Customer Service

What You Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence in Call Centers

May 4, 2022

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time for your contact center to make the jump to artificial intelligence, look no further. We’ve got you covered with the top features to look out for.

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Collin CoueySenior Content Writer
What You Need to Know About Artificial Intelligence in Call Centers

The purpose of AI is to automate simple tasks, provide in-depth analysis, and help contact center agents achieve a faster response time. Additionally, AI call center solutions can lead to better first-call resolution, increased customer satisfaction, and happier agents (thus, reducing churn).

If you’re a contact center manager in charge of implementing call center software solutions, you should consider upgrading or replacing your current contact center platforms with those that have AI capabilities. In fact, Gartner found that improvements in conversational AI will drive 10% of call centers to replace their current systems by 2026 (full content available to Gartner clients).

We’ll take you through three of the most important contact center AI software solutions available today that can take your contact center to the next level.

Interactive voice response (IVR) takes care of small queries to free up agents’ time

If you’ve called customer service in the past few years, you’re already familiar with IVR software. It’s the software feature which automatically interacts with callers using conversational AI before routing them to the right agent or department based on what the customer’s query is about.

IVR systems ask typical questions like what language a customer speaks, their name, their account numbers, and answer simple questions about their issue.

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IVR intelligence programming example (Source)

While not the most beloved by customers, IVR systems have gotten significantly more advanced over the recent years and are incredibly useful to contact centers because of the sheer number of queries an IVR system can answer on its own.

In fact, Humana found that of their over 1 million provider calls they receive every month, more than 60% of those calls were related to routine questions with well-defined answers.

Once an IVR system recognizes the customer is calling for a routine answer, it can either route the call to an available agent with the right expertise, or, in some cases, answer the question for the customer which frees up your agents to field less routine questions. If the question requires the attention of an agent, they will have context that was gathered by the IVR system to make the customer interaction quick and easy.

Before you implement

It’s important to understand your audience and why they’re calling your contact center before implementing an IVR system. If you’re a bill collection company, most of your calls will probably be related to account balances. If you’re a retailer, maybe callers are looking for your hours or shipping information. Once you know this, you can program your IVR with answers to these common questions.

Emotional intelligence AI measures a customer’s mood to give advice to agents

Emotional intelligence AI tracks customer sentiment during calls to determine the customer’s mood and provide direct and immediate feedback to your agent. The artificial intelligence is trained in different languages and cultural contexts so that it can be used for a variety of cultures and countries.

If they raise their voice, or if there is a long pause in the conversation, the emotional intelligence AI might recognize that the customer is frustrated or confused. It can also detect how often an agent interrupts a customer which can lead to a negative experience. Once the AI detects frustration, it will give live feedback via a popup message to the agent with advice about how to handle the switch in mood.

The feedback might include advice to pep up their tone or respond to distress in the customer’s voice.

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OTO's emotion-detecting AI software (Source)

One of the benefits of this type of AI in the call center is that it’s intelligence grows the more you use it because of machine learning. The more calls this type of AI is used on, the smarter and better it gets at determining the mood of customers.

Before you implement

This type of technology is still in the earlier stages of advancement, so it’s important to determine if your contact center is even a good fit. Ask yourself how often you have heated conversations with customers. If the answer is low, normal emotional intelligence training for your contact center agents might be enough without spending the extra for this feature.

Use predictive call routing to match call center customers to specific contact center agents

Predictive call routing matches contact center customers to specific customer service agents who are best equipped to handle the query. The agent chosen can be based on personality models, expertise, or any combination of them, and it will select the best available agent who is free.

The great thing about predictive call routing is that it can personalize the customer experience based on customer behavior profiles. The AI takes into account your business’ customer journey and customer personas to determine best fits.

Need more convincing? Consider that a European bank used AI to pair customers with specific agents based on customer data information and saw an 11% increase in call success.

When your customers are paired with the best agent to address their question, they will have an exceptional customer experience, and your agent will be able to more quickly and efficiently answer their question which leads to ensuring more tickets are closed.

The AI works by identifying metrics for each call center agent to determine strengths and weaknesses like average ticket time, disposition, or how knowledgeable they are about certain issues. Then, call tracking software uses multiple data criteria like caller personality, call history, and location to create the most detailed picture of that customer as possible.

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An example of predictive call routing (Source)

IVR pre-screening or integration to a customer relationship management (CRM) system can also be a factor in making a customer profile.

Before you implement

You’ll want to make sure your company has a comprehensive list of metrics to feed the AI to make complete personas so that the routing will be accurate. If you don’t have customer personas yet, that’s a better place to start than jumping straight to the AI technology. You’ll also need to determine metrics for your agents like personality characteristics, average ticket time, and expertise to filter callers to the right agent.

Explore more about artificial intelligence in call centers before you commit

AI in call centers isn’t going anywhere and is poised to become a must-have for both large and small contact centers. If you want to achieve faster response times, improve customer experience, increase customer satisfaction, and ensure your agents are happy, you need to consider contact center AI solutions.

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About the author

Collin Couey

Senior Content Writer
Hey there, I’m Collin Couey. I bring insights about CRM, customer experience, medical software, and more. I studied at Texas State University, where I received my MA in English writing and rhetoric. Home base: Austin, TX; 3 things about me: I played laser tag professionally, I’ve failed to learn the bass 5 separate times, and I have a gluten allergy; 1 tech trend you should keep an eye on: Customer experience as a discipline is something every business should focus on.
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