Posted by Kathy Sobus on Jan 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM
In the first part of this blog series, we explored the reasons why many companies are slow to adopt artificial intelligence. We also discussed how the contact center can be a natural place to consider an augmented intelligence/augmented experience deployment, which can serve as a precursor to artificial intelligence or stand on its own. In this post, we will look at AI in action to discover how it can help transform enterprises.
AI in Action
Take a moment and think about a voice-enabled device on a conference room table at your company that is connected to your intranet. AI can provide valuable assistance in a collaborative work setting. As an example, if someone on a sales team wants to know the number of sales last year in a certain region, an Alexa-like device could quickly provide the answer. Today, the conversation usually goes something like, “I’ll take that as an action item and get back to the group.” Thus, the conversation is paused, as it’s difficult to proceed without good information.
Clearly, AI will have a major impact on the workplace in accelerating business processes and improving productivity. However, humans are not in danger of being displaced. We are noticing a collaboration that is taking place where employees are training bots or AI to do the rudimentary, mundane tasks.
The notable drawback of AI tools is the lack of human characteristics like creativity, empathy, and situational awareness that are crucial for problem solving, particularly when customers are involved. Employees (especially contact center agents) of the future will spend more time helping customers with difficult situations that require critical-thinking skills.
Deploying Augmented Intelligence Tools
While it may take decades for us to unleash AI's full potential, augmented intelligence tools are "ready for prime time" in the contact center space. These tools can provide agents with real-time information in a consistent manner that allows outcomes to be predicted with a high degree of comfort. AI bots are available day and night, weekends, and holidays and will provide dependable responses. Bots don’t “judge” – you can ask the bot the same question over and over without fear of retribution. They can also be used for training purposes, supporting new agents, accelerating the onboarding process, or in cross-training current agents.
Today, bots can assist customers until they are ready to make a decision or need to speak with an agent. They can be personalized, depending on the information you have on the customer, or other data that is available to the bot. Even partially assisting helps the customer and the company succeed. The information on the transaction the customer has with the bot should also pass through to an agent, so customers are not repeating themselves and agents are informed of the intent.
At the same time, deploying bots or AI allows agents to spend time on tasks that bring value to the organization, such as showing their respect for a customer's time or concern and assistance for a confused or unhappy customer, especially in situations that require critical thinking and decision-making. Augmented intelligence tools also provide context for that human-to-human interaction. An agent might say, "I see that you have tried A, B, and C already. How can I help you with your problem?"
By honing in on how AI and bots can help enable people (consumers, agents, and other employees), augmented intelligence tools can bring great value to the contact center and move an enterprise forward on the path toward digital transformation.
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