The development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the past decade offers the opportunity to change contact centres forever. By shifting workloads to increase productivity, lower stress, and make workers feel motivated again, AI is set to revolutionise agent experience.
However, with the introduction of AI-based Natural Language Processing (NLP), the human voice is automatically interpreted, sparking fears of lost jobs and direct replacements for human agents. Customer opinion also varies greatly surrounding preference for AI or human agents, fluctuating wildly depending on industry, demographic, and query type. When considering AI as a valuable addition to the customer service industry, appropriate placement of the technology must be considered, so that consumers and workers alike stay happy.
With an average of over 3 minutes spent waiting before a call to customer services is answered, customers naturally feel anxious that every second on hold is time wasted. NLP can, however, work with human agents in a mutually beneficial partnership to help guide the agent in their customer care. While waiting in the queue to talk to an agent, NLP can be utilised to communicate with customers, asking simple questions and prompting the customer to provide relevant information to ensure rapid resolution of their query. Time in queues will no longer be wasted, as the NLP will transcribe customer answers and provide all information to the agent upon connection. Particularly beneficial in industries with high levels of time sensitivity such as healthcare, utilising these potentially crucial seconds means that the customer will be able to receive personalised care instantly upon connecting to a human agent, with minimal questioning.
The reduction in lookup times will increase efficiency for both agents and customers. Agents using more than one communications platform could spend around 40% of their time looking through various systems, frustrating the customer and lowering productivity of the agent. With NLP collecting crucial information whilst customers are on hold, agents are able to give direct advice, process calls faster and, in the case of healthcare, prevent emergencies and save lives. Symptoms can be noted and then provided accurately to the agent, facilitating a more rapid diagnosis.
The introduction of Natural Language Processing into contact centres enables companies to alter the way that customers spend their time. In-call agent guidance permits personalised care in a capacity where customers sometimes feel left behind, and in a society where rapid information is the ideal, AI technology can ultimately keep customers happy.