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Contact Centers Adding AI to Become More Intelligent, Responsive to Customers

ISG Provider Lens Reports See Contact Center Industry Moving from Resolving Queries to Providing End-To-End Customer Service Experiences

Contact centers have evolved from query resolution to full-featured customer experience centers by embracing artificial intelligence and speech analytics, according to two new reports published  by Information Services Group, a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The two ISG Provider Lens™ Contact Center/Customer Experience Services reports – one a quadrant analysis of global provider capabilities, the other a view based on buyer archetypes – find contact centers adopting AI to improve service and performance. Contact centers are using elements of machine learning and natural language processing to provide customer recommendations and enable constant system learning.

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Speech analytics and conversational AI have been major disrupters in the contact center space, the report said. AI systems are providing a holistic view of a customer history by pulling data from past contacts.

“Machine assistance is creating more value out of voice processes,” said Esteban Herrera, partner and global leader of ISG Research. “Virtual help is making contact centers more intelligent.”

Many enterprises using contact center vendors are also looking for more ways to enable customer self-service, the archetype report said. AI is helping enterprises move to intelligent self-service models, with knowledge management hubs that can predict patterns and pull out relevant information. In addition, many enterprises are looking for contact center support to help them deal with customer queries made through social media, the report said.

The reports also find the contact center industry moving rapidly toward non-voice business models, including intelligent bots. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots can send emails and chat-based decisions to customers. “Bots are moving toward becoming complex decision-making agents,” Herrera said.

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Service providers also are offering consulting expertise to enterprises looking to deploy their own bots, the quadrant report said. Some enterprises are interested in using AI-powered bots to continuously measure customer sentiment and course-correct, as needed.

The ISG Provider Lens Contact Center/Customer Experience Services Global Quadrant Report for 2019 evaluates the capabilities of 17 providers across the contact center/customer experience quadrant. The report names Alorica, Concentrix, Conduent, Sitel, Sutherland, Teleperformance and TeleTech as leaders in the quadrant.

Meanwhile, the ISG Provider Lens Contact Center/Customer Experience Services Archetype Report for 2019 examines four different types of clients, or archetypes, that are looking for contact center service providers. The report evaluates the capabilities of 17 contact center providers to deliver services to the four archetypes:

Customer service buyers: These are traditional customers focused on managed solutions. They don’t consider contact centers part of their core operations. They are taking a step-by-step approach during their digital transformation, including the adoption of non-voice services.

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Peak season buyers: They seek providers offering cost-effective services through an established work-at-home contact center model. They look for flexibility to increase or decrease the number of agents they use depending on varying business demands and seasonal peaks.

Automation seekers: These buyers are seeking to embark on a digital journey as a way to cope with changing preferences of customers, including technologically advanced millennials. They want to offer 24×7 connectivity across all touchpoints, and they want service providers that offer traditional contact center services but also have automation capabilities, including virtual agents.

Digital experts: They focus on domain-specific consulting strategies involving design thinking. They are looking for more than technology partners or vendors; they want to engage with providers that can help them in their transformational journeys, leveraging digital technologies to drive innovation and increase efficiency.

Among the providers ISG evaluated against these buyer types, Alorica, HGS, Sitel, Sutherland, Teleperformance and TTEC were named leaders in three archetypes. Concentrix, Conduent and Genpact were leaders in two, while Atento, Hexaware, Tech Mahindra and WNS were leaders in one.

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