AI, Chatbots and Automation to Change Contact Centre Over Next 12 Months

Artificial intelligence, chatbots and automation are the trends that will experience the greatest growth in customer experience over the next 12 months, according to the latest research from Aspect Software.

The research – which set out to discover the technology trends currently disrupting customer journeys – surveyed contact centre managers and discovered that 89 per cent of those polled believe artificial intelligence will experience the greatest growth in adoption in customer engagement over the next 12 months. This was closely followed by chatbots and automation with 76 per cent and 55 per cent respectively stating that these technologies would experience the greatest growth in the next year. In contrast to this, only 5 per cent stated they believe remote / home agents would experience great growth and only 11 per cent stated that they expect social media to experience great growth.

Stephen Ball, Senior VP Europe and Africa at Aspect, commented: “The modern customer is demanding ever-increasing ways to interact with brands and companies so it’s encouraging to see that contact centre managers are realising this and implementing technologies that enable them to adapt accordingly. Those investing in these strategies are effectively investing in their customers by ensuring they have access to a range of different communications channels to suit their individual needs.

“However, while it’s great to see the uptake in advanced technologies, it’s important that organisations do not ignore other significant channels of communication such as social media and mobile apps. Crucially, organisations should understand their customer base and provide a range of communications channels that cater to these customers, including self-service options wherever possible.”

Looking specifically at chatbots, 37 per cent stated that they currently use an automated chatbot and a further 55 per cent stated that they don’t currently use chatbots but are planning on implementing them in their contact centre in the next 12 months.

The research also found that:

•92 per cent believe that natural language processing is an important element of the customer experience in automated self-service
•Chatbots are most commonly deployed for websites, with all respondents stating that they either already do or are planning to deploy a chatbot on their website. Following this is Facebook Messenger (46 per cent) and Twitter DM (17 per cent). Only 9 per cent currently deploy or are planning to deploy chatbots on WhatsApp and only 3 per cent on SMS/iMessage
•Desktop web chat is the most frequently deployed communication channel in the cloud, with 71 per cent stating this. This is followed closely by voice and mobile web chat, with 66 per cent stating this for both categories
•74 per cent are planning on integrating new cloud-based solutions in their contact centre within the next 12 months
•Only 16 per cent state that less than 40 per cent of the contact centre will be based in the cloud and only 13 per cent state that more than 70 per cent will be in the cloud

Ball added, “Integrating advanced technologies in the contact centre is vital for maintaining competitive advantage and for maintaining customer relationships. It’s great to see the level of implementation due to take place over the next year, but organisations must ensure they deploy these technologies with the customer in mind, while also re-organising the workforce to ensure their potential is maximised.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine