficiency

Improved customer experience

As contact center AI facilitates improved performance and efficiency, it makes sense that it also powers a better customer service experience.

Thanks to these technologies, customers can have access to instant support and digital self-service.

And with the help of AI assistance, human agents can anticipate customer needs, communicate more effectively, and solve problems faster.

In this way, the use of AI in call centers can actually enhance the customer experience by giving customers more options and empowering agents to provide exceptional service.

However, it’s important to note that, as valuable as AI can be for contact centers, it should never be considered a complete replacement for agents.

Rather, AI should be viewed as a tool to augment the human experience - not take it away.

conversational AI chatbot helping customers

Examples of artificial intelligence in contact centers

Now that we’ve explored the key benefits of AI for call centers, let’s take a look at these technologies in action.

Here, we’ll cover five applications of contact center AI and how each one can be used to supercharge customer service operations.

1. AI-powered chatbots

AI chatbots are one of the most prevalent applications of contact center AI.

These advanced virtual agents are powered by various AI technologies, like:

Customer service chatbots be deployed on your website, app, and social media channels to handle large volumes of customer interactions without intervention.

In fact, it’s estimated that chatbots resolve customer issues around 69% of the time.

As well as providing automated customer support, these systems can also integrate with your knowledge base and become brand-trained virtual assistants.

They can even route customer service requests to the most appropriate agent/department by gathering the initial details of the customer’s query before escalating.

This not only saves time for your agents but also guarantees that your customers receive the best service for their specific situation - without having to repeat themselves to multiple representatives.

It’s easy to see why around 76% of contact centers already leverage some form of chatbot technology.

With an AI-powered bot handling routine tasks and common questions, your agents will be left with more time to dedicate to the customers who need them most. 

2. Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is an application of contact center AI that can be used to identify and monitor customer emotions/attitudes.

It works by using natural language processing and machine learning to determine the underlying sentiment of customer messages - whether that be positive, negative, or neutral.

Understanding sentiment is critical because it provides a measure of both customer satisfaction and agent performance.

By analyzing customer sentiment, contact centers can better understand customer needs and preferences, as well as identify any potential issues that need to be addressed.

The following are some key ways that sentiment analysis can be utilized by call centers:

  • Live chat monitoring: Sentiment analysis technology can be used to monitor customer interactions in real-time. This helps businesses to flag any issues or concerns before they escalate and take appropriate action.
  • Chatbot monitoring: Alongside live chat, Talkative’s enhanced sentiment analysis can also analyze chatbot interactions. With this feature, you can get the exact data on whether your chatbot is helping customers or causing frustration on the user end - allowing you to step in when it matters most.
  • Agent performance: With Talkative, you can use sentiment analysis to monitor the sentiment of agent chat messages as well as customer sentiment. That way, you can ensure that your agents are always communicating appropriately and providing excellent live chat customer service.
  • Customer Feedback: Sentiment analysis can be used to analyze customer feedback and reviews. As a result, businesses can easily identify areas for improvement and address customer complaints proactively.

Sentiment analysis is clearly an invaluable tool, helping businesses to understand customer perceptions, improve the customer experience, and make informed decisions about their customer service goals.

customer sentiment emojis

3. Real-time translation

Real-time translation technology enables contact centers to communicate with customers in their native tongue.

It works by using machine learning and natural language processing to detect languages and translate messages in real time.

This enables your agents to communicate effectively and efficiently with customers, whatever language they speak - creating a seamless experience for all your overseas clients.

Real-time translation is particularly useful for call centers that operate in multiple countries or regions with diverse populations.

By providing real-time translation services, businesses can reach a wider audience and provide support to customers around the globe.

Moreover, real-time translation can help businesses to provide a more personalized and empathetic experience to customers. When customers can communicate in their mother tongue, they're more likely to feel heard and valued.

It’s why Talkative’s live chat comes with automatic translation into over a hundred languages as standard.

