6 Killer Applications for Artificial Intelligence in the Customer Engagement Contact Center
In this article, we discuss six killer applications and associated use-cases for AI that have already enabled blue-chip companies to transform—not just improve—customer service and engagement. AI is enabling companies to:
1. Understand Natural Language and Answer Customer Questions
♦ Trick question: Who understands natural language, answers questions, gives website tours, pushes relevant web pages, and engages customers, while working 24x7x365?
♦ Answer: A virtual assistant (VA)
Also called virtual customer assistants, chatbots, avatars, virtual agents, or concierges, VAs help businesses offer distinctive self-service, cut costs, and build brand equity. The best VAs are also multilingual and communicate in multiple modes—text-to-text, text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and speech-to-speech. Importantly, they know what they don’t know. When unable to answer the customer’s question, they escalate to human-assisted customer service with full context from the self-service interaction.
For the VA to be able to do this without integration work, it needs to be an integral part of an omnichannel customer engagement hub which consolidates interactions, knowledge, AI, analytics, and administration into one platform.
2. Guide Search and Service Interactions
While VAs are good at answering questions of low-to-medium complexity, AI reasoning technologies can handle questions of higher complexity. AI reasoning applies learnings from past cases to find solutions for new ones. It can guide users to the next best steps by asking the right questions. This conversational, dialog-driven guidance is based on intelligent understanding of the problems faced by customers as well as customer service expertise drawn from the best agents.
Watch out for pretenders like rigid scripting and rule-based systems—they tend to put agents and customers in conversation cul-de-sacs and dead ends, especially when the customer goes off-script. Moreover, such legacy systems are difficult and expensive to maintain.
3. Decide as Output or as Part of Service Process
In an executive survey by Grove Critical Thinking, 70% of survey respondents agreed that “bad decisions cost my organization time and money.” Decision-making for customer engagement is no different.
Again, unlike rule-based systems that start breaking down as decisions become more complex, AI reasoning helps make decisions with a flexible approach, working with incomplete or ambiguous information and by comparing similar decision-making scenarios from the past. The output could be the final decision or be one of the decisions in a larger customer engagement and contact center management process.
4. Comply With Regulations
Enforcing compliance amidst ever-changing industry regulations makes customer engagement challenging, particularly in highly-regulated industries. AI can add immense value here by guiding agents through the compliance maze.
A banking client serves wholesale clients in multiple countries with a single eGain-powered AI system that incorporates both the global parent’s best practices and local regulations.
5. Leverage Everywhere
The next generation of omnichannel, digital touchpoints like mobile, social, and IoT coexist with traditional ones like the call center, field service, kiosks, branch offices, and retail stores. Digitally savvy businesses leverage AI to deliver consistent and touchpoint-tailored service on any channel or any device.
Companies and Suppliers Mentioned