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The Evolution of the Use of AI in Call Centers

Posted on Jul 27, 2022 12:52:56 PM by Alex Hawker

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Modern problems require modern solutions, and that is where AI comes in. The goal of a call center is to improve customer satisfaction but often operators are inundated with calls or aren’t equipped to handle difficult customers. With AI systems in place, calls can be handled effectively and efficiently. 

How AI (Artificial Intelligence) Is Used in Call Centers

Predictive Call Routing

Predictive call routing is when AI matches call center customers with customer service agents who are best suited to aid them. For example, based on their personality type or expertise. The technology uses customer behavior profiles by analyzing natural pre-dispositions and habits of communication to give AI technology an in-depth understanding of the customer journey and personas, allowing for hyper-personalized customer service. 

 To use this type of AI, companies must map skill metrics such as agents' personalities, average call times, and expertise on particular issues. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR is a type of AI that most of us have interacted with when we needed customer service. You answer recorded questions such as your language, name, account number, etc.  

IVR works well for companies with many calls about routine, specific, pre-service questions, such as eligibility or bank statement information. Customers can complete their initial inquiry in less than two minutes, and don't have to wait to speak with a live agent. 

Conversational AI

Conversational AI refers to when a call center will offer an online chat option powered by artificial intelligence. The use of ‘Intents’ is a key AI technology which defines a customer's intent from free form text or voice. Chatbots are the most popular touchpoint used for customer service and have become one of the productive ways to engage with website content. Customers can access self-service support options by talking to a digital assistant giving customers the ability to problem solve on-demand in real time. 


Emotional Intelligence AI 

 Another form of artificial intelligence in call centers is emotional intelligence, which can track customer sentiment during a phone call.   

For example, when a customer is frustrated, their voice might raise, or there might be a long pause in the conversation. This type of AI is created in diverse cultural and language contexts to be used in countries with diverse linguistic and cultural styles.  

It can analyze the tone of voice and cadence of language to try to detect the caller's mood. For example, it can measure how often the call center agent interrupts a caller and the tone of voice of both the customer and the support rep. It then provides live feedback (via on-screen messages) to the agent to supply insight into how the customer feels during the call. 

AI-Powered Recommendations

Like emotional intelligence, other AI tools provide recommendations to service agents during calls. This technology also uses intent and sentiment analysis to understand what customers are trying to achieve. This reduces call time and provides a personalized and positive customer experience. 

Call Analytics

One of the main ways AI is used in call centers is to provide a detailed analysis of talk time, the ability to resolve a customer issue at the first opportunity, and other call related data. In addition, this technology allows access to customer data that helps identify trends and determine whether a customer has a negative or positive experience and sentiment.  AI measures a customer's mood, tone, and personality to provide a more detailed analysis than a human operator would.

Can AI replace call center agents? 

The simple answers are "no" and "yes." In a sense, artificial intelligence can handle repetitive and simple calls by automating some or all the calls from customers. This helps agents to have more time to handle the more demanding calls.  

This can reduce the call volume of live agents and affect the number of agents needed in the call center. However, there are always complex issues that AI cannot handle. The purpose of using AI in call centers is not to replace the human element but rather to improve the customer experience and reduce human agents' time and energy on simple inquiries that can be handled much faster and more efficiently by digital assistants. This allows them to be more productive and have engaging, personally satisfying conversations that ultimately lead to higher customer satisfaction. 

And of course, if your call center is not offering 24/7 service today, then a digital assistant is a perfect way for a service provider to extend to a full day, 365 days per year service environment, and that really drives customer engagement success.