Ultimately, real-time translation is an essential AI tool, enabling businesses to engage a wider audience, improve accessibility, and eliminate language barriers.

multilingual real-time translation technology

4. AI assist tools

AI assist tools are emerging technologies that can help your contact center teams provide exceptional service and next-level customer experiences.

They achieve this by equipping your agents with real-time assistance, suggestions, and guidance during customer interactions.

With the Talkative platform, you can leverage the following AI assist technologies:

  1. AI Knowledge Bases: AI Knowledge bases transform the way agents answer customer queries during live chat conversations. They work by allowing you to create AI knowledge bases by importing web page URLs from your company site and file-based content. Once setup, the AI uses your knowledge base dataset and the interaction context to generate relevant response suggestions for each customer message. Agents can choose to instantly send the suggestion back to the customer or edit it themselves before sending it.
  2. AI Agent Copilot: The above AI Knowledge Base responses are one component of our AI Agent Copilot suite. Powered by OpenAI's GPT models and your knowledge base datasets, Agent Copilot is a set of AI tools designed to improve response speed and quality. In addition to response suggestions, this feature also provides 'Navi', an internal-facing chatbot that acts as a personal AI assistant for agents. Lastly, Agent Copilot offers an AI Autocomplete capability that can predict and complete agent messages,decreasing typing time and facilitating faster replies.
  3. AI Agent Rephrases: AI Rephrases work by offering improved or revised versions of agent messages during live chat interactions. This means that, instead of having your agents manually edit and proofread each live chat message themselves before sending it, generative AI does all the work for them. Agents can even choose a preferred tone/style (better spelling/grammar, longer, shorter, friendlier, or more professional) for the rephrases.

Both of these features are valuable tools for any contact center looking to boost human agent performance and improve customer communications.

By arming your contact center agents with AI-powered assistance, you’ll empower them to perform to their best ability with supercharged productivity and efficiency.

5. AI-generated transcripts

Thanks to the power of AI and natural language processing, contact centers can convert audio recordings of customer conversations into written transcripts.

With Talkative, for example, you can opt to have every video chat automatically transcribed into a highly accurate, text-based format. This technology allows brands to revisit any video call with greater ease, convenience, and clarity.

It also means you can gain a detailed insight into every interaction and its context - without having to watch or listen to a recording.

AI-generated transcripts are a valuable resource for training/onboarding, monitoring performance, and ensuring compliance.

They can even be a great tool for analytics, allowing agents to search for specific words/phrases and identify trends in customer behaviors.

agent video call with customer

6. AI Interaction Summaries

Although transcripts are an invaluable resource of information, there will be times when you just want to capture the gist or essence of a case.

AI can also help in this regard by creating concise summaries of customer interactions. 

It works by analyzing an entire transcript and then condensing the key points, issues, and resolutions, into a few sentences.

Interaction summaries are invaluable for follow-up, training/monitoring, documentation, and knowledge sharing within your business.

With the Talkative platform, this capability is powered by our OpenAI integration - allowing automatic summaries of every chat, voice, and video interaction.

By utilizing AI-generated interaction summaries, your contact center teams will be able to understand the content and outcome of every customer conversation at a glance.

This will not only save time for your agents and supervisors but will also help maximize efficiency.

AI interaction summaries

The takeaway: Getting started with AI solutions for contact centers

It’s clear that artificial intelligence is here to stay - and it’s going to play a pivotal role in the future of businesses and call centers.

From customer service to sales, these technologies are crucial for brands looking to supercharge efficiency, reduce costs, and optimise the CX.

With the tools covered in this article, you’ll have a solid foundation to get started with AI as part of your customer service strategy.

But in order to truly get the most out of contact center AI, you also need the right customer engagement software to facilitate it.

That’s where Talkative comes in.

In addition to AI solutions, our platform provides a suite of customer contact channels and capabilities - including live chat, video chat, web calling, messaging, and more.

We also facilitate seamless integrations with leading contact center and CRM systems, including Salesforce and Mitel.

With our solution, you and your human agents will be empowered to deliver a superior, AI-enhanced customer experience at every digital touchpoint.

Want to learn more?

Book a demo with us today and check out our interactive product tour.

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