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How businesses can prepare their contact centre for a bot/AI environment

By Sara Barker
Fri 15 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the rapid adoption of new trends and tools in the contact centre industry. As we enter what many call the fourth industrial revolution, one technology that has gained momentum globally is artificial intelligence.

Bots are programmes powered by artificial intelligence. They are becoming a new reality that is impacting the way businesses approach customer service. Customer expectations are setting the bar high for businesses to improve the service they provide, and many are now capitalising on the potential of bots to deliver instant value to their clients.

But, how do you go about successfully using bots and AI? Make sure you’re prepared before implementation, says Sandra Galer, Director of Service Desk Practice at Merchants.

“The first step toward ensuring your agents can provide a positive customer experience is to map the process that the agent, and then subsequently the tech, would need to follow. From here, the solution needs to concentrate on where the tech can provide the answers directly, as opposed to where the bot/AI can assist the agent,” she explains.

A good bot isn’t hastily formulated; you need to show extreme care and concern for details during the design process. What business problem are you trying to solve with the bot? Will it carry out simple, repetitive volume tasks such as providing PUK numbers, upgrades, or account balances?

Do you want to assist your agents completing forms online, verifying bank account details, etc? Or, do you want it to perform engaging humanlike interaction such as answering customer support questions? By defining the level of intelligence of your bot, you can strengthen your customer service with the right features and functionalities.

Though a range of industries are already adapting to the AI revolution, many enterprises find that their existing infrastructure is incompatible with bots, a flaw that can eventually impede digital transformation. Businesses tend to struggle with the ability of AI to handle massive data sets and high-speed algorithms.

Indeed, in the 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, it is pointed out that a quarter of businesses revealed that their technology systems are failing to meet their current needs.

If you consider implementing AI-based technologies in the future, a good way to successfully integrate is to update older systems with modern, cloud-based infrastructures that will easily adapt to AI – whether in-house or through business process outsourcing, the latter being more cost effective.

In order for your business to successfully harness the power of AI technology, you also need to develop or acquire new skills. This means hiring customer service agents who not only know how to use AI devices but are also skilled in sensing where, how and when to step in to provide input during the customer journey.

You won’t be able to effectively get your software and technology ready for AI integration if the right human resources are not a significant part of the solution. With AI still in its infancy, these skills may be hard to come by, however, you can take advantage of outsourcing services that enable you to tap into a source of AI specialists.

While your business might already have access to various technological innovations and advancements to stay ahead of competition, you might not be prepared to utilise artificial intelligence and chatbots efficiently. With these strategies, you can formulate your own action plan that propels the execution of your digital investment.

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