According to a live survey, when contact center professionals were asked about their organisation's planned investments for 2021, 80% of respondents indicated that they were looking to increase their video-assistance capability to support customers remotely, not surprising in a post Covid word. However perhaps more interestingly, 63% also stated that they wanted to incorporate artificial intelligence into their platforms in 2021.
These findings therefore lead to a number of questions....
Is AI essential to providing quality customer service?
Is AI really necessary? Are there any other steps to consider before taking the step of artificial intelligence? Any companies wishing to adopt new technologies must ensure that they are able to sustainably transform their organization as part of the digital transformation. The process involves adopting new working methods and processes which can be very disruptive to a team.
A project such as incorporating AI generally has a goal end benefit of increasing the productivity of teams. So as not to put "the cart before the horse", it is essential, before rushing into this type of technology, to check that you aren't taking advantage of the tools you are already equipped with in service of main objective.
How can organisation's integrate business tools and artificial intelligence?
The answer to this question is complex. Most organisation's have enterprise software that require weeks of development to incorporate the smallest change, let alone AI.
In some cases, especially in the public sector, organizations are equipped with on-premise tools and are not able to migrate their systems to the cloud today making it that much harder to integrate with new tools and systems.
Those that have gone through the process can share many nightmare stories of obstacles encountered along the way. APIs have been added, custom workarounds have been developed. Despite this, the end result is not typically what was initially expected before embarking on the project.
A digital transformation such as this is very disruptive to business, therefore a true cost- benefit analysis is always recommended before undertaking such a feat.
Can I save time with a CRM integration instead?
There's no need for artificial intelligence for most recurring tasks that initially sets you on the journey to explore AI. Coupling your call center software with your CRM allows you to capture data intelligently, building levels of automation and learnings in a not un-similar way to to AI knowledge systems, building automation and efficiency along the way. The key thing here is Data, effectively using it creates a cycle of excellent customer experience for you and your customers. You can read more about this here.
Do I need anything else?
Before adding or even taking away anything to your current call center operations, it's advisable to audit your internal operations first. Review which tools you're already using, which you would like to invest in and which will add the most value to you and your customers in the short, medium and long term. As mentioned above, most organisation's are looking to invest in video-conferencing capability throughout 2021. If you are using a scalable and flexible cloud solution such as Diabolocom, these investments should be quick, non-disruptive and relatively inexpensive. You can read a great case study here, about how Air Liquide used video to improve their customer service remotely.
For things like AI, I would be questioning if I could optimise what I already have first, whether or not my platform is cloud based so that it can scale with my organisation, and looking for CRM integration as a priority to start utilising the data more effectively.