Contact Centers: The GenAI Shift

Contact Centers: The GenAI Shift

Over the past few years, contact center operations have witnessed technological innovations, largely due to the shift towards prioritizing customer experiences. Add to this, the developments around artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP) and advanced analytics, and the the future of these contact centers could result in a tectonic shift. 

These technologies could potentially reduce human intervention in the actual customer experience process, freeing up time for better quality touchpoint interactions with customers that are more personalized and context-aware. Use cases being experimented around GenAI in contact centers could also result in easing operations, better analytics and real-time delivery. 

Conversations around omni channel interactions have already bubbled up but there are several other opportunities that these technology innovations can bring about in reshaping the contact center experiences. Changing customer expectations in a digitally connected world could also speed up the generation of new ideas and their implementation. Let’s look at a few trends: 

Proliferation of AI and analytics

AI-powered chatbots have proliferated to handle customer queries and data from such conversations have been parsed via algorithms to predict their future requirements. All of this is resulting in personalized customer interactions with the result that a Gartner report predicts 80% of all customer support will be using some form of GenAI by 2025. 

Juxtaposed with the findings of another report that finds nearly 40% of leaders pitching better customer experience as a panacea for customer retention and therefore a top priority, it is no surprise that the world is moving towards creating more and more use cases around large language models (LLMs), the basis for GenAI magic. 

And if you thought customers themselves may feel miffed at talking to a chatbot, you’d be mistaken as a study by UnitedCallCenters suggested that 58% of customers sought the use of AI to enhance customer service, 78% also believed that at some point live support would become more reliance than AI. So, one can safely say that AI is here to stay. 

Customer experience in the spotlight

As mentioned earlier, when leaders set CX as a primary objective, organizations would do all they can to ensure the right outcomes. And AI has already started making an impact. However, in spite of its all-pervading capabilities, business leaders are convinced that AI would not replace human agents, but could actually create a greater need for them. 

Now, if this appears to defy logic, think again. As suggested with other AI-led initiatives, the tasks that it automates would be low-end ones which leaves the agents with time to augment their abilities and create more demand for a set of people who can engage at a deeper level with the customers, often acting as consultants who aren’t parroting scripted answers. 

Over the coming months, it wouldn’t be surprising if we see the CX as a key differentiator narrative speeding up and resulting in customer-led conversational platforms being created in-house or through the integration route. While such efforts would require reskilling and upskilling of human resources, it will reduce metrics like average handle times. 

The omnichannel story gets going

A Gartner press statement revealed three technologies likely to transform customer experience in 2023, of which one was omnichannel communication that shifts the needle towards digital customer service. This shift is already creating seamless, efficient and responsive customer experiences across multiple digital channels. 

With customers expecting quick and efficient responses, brands are working towards enhancing it through the integration of contact centers to their omnichannel strategies. This, they feel, will ensure consistent and effective interactions with customers who may call, post on social media, use email, or be part of a live chat. 

Besides meeting the enhanced customer expectations for quick service delivery, these efforts will also provide a seamless experience for the customer by integrating conversational AI and self-service options. All of this would reduce friction and customer effort that eventually leads to a transformative impact on customer experience and a big win for early adopters. 

And then, there’s the security implication

The thrust of GenAI on the customer experience business also means that contact centers can collect vast amounts of sensitive data, sift through it on a real-time basis and create actionable insights without fear of exposing information in the public domain. Advanced security protocols and sharper compliance is already getting built into the data protection systems. 

When GenAI made its appearance a year ago, business leaders felt AI could expose their company to security risks. However, given that contact centers are here to stay and cohabitate with GenAI, enterprises have ramped up their efforts to bolster data security and privacy via enhanced encryption methods and more sophisticated algorithms. 

Moving in the right direction

Overall, one can say that GenAI and contact centers would continue to provide better and more customized customer experience to an industry that’s seeking newer and more innovative ways to find customers and then retain them. In fact, market experts also believe that adoption of AI could significantly upskill humans involved in contact center operations too.

Given that automation could take away several repetitive tasks that were also stressful, the future could see contact centers placing additional emphasis on people development and career advancement opportunities.  Imagine an employee answering basic questions of a customer is suddenly capable of handling complex queries and acts as a consultant to them. 

All in all, the future remains bright for contact centers and the introduction of AI doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction of human presence.

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