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Top 4 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2021

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Customers may have tolerated subpar customer experiences due to COVID impacts last year, but times have changed. They are expecting easier, better, and faster CX in 2021.

The most successful brands will blend Artificial Intelligence (AI) with human intelligence to deliver the hyper-personalized effortless experiences today’s customers crave. Although there are many ways to synergize machines and humans in the call center, CX experts agree these four are primed to deliver the greatest outcomes in 2021.

ONE: Supercharge associates with RPA

Leading contact centers will use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to manage and simplify associates’ mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks like identifying customers in the system, updating outdated information, and re-routing calls.

Many organizations will also use RPA to keep customers connected to systems of record via chatbots and voice assistants, so customers can act autonomously with internal systems to access bits of pertinent information quickly. For example, customers can track packages, check recent account activity, and update personal details seamlessly, in real time, without human intervention.

RPA in action: Use RPA and intelligent automation to tackle high-volume, repetitive tasks in the background, so associates can focus their attention on providing better customer experience in real time.

TWO: Train employees with AI-powered “customers”

Smart contact center leaders will use AI to train associates faster, in more engaging ways, and at half the price. Many companies will utilize advanced simulated training bots to play the “customer role” in on-demand, real-world scenarios. These revolutionary bots can react to the accuracy, confidence, word choice, tone and sentiment, and behaviors of the learner – making it possible for associates to accelerate through training at their own speed.

Additionally, the AI captures interactions and makes results ready for trainees and supervisors after each simulated interaction, providing a real-time feedback loop to prompt immediate behavioral changes.

Activate next-gen learning: Use training bots to achieve operational and quality KPIs faster, while reducing nesting periods and boosting customer satisfaction.

THREE: Empower associates with AI-driven advice

Today’s most influential brands are using ‘behind the scenes’ bots in their contact centers to give AI-assisted suggestions to their human teammates, in real time. And these new ‘bot-human dream teams’ are revolutionizing the entire customer experience!

These next-gen contact center bots can monitor conversations (text and voice) between associates and customers, and parse through structured and unstructured data sources for the best answers – faster and better than any human ever could. So, customers get the exact information they want, right when they want it – without ever knowing there’s a bot in the background assisting with answers.

Assemble the dream team: Use ‘bots in the background’ to suggest next best actions and responses – in the moment – to improve average handle time (AHT) and first contact resolution (FCR).

FOUR: Cultivate empathetic customer-facing chatbots

Today’s digital-first consumers have little patience for bots that can’t understand what they’re saying or don’t know how to provide an accurate answer. So progressive contact center leaders will spend extra time training and testing AI internally before letting it interact with actual customers this year.

Providing an environment for back-and-forth training between bots and associates ensures AI is optimized before it’s customer facing. Many companies plan to encourage (and even incentivize) associates to act as customers and play with bots using both common customer inquiries and complex questions. Doing this allows customers to receive accurate answers faster in the channel they initiated contact with the brand.

Deliver chatbot booster: Use associates to refine and improve customer-facing chatbots to automatically shift the burden away from customers, so they can receive the best experience possible.

Intelligent automation in the contact center is here to stay

As AI, automation, chatbots, and virtual assistants became even more embedded into our daily lives in 2020, it’s foolish for brands to assume these technologies will stay stagnant in 2021. Innovation in technology moves at lightning speed and can become outdated and clunky very quickly. Use these four ways to tie technology and the human touch together to deliver a better customer experience than either can do alone – everywhere, every time.