The Future is Here: How Conversational AI Transforms Contact Centres

The 2023 State of Conversational AI in the Contact Center report by 8×8 reveals a strong belief among IT and contact centre leaders in the transformative potential of conversational AI.

Key findings indicate that 80% of respondents consider these capabilities essential for the future, with 41% suggesting that businesses failing to adopt such technology risk falling behind.

The report also highlights a strong trend towards contact centre automation, with 99% of organisations planning to increase spending in this area. Despite this, trust in generative AI remains a concern, indicating further development and understanding is needed.

  • 80% of contact center and IT leaders believe conversational AI is crucial for the future, with 41% saying companies will fall behind if they don’t adopt it.
  • 99% of organizations plan to invest more in contact center automation, with 52% already using conversational AI and reporting benefits such as faster issue resolution and reduced costs.
  • Organisations are using conversational AI to improve customer service, streamline workflows, and increase customer satisfaction, rather than to reduce employee headcount.

The Future of Contact Centres: A Glance at Conversational AI

As we delve into the world of contact centre automation, it’s clear that the future is here, and it speaks in the language of artificial intelligence (AI). According to the 2023 State of Conversational AI in the Contact Center report, an overwhelming number of contact centre and IT leaders believe conversational AI is the next big thing. A staggering 80% of them believe these capabilities will be essential in the near future, with 41% agreeing that companies failing to adopt these technologies will lag behind.

Investing in Automation

Surprisingly, nearly all organizations (99%) plan to increase their spending on contact centre operations over the next year. Much of this investment will be channelled towards automation. The need for automation is felt more acutely in the United States, where 27% of respondents consider it of utmost importance, as compared to their counterparts in the UK (8%) and Canada (16%).

Conversational AI: A Game Changer

Conversational AI is expected to revolutionise business communications, increase company profitability, and lower company risks. The stakes are high, with 87% of respondents believing that conversational AI/chatbots enhance productivity.

Automation Improves Customer Experience (CX)

AI and automation are seen as solutions to key challenges such as increasing support volume, staffing challenges, and the need for cost efficiency. Already, 52% of organisations have invested in conversational AI for the contact centre.

The benefits are evident. Among those using these capabilities, 92% report faster resolution of customer issues, 87% note reduced effort for agents, and 53% have seen a decrease in contact centre operations cost.

Human Touch Complemented, Not Replaced

The goal is not to reduce headcount, but to improve customer service capabilities (62%), streamline internal workflows (42%), improve customer satisfaction (36%), and reduce customer wait times. Merely 6% of adopters use AI as a means to reduce employee and agent headcount.

Trust Issues with Generative AI

Although nearly a third of organisations are currently using generative AI in the contact centre, trust issues persist. While 64% of respondents trust generative AI to answer customer questions, only 24% trust it to directly engage with customers, and 23% trust it to guide their contact centre agents.

‚ÄúAt 8×8, we understand how the contact centre industry can shift and change‚ÄĒespecially as new technologies are introduced, tested, and standardised‚ÄĒand we are proud to always be at the forefront of that changing technology landscape,‚ÄĚ said Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8×8, Inc.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the findings from this report underscore the importance of AI and automation in shaping the future of contact centres. While adoption rates are high, trust issues with generative AI highlight the need for a balanced approach that combines technology with the irreplaceable human touch.

As we move forward, it will be crucial for organisations to closely monitor the impact of AI adoption on their operations and customer service. The future of contact centres is undoubtedly exciting. The question remains: are we ready to embrace it?

FAQ

Q: What are the key findings from the 8×8 State of Conversational AI in the Contact Center report?
A: The key findings include that 80% of contact center and IT leaders believe conversational AI is the future of the contact center, 41% agree that companies will fall behind if they don’t adopt these capabilities, and 99% of organizations plan to invest more in contact center operations, with a focus on automation.

Q: How do contact center leaders view conversational AI and chatbots?
A: 87% of respondents believe that conversational AI/chatbots increase productivity, 76% think they revolutionize business communications, and 72% believe they will increase company profitability and revenue while lowering risks.

Q: How does automation improve customer experience in contact centers?
A: Automation helps address challenges such as increasing support volume, staffing challenges, and cost efficiency. 52% of organisations have already invested in conversational AI, with 92% reporting faster customer issue resolution, 87% reducing effort for agents, and 53% lowering the overall cost of contact center operations.

Q: How are organisations using conversational AI in the contact center?
A: Organisations are using conversational AI to improve customer service capabilities (62%), streamline internal workflows (42%), enhance customer satisfaction (36%), and reduce customer wait times. Only 6% are using it to reduce employee and agent headcount.

Q: What are the findings regarding trust in generative AI?
A: While almost one third of organisations are currently using generative AI in the contact center, trust in the technology is still a challenge. Only 24% fully trust generative AI to directly engage with customers and 23% trust it to guide contact center agents.

Q: What does the Metrigy report say about AI investment in customer engagement?
A: The Metrigy report shows that 51% of CX leaders consider AI investment in customer engagement a high priority. Companies successfully using AI in customer engagement experience increased revenue by 38% and agent efficiency by 36%, improved customer ratings by 46%, and decreased operational costs by 6%.

Q: How did 8×8 conduct the survey for the report?
A: 8×8 surveyed more than 300 business leaders in Contact Center, Customer Support, Customer Experience, Customer Care, Customer Success, IT, IT Help Desk, IT/Vendor Procurement, and Operations. The survey was administered in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada between May and June 2023, through Hanover Research.

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