Transforming Customer Service: The Role of AI in Call Centers

Transforming Customer Service: The Role of AI in Call Centers

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For decades, call centers were led by rows of human agents sitting with a telephone pressed to their ears to handle incoming customer calls to resolve issues or provide information about products and services. While customer issues were generally resolved, this structure was highly ineffective, as customers were plagued by long wait times, especially during peak call times.

Call centers underwent a significant transformation after the introduction of social media platforms, live chat, and email support. Digital communication allowed call centers to handle large calls efficiently and enabled customers to interact with businesses through different channels. In recent years, AI has been integrated into the call center to free up human agents to focus on complex issues that AI cannot handle.

What Is an AI Call Center?

An AI call center is a customer service-oriented organization that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies to automate tasks in order to improve efficiency and customer experience. These call centers do not solely rely on human agents to handle phone calls. AI in call center tools, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), automated chatbots, virtual assistants, and conversational AI, are used to handle customer inquiries and resolve issues.

The global call center AI market was valued at $959.80 million in 2020. Due to the need for faster customer response time and improved customer experience, the market is expected to reach $9,949.61 million by 2030.

How Is AI Used in Call Centers?

AI is used in call centers to find areas for improvement through sentimental analysis and analytics, increase operational efficiency by automating tasks, and improve customer experience.

Integrating AI in call centers allows agents to focus on more complex tasks as AI is set up to handle repetitive tasks. Here are some ways AI is used in call centers.

1. Voice Recognition and Natural Language Processing

With NLP, AI systems can give multilingual support. Their ability to understand and extract key information from a call held in any language helps to expand the reach of customer support services. Transcriptions make it easy to identify important details at a glance and spot areas for improvement. Calilio’s AI-powered call summary leverages the power of NLP to extract key information from a call into text, making it easier to analyze conversations.

2. Virtual Agents and Chatbots

Virtual agents and chatbots can handle large numbers of calls, provide immediate responses, and resolve simple issues. Customers will no longer have to wait for countless hours on hold to receive answers to their queries. The first commercial chatbot was launched in the mid-1990s to offer 24/7 support to website visitors.

3. Call Analytics

AI-powered call centers use call analytics and monitoring to analyze call metrics such as duration of the call, resolution rates, attitude reflected in the call, and customer satisfaction scores.

4. Sentimental Analysis

Call centers use AI-powered sentimental analysis to measure and analyze customers' tone, intensity, and moods during interactions to find satisfied and unsatisfied customers.

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Ways AI Call Center Solutions Can Benefit All Industries

AI helps companies respond to a customer’s request for service while also predicting and preparing for a customer’s wants and future needs using analytics and insights. With AI, industries can improve customer experiences by providing faster and more personalized support, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. You can quickly access information obtained from transcripts, sentiment analysis, and analytics to develop strategies for continual improvement.

Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), media, IT, telecom, healthcare, and retail are the top sectors that employ advanced AI and ML solutions in call centers.

some benefits of ai

1. Increased Efficiency

AI tools reduce response time by providing helpful information quickly, freeing agents' time to focus on more complex calls requiring critical thinking. With features such as call transcription, call summary, and sentimental analysis, staff can be more productive and provide better service. Call transcription and AI-powered summaries help reduce note-taking, get more insights, and discover hidden opportunities.

2. Improved Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence in call centers improves customer satisfaction by quickly and accurately resolving straightforward issues or complaints. Chatbots can handle inquiries related to order status, technical assistance, account support, or FAQs. Similarly, with IVR, customers can serve themselves and reduce hold times.

Using AI, agents are armed with historical data and insights about customers, making it easy for them to deliver meaningful selling opportunities.

3. Valuable Performance Insights

Businesses can turn their calls and messages into insights through analytics and reporting. Supervisors can track and measure agent performance, uncover customer sentiment, and discover key points, common themes, and most-used words in the call. Analytics and reporting use NLP to identify call drivers and customer sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral). This helps companies improve their first-contact resolution and increase conversion rates by learning about customer interactions.

