It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the increased emphasis on the customer experience as a top business priority in recent years has coincided with increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace. Use cases range from cybersecurity and disease diagnosis to marketing personalization and predictive maintenance.

A prime use case for AI, and an area in which the customer experience is priority one, is the contact center. When it comes to AI in the contact center, most people think of chatbots. Chatbots do indeed use AI to interact with customers and provide the information they need. However, chatbots only scratch the surface of AI’s value to the contact center.

Think about what the customer expects from the contact center. According to a customer service study from Microsoft, 72 percent of respondents expect contact center agents to know who they are and what they’ve purchased and have insights into previous interactions.A whopping 90 percent expect a brand to offer self-service options, and 66 percent actively use at least three communication channels.

A separate study from NICE inContact found that 94 percent of respondents expect organizations to automatically direct them to the fastest contact channel. Almost all (91 percent) expect a seamless transition between channels, but just 24 percent of organizations rate themselves as excellent in doing so.As for those chatbots, 79 percent of respondents said chatbots have to get smarter before they’ll be used regularly.

If your contact center is going to live up to the lofty expectations of your customers, you need to use AI to augment the work being done by human agents. Instead of replacing agents, AI should be viewed as tool to support and enhance human interactions so issues can be resolved in less time with less effort. By identifying patterns in large volumes of data and leveraging advanced applications such as natural language processing, AI can be used to anticipate customer needs, provide relevant information, and route customers to the agent who is best qualified to solve their problem.

AI can also automate a wide range of tasks to improve contact center performance. In addition to relatively simple tasks such as call routing, AI can review chat transcripts, call recordings and data from multiple sources to identify agent responses, language and vocal qualities that trigger negative sentiment from the customer. For example, AI can tell you the precise moment when frustration sets in and it’s time for a chatbot to hand off to a human agent. The more data AI software consumes, the more it can automate, and the more effectively it will be able to understand the customer, assist the agent and support more productive interactions.

IPC’s customer experience consulting services can help you determine the best ways to leverage AI and enhance the customer experience in your contact center. What customer expectations are not being met? What tasks can be automated? What data and/or capabilities would help contact center agents do their jobs better? Let us help you integrate AI with your contact center solutions and processes to deliver the kind of experience your customers demand.