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The Evolving Role of the Contact Center Employee in the Age of AI

8 - 13 Minutes read

Written by

Arthur Nowak

Co-Founder and CEO, iCXeed

Published on

May 30, 2023

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“Many experts in AI agree that artificial intelligence will contribute to an improved and more efficient society” –Abby Hackbarth (Highschool.latimes) 

Artificial intelligence (AI) in contact centers has revolutionized how businesses handle customer interactions. With the help of AI-powered chatbots, virtual assistants, and other tools, contact centers can handle a higher volume of inquiries and support requests while delivering a more personalized and responsive experience to customers. This technology has become increasingly discussed with the rise of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools.  

Further, these tools are used to require technical programming expertise to implement. Presently, these platforms operate on low-code, no-code interfaces making them accessible to non-technical personnel for implementation, maintenance, and support. This means there is considerable synergy in leveraging the human talent in contact centers to optimize AI experiences with customers. After all, they are trained for delivering optimal service experiences and that training can be translated to AI decision-making, logic, and process.

This creates a rewarding role for the contact center employee. They broaden their skill sets as well as remove tedious tasks and functions from their workload so they can focus on personalizing customer interactions. This focus can help employees deliver more empathy and efficiency in resolving more complex customer interactions.  

However, there are also challenges to consider. AI systems are not perfect and require oversight and ongoing support. Despite these challenges, the use of AI in contact centers is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The role of the contact center employee must evolve accordingly to protect against potential pitfalls. 

Enhancing efficiency in contact centers with AI-powered automation 

AI-powered automation can enhance efficiency in contact centers in several ways. First, AI can automate routine and repetitive tasks such as data entry, call routing, and basic customer inquiries. This can free up staff to focus on more complex customer inquiries that require human attention, resulting in more efficient use of resources.

In addition, AI-powered automation can provide immediate responses to customers, reducing wait times and improving response times. AI chatbots and virtual assistants can quickly resolve common customer inquiries and provide accurate and relevant responses, improving the overall speed and efficiency of the contact center. 

“Technology is an essential part of human progress. Whether it be sticks, stones or smart phones, tech has allowed us to excel in our environments.” –LiveTilesGlobal 

Personalizing customer interactions with AI 

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants have transformed the way businesses interact with their customers, providing a more personalized experience. These tools use natural language processing to understand customer needs and preferences, allowing them to provide tailored solutions and recommendations. 

Personalization is essential in customer service, and AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants help businesses to achieve this at scale. These tools can analyze large amounts of customer data, including purchase history, browsing behavior, and demographics, to personalize interactions with each customer. Personalized interactions create a more emotional connection with the brand, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.

Furthermore, when AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants handle repetitive and routine tasks, such as answering frequently asked questions, this frees up human agents to focus on more complex customer inquiries and resolve those inquiries more personalized and empathetically.

Delivering a better quality of service with AI 

Delivering a better quality of service with AI is a strategic differentiator for contact centers. Alongside traditional contact center technologies and customer facing AI solutions, the adoption of agent-assist can deliver more efficient and higher quality human interactions. Agent-assist technology empowers agents with real-time information, guidance, and support during customer interactions. By leveraging real-time natural language processing (NLP), agent-assist tools intelligently analyze conversations, detect relevant keywords and phrases to provide agents with context-specific notifications, talking points, and insights. One example of this would be AI presenting relevant knowledge base articles to assist the agent in resolving the customer’s query.  This automates agent workloads, offers knowledge guidance, and keeps team members focused on the customer instead of trying to find the information in an extensive database. This not only optimizes the agent experience, but streamlines conversations and ensures a more efficient and optimal customer experience.   As organizations recognize the vital role of contact centers in delivering exceptional customer experiences, the integration of AI-powered agent-assist technology is a significant capability required to achieve this objective.

Overcoming challenges in implementing AI in contact centers: accuracy, trust, and ethics

While AI can bring many benefits to contact centers, there are also challenges to consider when implementing this technology. Accuracy, trust, and ethics are some of the key challenges that businesses must address. 

Accuracy is crucial in contact centers because incorrect information or solutions can lead to customer frustration and dissatisfaction. AI systems may not always provide accurate responses, especially if they are not properly trained or lack access to the necessary data. Businesses must invest in training and testing AI systems to ensure that they are providing accurate and helpful information to customers. It is the view of iCXeed that the best personnel to monitor and train these systems are the human employees supporting live customer interactions today in the contact center.

Trust is another challenge when it comes to implementing AI in contact centers. Customers may be hesitant to interact with chatbots or virtual assistants, especially if they have had negative experiences in the past. It is important for businesses to communicate clearly about the use of AI and provide options for customers who prefer to interact with human agents. AI should be seen as being additive to the overall customer experience and not a barrier to overcome to reach human support. This balance will require ongoing adjustment as customer preferences and needs evolve over time.

Ethical considerations are also important when implementing AI in contact centers. For example, businesses must ensure that they are not using AI to discriminate against certain groups of customers or to violate privacy laws. Algorithms need to be backtested for unintentional coded bias that may be impacting one group in a disparate manner. Further, businesses must also be transparent about how customer data is being used and protected and processes developed for disputing decisions that may have been made incorrectly guided by these algorithms.

o overcome these challenges, businesses can leverage contact center employees to provide human oversight and support of AI interactions. They are trained to provide the necessary support in these customer interactions, and so they are the best candidate to ensure AI interactions are as seamless as human ones. Customer transparency is key and human engagement and oversight is necessary. In this manner, the role of the contact center employee is evolving to support this complexity.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in contact centers has revolutionized the way businesses handle customer interactions. With the help of AI-powered chatbots, virtual assistants, and automation, contact centers can handle a higher volume of inquiries and support requests while providing a more personalized and responsive experience to customers. The use of AI in contact centers has numerous benefits, including reduced wait times, improved response times, and enhanced efficiency. However, there are also challenges to consider, such as accuracy, trust, and ethics. To overcome these challenges, businesses must leverage the human talent that supports customers to provide oversight, support, and maintenance of AI systems. Customer needs and preferences will continue to evolve and change, and this will require ongoing adjustment and response by teams responsible for monitoring AI interactions with customers. One thing is clear: the use of AI in contact centers is expected to continue to grow and the role of the contact center employee will evolve.

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Arthur Nowak

Co-Founder and CEO, iCXeed

Arthur has worked over 25 years in the customer engagement industry, partnering with Fortune 1000 brands across a diverse set of industry verticals. He started his career as a contact center associate. Through hard work, an eagerness to learn, and a sense of adventure, he grew his leadership and professional skills to include global management of large-scale teams. He has worked with leading brands to optimize processes and technologies that enable the most optimal customer brand interactions. An innovative thought leader, Arthur is most passionate about leveraging front-line employee expertise to deliver transformative, frictionless customer journeys.