AI For Contact Centers – The Path to A Smarter Future

Article written by Bob Furniss, Vice President of our Global Service Cloud Practice

Customer service and support have seen a lot of changes over the past 20 years––the advent of digital self-service, the customer’s ownership of the brand via social media, and new ways to communicate on multiple digital omnichannel paths. And now we are experiencing a new phenomenon that experts say will radically change the way we work, especially in the contact center. AI is no longer the future – it is now time to engage and understand.

While chatbots are the most common version of AI being discussed, the real value is in supporting the agent with their daily tasks. Yes, we can improve the customer experience through self-service options. But, if we can offer the right answer to an agent as soon as they need it – and if we can help them prioritize their work – we can help them do their job better and improve their experience.
At Bluewolf, we see four key elements of AI bringing change and improvement to the contact center and the digital channels that are now a part of our daily life as leaders and designers of the customer experience.

  1. Understanding - Integrating and assimilating external market data (social, personality, or segmentation) for directed selling or offer personalization. Helping the agent know the customer better.
  2. Interact - Chatbots, virtual assistants, or conversational apps that deflect inbound customer requests or automate process driven, repetitive tasks. Helping the agent communicate more effectively across digital channels.
  3. Answer - Unlock deep knowledge discovery, assisting employees in quickly and accurately recommending answers to complex customer requests. Provide the right answers to the agent – not links or documents – based on client preference, buying habits and history.
  4. Guide - Predictive and machine learning models to instruct next best action with the customer. Help the agent follow the best steps to resolution – and offer next best action 

As I speak at conferences and client sessions about AI, many organizations admit that they are not yet ready for a full AI transformation. But there are opportunities to begin the journey - starting with the implementation of an internal bot or beginning the process to prepare Knowledge for AI. Both good ways to engage and prepare. Salesforce Service Cloud powered by Einstein offers a great opportunity to add internal service bots without a lot of investment or time, and IBM’s Discovery for Salesforce can open a new horizon on knowledge both within Salesforce and across other applications, like Sharepoint and Box. 

And before your organization can begin, it must first identify the desired business outcomes. In what way do you want AI to impact performance? Is the focus on the agent or the employee or both? Is your knowledge data ready for AI?

To learn more about how to prepare your organization for AI, get your copy of our AI Readiness Guide for Contact Centers.

Bluewolf, an IBM Company, is a global consulting agency and proven Salesforce strategic partner that builds digital solutions designed to create results. Now.

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