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2021 predictions - contact center business and technology
Simona Botner, Project Manager, Mediatel Data and Cosmina Popescu, Machine Learning Engineer and Algorithm Specialist, Mediatel Data
The onset of the 2020 pandemic year forced many of our clients, large and small, to activate continuity plans and sustain the successful transition. This year, one of the challenges will be to sustain these digital workspaces and customer interactions in a large-scale remote work environment for the long-term..
For all significant players in the Contact Center Technology Creators field, 2021 strategies will include sustainable remote-work, effective and productive agents, digital flexibility and better-integrated experiences for customers across channels.
Mediatel Data Team has all the necessary ingredients properly adapted to the ever-changing market trends, focusing on digital transformation, artificial intelligence and self-service solutions.
From a technological point of view, we expect that the call and contact (c&c) centers of 2021 will strongly benefit from the recent advances in applied Artificial Intelligence (AI), which quickly becomes more powerful yet affordable.
In the context of c&c centers, we identify three main directions where AI can help most: understanding the needs of the customers, automating the interactions, and extracting relevant information from large corpuses.
Automatic customer understanding is useful in improving interactions routing. By using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning (ML) techniques on both written and spoken text, we automatically detect the customer intent. Based on the identified intent, we route the incoming calls or messages to specialized agents, or even to chat or voice bots (for automatic resolution).
We believe that the automation of interactions is the direction that will attract the most attention in 2021. Many businesses have already started using Chatbots and/or Voicebots, mainly for answering common questions. We estimate that the focus of 2021 will however be on smarter bots—that automate routine tasks. Existing studies support our hypothesis: for example, it is expected that by 2022, bots will be able to handle successfully 20% of the customer requests .
Thirdly, AI will help in extracting meaningful information from bulk data. For example, a workforce management module can suggest better employee schedules if it is based on a ML model trained on the schedules from the past 10 years. Then, a call center module for making predictive calls can make better estimates with a ML model trained on the past interactions. Or we can analyze the past calls, to identify hot topics. Going even further, AI can also improve real time interactions, for example by analyzing the sentiments and emotions to then send appropriate signals to supervisors.
To sum up, we strongly believe that the applied AI will have a crucial role in the development of c&c centers in 2021, but still being an auxiliary resource and not a replacement for human agents.
https://d1eipm3vz40hy0.cloudfront.net/pdf/cxtrends/cx-trends-2020-full-report.pdf. Accessed: Jan. 2020.