Published: May 09, 2022 | Comments
Artificial intelligence (AI) is appearing in many new contact center solutions, and vendors are adding new AI capabilities at a rapid pace. In response, enterprises are racing to test and deploy these AI-based functions.
However, not all AI deployments will add significant value to contact centers. In fact, out of 10 AI-based contact center technologies, the second most deployed solution landed at the bottom of the value chart, according to recent Omdia research.
The work-from-home mandates at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic naturally led to a rise in digital interactions. Popular social media sites jumped in usage; video streaming applications such as TikTok, Twitch, and Zoom surged in popularity; and ecommerce activity soared, evidenced by Amazon’s more than 200% revenue spike during the pandemic. As people became more comfortable interacting digitally in a variety of different ways, a penchant for digital-first customer interactions flourished.
Organizations responded by increasing their omnichannel and AI investments. According to Omdia’s 2022 IT Enterprise Insights survey, this year, approximately 30% of organizations worldwide plan to make a strategic (or new) investment in AI, and nearly 38% plan to make a minor investment (or upgrade) in AI. This means that about 66% of organizations plan to increase their AI investments in 2022, making AI the leading technology investment in the Data and Analytics category of the survey, ahead of data privacy, security, and quality investments.
To find out where organizations are deploying AI in their contact centers, and which AI solutions are adding the most significant value, Omdia launched its 2022 Digital-First Customer Experience survey.
The results indicate that AI-powered social listening and ticketing implementations lead the way, with 58% of respondents stating they have already deployed this contact center technology. Nearly half (49%) have implemented AI-powered caller intent technology, and 42% have deployed text-based chatbots. AI-powered speech analytics and digital customer contact analytics (for quality monitoring, customer satisfaction, and training purposes) have been deployed by 46% and 45% of organizations, respectively.
Omdia also wanted to find out which AI-powered contact center technologies add significant value. In cases where these solutions have been deployed in centers, Omdia asked respondents to rate them with a “significant value,” “moderate value,” and “limited value” rating. For an AI-powered solution to provide significant value, machine learning must be embedded at the core of the business and used pervasively. To provide moderate value, a machine learning infrastructure must be set up and contributing to daily functions. Limited value indicates that organizations are experimenting in siloed instances.
Interestingly, organizations have had the most success with AI-powered social listening and ticketing solutions, with an overwhelming 88% of respondents stating the solution added significant value to their contact centers. With an AI-powered social listening and ticketing system, contact centers can automate, prioritize, and triage conversations across multiple social media channels in real time. These solutions can improve availability, accuracy, and response efficiency on social media sites. They also can lower support costs, increase customer satisfaction rates, and improve lead conversions.
More than two-thirds (71%) stated that AI-powered digital customer contact analytics added significant value to their centers. Digital customer contact analytics solutions enable organizations to capture, analyze, and share intelligence gleaned from digital customer interactions to improve quality monitoring, customer satisfaction, and training.
Intelligent call routing came in third, with 64% stating it added significant value. These solutions can personalize customer conversations and improve call outcomes based on caller and agent data. Connecting callers to the most appropriate agents can significantly reduce average handle times, improve first-call resolution rates, and increase customer satisfaction.
Speech analytics and intelligent knowledgebases followed with 63% and 60%, respectively. Chatbots, which were the third most deployed AI-powered solution, landed in sixth place on the value chart, with 55% stating the technology adds significant value.
Caller intent, which was the second most-deployed AI-powered contact center solution, according to survey respondents, landed at the bottom of the value chart, with only about 45% stating it adds significant value. While speech recognition technologies have come a long way, challenges remain, such as background noise, echoes, accents, and more. Patience is essential. Over time, these solutions learn from users’ speech patterns, so the more information a speech system has, the better it can recognize what users are saying.