August 7, 2019 By Tim Mucci 4 min read

We are living in the age of instant communication; so instant that with the tap of a few buttons, we can reach out and contact loved ones, share ideas and receive immediate validation. We’re able to track our food, our drivers, and our packages, and as consumers, we can instantly interact with brands. While that’s an advantage for the public, many industries are entirely transforming to keep up with the pace of communication. A prime example of an industry being completely transformed is the customer service contact center.

Contact centers do not function the way they once did – verifying account information, transferring money, initiating a return and many other simple tasks are easy for most people to do on their own via their smartphone or computer. People rarely rush to contact a company when they need to do something that they can do themselves. If you’re running a call center, you understand this on an intrinsic level.

81% of customers are willing to leave a brand after a single bad experience. The good news is 77% of customers have improved perceptions of a business after chatting with them online. Call centers worldwide are looking for new and strategic ways to increase operational performance, reduce cost and still provide high-touch customer experiences that improve customer loyalty and highlight ways to increase revenue and productivity.

Build in the cloud and AI will follow

These fundamental changes are being driven by the transformative power of artificial intelligence and the ease and access of the cloud. Businesses keep their data on the cloud for both internal and external parties and many opt for a hybrid cloud solution, using private clouds to protect sensitive documents, or as a secure place to build test applications. However, having that information behind the firewall makes it difficult to share data or deploy what’s been built. Now, with tools from IBM Watson Anywhere on IBM Cloud Pak for Data, your AI can go wherever your data is – no matter who your cloud provider is or where your data is stored.

One of the worries inherent in starting down an AI journey is how much data a business needs to get started. The good news is contact centers are rife with data: you have the data from call logs, emails and voice recordings. All of this data can be ingested and enriched by Watson toward the goal of providing knowledgeable and effective customer service, stronger brand health and a robust customer satisfaction score.

watsonx Assistant also comes pre-trained with industry-relevant content, so it is better able to make sense of your historical data, and it comes out-of-the-box with a visual dialog editor—meaning it’s easy for anyone to get started, not just developers.

As more call centers adopt AI, these powerful capabilities are further socialized, and customers now expect to deal with a virtual agent when they reach out to a business. As such, organizations who choose not to integrate AI for customer service risk frustrating their customers.

Put watsonx Assistant AI on your call center team

Many industries are finding they have no choice but to engage with customers from a service point of view, not a product-centric one. Since it only takes one bad interaction for a customer to abandon a service, businesses are no longer just competing with other companies’ products, they’re competing with a customer’s last service experience. watsonx Assistant offers an easy way for call centers to build conversational interfaces into any application, device or channel.

Watson’s industry-leading AI powers the natural language models that allow Watson to understand user queries and the deep learning capabilities used to ingest data and identify patterns, and with machine learning, Watson AI continuously monitors its own performance and can learn without human intervention. With this kind of self-service, customers are able to interact with a company 24/7 and through whatever channel they choose.

AI also scales better than traditional IVR – IBM’s voice capabilities help improve efficiency by letting callers self-serve over the phone. Current users of AI in their call centers report that they can deflect up to 80% of their current service queries. Fortunately, a Watson AI solution is not just an end-user application, it’s a total end-to-end AI solution that can touch every part of your business.

When we think of AI in call centers, we think of a customer chatting with a virtual agent either via a chat interface on mobile or desktop, or over the phone to accomplish routine tasks; simple FAQ queries, or balance transfers – strictly customer facing, but as more and more businesses infuse their workflows with AI, new patterns are emerging such as agent assistance.

AI for call centers makes small tasks easy and complex tasks personal

An AI-powered agent assist solution allows contact center agents to harness the power of AI to help find case resolving information as quickly as possible. Prior to the development of AI, agents would need to search through manuals or institutional documentation, rely on their own notes, or memorize effective solutions to help a customer quickly. Now they can find the exact answer they need among their organization’s historical data quickly and efficiently. Agents can respond to customer questions faster and more confidently with an automated AI assistant.

As AI takes greater prominence in call centers, the effort, focus and problem-solving abilities of human agents can be augmented so they can tackle more complex or creative tasks. Since the contact center is the first touch between you and your customers, your live agents can be augmented in real time with contact center AI, keeping customers happy by serving them well, and agents happy by giving them powerful tools that make their jobs easier.

With over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, it’s increasingly important for businesses to use that big data to build engaging interactions that deliver value to customers, and now is the perfect time to get started with a watsonx Assistant conversational AI solution.

With just a five-minute assessment, see how your business stacks up.

Was this article helpful?

More from Artificial intelligence

In preview now: IBM watsonx BI Assistant is your AI-powered business analyst and advisor

3 min read - The business intelligence (BI) software market is projected to surge to USD 27.9 billion by 2027, yet only 30% of employees use these tools for decision-making. This gap between investment and usage highlights a significant missed opportunity. The primary hurdle in adopting BI tools is their complexity. Traditional BI tools, while powerful, are often too complex and slow for effective decision-making. Business decision-makers need insights tailored to their specific business contexts, not complex dashboards that are difficult to navigate. Organizations…

Introducing the watsonx platform on Microsoft Azure

4 min read - Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing industries by enabling advanced analytics, automation, and personalized experiences. According to The business value of AI, from the IBM Institute of Business Value, AI adoption has more than doubled since 2017. Enterprises are taking an intentional design approach to hybrid cloud and AI to drive technology decisions and enable adoption of Generative AI. According to the McKinsey report,  The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier, generative AI is projected to add $2.6…

Democratizing Large Language Model development with InstructLab support in

5 min read - There is no doubt that generative AI is changing the game for many industries around the world due to its ability to automate and enhance creative and analytical processes. According to McKinsey, generative AI has a potential to add $4 trillion to the global economy. With the advent of generative AI and, more specifically, Large Language Models (LLMs), driving tremendous opportunities and efficiencies, we’re finding that the path to success for organizations to effectively use and scale their generative AI…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters