Artificial Intelligence

AI: If it’s not in your call centre, how are you delivering the best customer service?

Here are a few tips on where to invest and how to get started with AI

Be in no doubt, Artificial Intelligence is here, and it is changing everything, augmenting humans to achieve and deliver more. The reality is that AI is impacting our lives in many ways every day, sometimes visible, mostly unseen, and many businesses are introducing it to provide better service for their customers and gain insights from masses of data. If you aren’t using AI yet, rest assured your competitors soon will be.

“AI projects most often start in IT, but they really shouldn’t”

There will be many processes where AI can add value from customer engagement and supply chain to retail banking and financial services, but where to start? This is the question that is absorbing many and often causes unnecessary delays when introducing AI. Projects most often start in IT, but they really shouldn’t. AI projects must be embraced and guided by the business right from the start, particularly because the implementation process will reveal many surprising and valuable nuances that will be unique to the business, and lead to a better understanding of how and where AI will deliver the best outcome from future projects.

It is important to get started rather than build a complete master plan because, as said earlier, the results will help guide future direction. The way forward is to start small.Most often this means starting with your customer’s experience.

Introducing artificial intelligence into the way services are provided to clients is an excellent starting point and can form a foundation from which to develop further. AI-powered self-services can positively impact key indicators in the call centre such as call abandonment, first call resolution rate and customer satisfaction, allowing call centre staff to upskill and focus on high value customer needs and reducing customer service costs by up to 40%.

When it comes to implementing the project, there are a few differences to a typical IT project that should be acknowledged. The focus is very much on user experience rather than technology, but do not underestimate the IT integration challenges.

Taking time to create a robust training plan will ensure the quality of the responses, and ensure they reflect brand values.

AI does not need to be complex or become a protracted project

The starting point for a successful introduction of AI does not need to be complex or become a protracted project. Projects can deliver within 8 weeks and bring far-reaching insight into how to expand its use across the business.

Here are some key steps to consider

  • Ensure the project is owned by the business, not just IT
  • Start with a well-defined project and avoid scope creep
  • Focus on competitive gains such as customer service
  • Be prepared to be surprised and learn from the outcomes
  • Prepare your own data set to protect your own IP

You will be surprised how AI will change your business.

Find out more about Watson and the future of customer care here.

Portfolio Marketing Manager, CIO/CTO, IBM Hybrid Cloud, UKI

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