Before current contact center technology was widely available, there were very few effective ways for contact center management to increase metrics such as call times, customer satisfaction rates and increased revenue. Gathering information was often done by managers as they listened in personally to as many phone interactions as they had time for. Following the time spent listening, managers then spent time reviewing any notes they had taken, trying desperately to find problems, indicators and patterns that might show them where improvement could be made. Contact center agents focused on working to resolve customer issues and answer questions with occasional suggestions from team leaders or managers about how they might be able to improve.
The Fears about AI
Today, technology has managed to surpass what fiction writers could only dream of years ago as artificial intelligence now exists in four basic types. These include:
- Reactive – Given a situation, this type of machine has the ability only to react.
- Limited Memory
- Theory of Mind
The world has been exposed for years to stories about artificial intelligence and robots taking over the world. These science fiction stories have managed to leave most people with a healthy dose of fear when it comes to artificial intelligence. The main difference between fictitious AI and AI systems that are in use today is called “sentience” or “self-awareness”. It may have been simple for a script writer to write about a system that is aware and is suddenly able to take over and get rid of humans. However, in reality, AI systems are not self-aware. They are machines that can gather, calculate and compile unbelievable amounts of information for human benefit. Some may complain that humans no longer have to think and calculate as they once did. Others worry that basic math and computation skills are at risk of extinction due to the unique abilities of artificial intelligence. No matter what the fears are about AI, it is here to stay and benefits the general population in ways that we hardly ever think about.
Benefits of AI
Most, if not all, fears about AI are completely unfounded. Even better, there are many benefits to AI systems, and the number keeps growing. AI is used in the background of many businesses so that work is completed more easily and with fewer mistakes. The large percentage of people who use computers as a vital part of their jobs benefit from AI as it makes tasks such as banking, accounting and bill paying much easier. This means employees can then dedicate their efforts to other ways of helping their company succeed.
AI has also helped to improve worldwide communications making it possible for many companies to do business across the globe. This new and improved style of communications also enables the almost instant transmission of news across the globe which is a great benefit to individuals, communities and countries as well.
In essence, old fears about AI seem to be slowing as many realize just how many parts of their daily lives are improved by the massive data analysis going on in almost every public and private space today.
Hybrid AI – The Best of Both Worlds
So, what happens when humans stop being afraid of artificial intelligence and begin to look at ways it can be beneficial? When both begin to work together, the result is called Hybrid Intelligence. The result is that both AI and HI can take time to the things they do best. This complementary relationship typically means that machines work in the background gathering, compiling and making vast amounts of data understandable. Humans are then able to take the information and make necessary changes accordingly.
One example of a successful hybrid intelligence situation is in the contact center. Though machines do not have the emotional intelligence needed to interact on a competent basis with customers, they can gather data from each and every call that comes through the contact center. Some of the information that is gathered might include:
- What questions customers are really asking
- What causes higher levels of frustration in customers
- What phrases tend to put customers at ease
- The call script with the highest customer satisfaction outcome rates
- Pinpointing specific words that may mean a customer is getting upset
Once contact center managers receive actionable data from the AI system, they have the ability to make sound decisions that benefit contact center agents, management and customers alike. Such a partnership can help many types of businesses reach their full potential. In a call center, the fact that AI is able to convert every conversation into measurable, actionable insights only benefits the human side of the equation. When AI helps a call center to identify successful agent behaviors, reduce operating costs, lower customer effort and heighten the customer experience, a business can grow in ways that may not have been possible before.