“By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” –GARTNER
Artificial Intelligence is one of the most popular buzzwords being used nowadays, across numerous industries. It refers to the ability to create smart digital systems which can learn and apply that learning to optimize existing business processes. Although still in the nascent stages, AI is all set to become the next big, disruptive trend for businesses of all sorts and sizes. Strictly in terms of science, the field of AI is described as the study of “Intelligent agents”. These “Intelligent agents” can be any electronic device which is capable of perceiving its current environment/situation, and take necessary actions to achieve its goals faster and in a more efficient manner. Another way to define AI is creating complex software, which are able to administer or implement human-less automation of any business process imaginable. The general conception of AI is something that can automate routine tasks, with the intent to eliminate or reduce human intervention and interaction. This is achieved by coding intelligent software, which is able to collect analytical data and then perform complex and dynamic analytics, which further allows it to make sound and predictable task related decisions, on a real-time basis. The graph above sourced from Infogram showcases the numerous way AI can help businesses, especially contact centers, improve their operations. In this article, we shall discuss how AI and its ongoing innovations are influencing the future of VoIP and UC.
The most understandable application of AI in contact centers is intelligent call routing. Previous contact center software could route calls based on the skills of the business rep, routing complex calls or calls from loyal customers to the most skilled reps. AI can help take this a step forward by determining the caller’s mood, personality, and other factors and then intelligently route the call to the business rep most suited that particular caller. In the future, AI can even help contact centers to instantly translate languages at both the caller’s and the business reps end in real-time.
AI assistants or customizable chatbots is a great example of AI, some of which can even manage certain schedules, set up meetings, and even automate certain business processes or tasks. This way, AI backed bots eliminates the need for business reps as well as the callers to repeat themselves over and over.
One of the most promising applications of AI is to identify patterns which can help businesses create predictive strategies, operations, and workflows. AI capable of complex pattern recognition have already been consumerized in the form of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo, etc. The possible business and industrial applications of such pattern recognizing AI is limitless, and has created quite a bit of hype within the corporate and industrial echelons. Here are a few more ways AI in influencing and changing the future of VoIP and UC solutions and services.
With the help of AI, businesses can communicate effectively with their stakeholders and employees from different geographical locations. Apart from that, the modern innovations in Speech recognition and AI, enables real-time translation of multiple languages, which further helps businesses with multiple operational locations to work collaboratively in a much more streamlined fashion.
IVR systems have been used for quite some time within the call center industry and is quite popular among businesses as well. They help businesses to greet their callers and guide themselves towards the right department or agent. With the help of AI, as soon as the calling customer guides themselves to the right agent or department, the associated agent or department receives all necessary information regarding the caller’s personal information, previous transactional/issue -related information, and much more, even before the call is connected to the live agent. This in turn allows business reps and agents to deliver exceptional and pro-active customer support, leading to better customer/caller experience.
With the help of the Cloud and AI, businesses can collate and analyze immense amounts of customer data, which is necessary to determine and explore patterns for AI based automation. Cloud hosted VoIP and UC services, working in tandem with third-party CRM systems, stores and maintains huge amounts of historical and accurate customer data which further helps in offline analysis and research. This helps businesses develop complex operational models for both offline and AI based tasks which was not possible with premises based systems. Some might even consider that the recent advancements and widespread popularity of AI is helping businesses engage or strategize to engage their customers in a more natural and streamlined manner. Basically, the proper implementation of AI with third-party business utilities and tools leads to the following mentioned business advantages, which were not possible a few years ago.
- Quicker and more precise customer engagement, along with swift issue resolution and interactions.
- Upgraded operational efficiency across all industries.
- Reduced capital and operational costs in terms of labor, telephony, etc.
- Greater scale of business automation of major and redundant tasks.
- Product and service innovations.
- Improved customer engagement, service, and experience.
In broader terms, businesses which implement or plan to implement AI backed VoIP and UC services or solutions can expect to create a loyal and happy customer base. Apart from that, they can also enjoy numerous business advantages along with reduced operational and capital costs. AI is undoubtedly one of the biggest technological trends of our time. The technology behind AI and machine learning have been continuously evolving, becoming more capable and complex, all in the hopes to deliver collaborative and efficient operational workflows, business process automation, and better customer engagement opportunities.
VoIP and UC service provider have also jumped on the AI bandwagon and responding to this disruptive technological trend by tweaking their services and products which complement and enhance collaborative business operations, data management and analysis, along with better user experiences for every stakeholder. Applying AI technologies such as, natural language processing, real-time and two-way translation, etc. to VoIP and UC channels can bring forth a whole new world of smarter business collaboration and communication models in the very near future.