4. Reduced Call Center Costs

Virtual assistants and AI-powered chatbots reduce the cost of operating a call center by automating repetitive tasks and providing 24/7 chat support. According to Gartner, Inc., using conversational AI in contact centers will save $80 billion in agent labor costs by 2026.

In a survey of 300 contact center and IT leaders by 8x8, 87% said conversational AI lowered costs by improving agent efficiency (65%), and 53% said it reduced overall operational costs.

Best Practices for Implementing AI-Based Call Centers

Implementing AI in call centers requires careful planning and strategic implementation to improve operational efficiency and drive business growth. The technology must align with organizational goals and objectives, whether you plan to implement chatbots for 24/7 customer support or analytics and reporting for call monitoring.

1. Define goals and objectives

Have a road map that prioritizes AI initiatives linked to business value across the organization so that you can choose the right AI tools and software. Is your objective to improve the first call resolution rate, reduce operational costs, improve customer satisfaction scores, or reduce call volumes? The AI strategy should serve a specific purpose and align with the broader corporate strategy and goals.

2. Get free trials

Start with free AI call center software trials and test the features to see whether they complement your current infrastructure and software. Figure out how the tools fit into your corporate strategy and goals. Tools that easily integrate with your existing tools in one centralized platform enhance functionalities and improve overall efficiency.

3. Train agents to use AI tools

Call center agents, managers, and supervisors will interact with customers daily using AI tools, making it necessary they receive ample training on how to use AI tools to increase efficiency and enhance customer experience.

4. Evaluate and monitor performance after implementing AI tools

To know whether or not implementing AI in your call center was a success, you will need to identify metrics and KPIs that indicate certain improvements have been made since the integration. Important key performance indicators are average handle time, first call resolution, and call abandonment rate. Did agent efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall productivity increase? Analyze data from sentimental analysis, call analytics, and reporting to identify areas for improvement. Continuously refine workflows and processes based on customer feedback and insight from analytics.

What Is the Future of Call Center AI?

The future of AI-based call centers is one of increased automation, improved customer service through AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants, reduced operational costs, personalized experiences based on customer data, advanced analytics and reporting for better decision-making, and 24/7 availability.

According to Gartner, automation in customer-agent communication is expected to increase fivefold by 2026, rising from 1.8% in 2022 to about 10%.

Customer expectations are constantly changing, and call centers must integrate tools and software that can match customers' needs and expectations. McKinsey reports that 71% of consumers now anticipate personalized interactions from companies, and 76% express frustration when this expectation isn't met.

Calilio for Your AI Call Center Solution

AI call center solution makes it easy for businesses of all industries to handle more calls and provide stellar customer experience with features like call analytics, AI-powered call summary, and sentimental analysis.

Calilio offers all those features plus more to level up your services, such as IVR technology, click-to-dial, call pop, auto message, and daily member reports. Daily member reports give you a concise overview of the team’s performance, from handling calls to success and failure of engagement. Other details include active and waiting for the duration and attitude reflected during those sessions. Analysis of such information helps pinpoint areas for improvement. 

Sign up on Calilio today to take your customer experience to another level.

AI Call Center FAQs

How is AI being used in call centers?

AI is used in call centers to automate routine tasks, improve customer service through analytics, virtual agents, and sentiment analysis, optimize call routing through predictive routing, and help agents personalize customer experience.

Will call centers be replaced by AI?

Call centers will not be completely replaced by AI. Though AI increases efficiency by automating routine tasks, human agents are needed to solve complex problems, empathize with customers, and add the human touch that makes customer interactions personalized. AI will help human agents do their jobs more efficiently with tools that allow them to handle calls that require their time.

What are the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in call centers?

The benefits of AI in call centers are improved customer service, reduced call center costs, more productive support representatives, better first-call resolution, and increased efficiency.

How to transform to an AI-Based Call Center?

To transform to an AI-based call center, you need to assess current call center operations to find out where AI can make the most impact, determine goals and objectives for the AI implementation, select the AI solution that will support your call center, activate the AI tools, train your staff to help support their work with the call center AI, and measure results after the implementation to improve your customer service continually.

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