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Contact Center AI Trends for 2024

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Contact centers are undergoing a massive transformation. Due to Covid-19, call centers took a hit, as call volume increased and the amount of customer service agents decreased. Incoming calls rose by nearly 300% during the first few months of the pandemic, resulting in a rise of hold times and escalations. For reference, escalations are when calls are sent to human agents or other support representatives.

With about 90% of contact centers migrating to remote and hybrid workplace models since the beginning of the pandemic, companies are investing in new contact center technologies that allow them to provide high quality and personalized customer service experiences.

In response to this changing landscape, many companies turn to contact center artificial intelligence (AI) to power customer service operations. Below are six contact center AI trends that transform customer service and experience.

Contact center AI use case guide. Read the conversational AI playbook

#1: AI for Contact Centers Alleviates Staffing Shortages

Labor shortages were yet another side effect of the pandemic, and many industries have found it difficult to manage high call volumes with low volumes of agents. Many businesses are turning to AI to account for gaps within their workforces.

According to Harris Poll, in 2020, 55% of companies accelerated their AI adoption plans, and 67% of those companies had further acceleration on their radar. It is predicted in Cognizant’s latest quarterly Jobs of the Future Index that the U.S. jobs market will recover strongly this year, especially businesses that incorporate quality, contemporary technology into their business functions. It was shown in the Index that jobs that incorporated AI and automation saw a 28% gain over the previous quarter.

“AI is already beginning to help fill skills shortages of the existing workforce through career transition support tools,” Rob Jekielek, managing director with Harris Poll stated. “AI is also helping employees do their existing and evolving jobs better and faster using digital assistants and in-house AI-driven training programs.”

#2: AI for Contact Centers Meets Nuances of Human Conversation

When customers interact with contact center AI tech, it's important that the solutions are competent, intelligent, and intuitive because those nuances inform the perceived quality of service. Therefore, utilizing AI solutions that are perceptive to caller intent, language, and sentiment is vital.

Today, not only do AI applications accurately understand what callers are saying, but also how they are saying it and the context of the inquiry. Mosaicx's use of natural language processing, machine learning, and reinforcement learning helps AI agents learn and improve over time. This improvement over time allows businesses to deploy customer service agents that can understand the nuances of human conversation and deliver a seamless experience.

Contact center AI achieves nuances of human conversation because it can pick-up on tone of voice, inflection, etc., to detect mood and modify behavior accordingly. Understanding nuances and serving customers on a case-by-case basis improves overall experience and satisfaction.

#3: Contact Center AI Expands Self-Service CX

One reason contact centers might embrace AI is to enable self-service, which can decrease wait times and offer 24/7 access to support. Self-service is a feature that customers want. For example, 73% of customers prefer to solve issues on their own. Companies that implement self-service capabilities can deliver on these customer demands and improve customer experience (CX).

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Self-service delivers customer support more quickly and efficiently since customers don’t have to wait for a human agent. Traditional tools for self-service include chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) systems. But trends in contact center AI have led to the development of a new tool: intelligent virtual agents (IVA).

Like chatbots and IVR, an IVA accepts text or voice messages to allow customers to receive immediate help. Unlike these two predecessors, IVA adds a layer of AI, allowing it to understand nearly anything the user says. So instead of listening and responding to menu items, a user can freely state their issue in their own words.

This freedom greatly improves customers' use of self-service options. The movement to self-service also allows businesses increased service capacity and improves existing employee workloads. As customers experience simple self-service, they will expect it from every organization.

#4: 24/7 Customer Service is the Expectation 

Contact center AI that allows for self-service means that help is available to customers during every hour of the day. AI does not need to sleep or take breaks, so they are incredibly beneficial for companies to utilize in handling basic inquiries.

These 24/7 capabilities allow companies to strategically staff shifts for 24/7 service, taking a majority of the weight off of individuals expected to be on-call throughout all hours of the night. Utilizing AI for 24 hour contact service assists companies in allowing less irregular work hours for employees, yet allowing customers to still receive help whenever they need.

Contact center AI technology’s 365 days a year, seven days a week, and 24 hours a day availability is another offering of convenience and satisfaction for customers, adding to the value AI provides for contact centers.

This 24/7 service may increase the number of customer interactions, but well-designed AI can handle the volume in stride.

#5: Contact Center AI Pricing is Cost-Effective

Like any new technology investment, businesses might be wary of contact center AI pricing. However, research shows that investing in quality AI for contact centers will save businesses money and increase the quality of service provided over time. Contact center AI also helps generate revenue by allowing for allocation of employee hours to go toward other key business functions.

By 2030, 45% of total economic gains will be thanks to product enhancements, such as AI integration, that will stimulate consumer demand.

Mosaicx, for instance, is a transactional technology, so you pay only for productive time, and there are no overhead fees. The technology also follows a build once, deploy everywhere model that allows business to scale contact center support as demands change. Additionally, companies gain valuable insights into customer data through AI-enabled contact center solutions that can inform customer engagement strategies and related investments into these areas.

#6: Contact Center AI Technology is a Competitive Advantage

The majority of customers (66%) expect businesses to understand their needs. Therefore, a businesses' ability to provide personalized service increases customer satisfaction and retention. With the quality of today’s contact center AI, its 24-hour self-service options, and customers desiring to solve issues at any time and on their own, the utilization of AI is a star addition to the contact center team.

AI for contact centers are intuitive and accurate, and help businesses deliver experiences that meet customers' demands. Contact center AI technology also helps mitigate CX stressors, such as long hold times and repetitive questions. Businesses that utilize AI for contact centers experience greater year-over-year revenue and increased customer profit margins. This increased revenue is achieved through the adoption of innovative AI technologies, which allows businesses to get a step ahead both financially and against competitors.

As contact center AI technology continues to grow in use and become the new industry standard, companies who opt out may experience a decrease in customer retention and satisfaction and find it challenging to keep up with competitors that do embrace this technology,

#7: High Call Volume and Staffing Shortages Remain Following COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on contact center operations. With an increase of nearly 300% in incoming calls during the initial months of the pandemic, hold times and escalations have become a common occurrence.

To adapt to the changing landscape, many companies have shifted to remote and hybrid workplace models, leading to investments in new contact center technologies. Contact center artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool to ensure high-quality and personalized customer service experiences.

One of the key benefits of AI in contact centers is its ability to alleviate staffing shortages. As labor shortages have become prevalent, AI technology fills the gaps in the workforce, allowing businesses to manage high call volumes with fewer agents.

Apply Contact Center AI Trends to Your Business

The trends discussed above can be a roadmap for company acceleration within the industry, as well as a tool to enhance customer service and experience. Utilizing AI for contact centers helps future-proof businesses, meets and understands customer needs, is cost-effective, and adds a competitive edge.

Businesses that integrate these contact center AI trends into their CX strategies will build resiliency as they embrace the latest technology, alleviate staffing shortages, and prioritize the customer experience. For examples of how companies are using customer service AI today, read our blog about 21 ways to use AI customer service.