The ultimate benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for call centres

Lucy McCormick

By Lucy McCormick
27 Dec 2023


8 min read

Contents

What comes to mind when you think of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Sentient computers? Harrison Ford in Blade Runner? It’s not just the stuff of the silver screen! AI in call centres helps you automate time-consuming tasks, improve performance, and provide better customer experiences.

Poor customer experiences could be costing your business an incredible 84% of returning customers. To beat customer churn, you need to be smarter about two things: The way you resource your contact centre, and the tactics you use to make bad experiences a thing of the past.

That’s where AI in call centres makes an entrance. In this blog, we’ll explore the ultimate benefits of using AI in call centres and you'll find answers to questions like: 

  • How AI works and how it's transforming contact centres
  • Why you should use AI to enhance your agents' performance (not replace them!)
  • How to use AI in call centres can do to provide unrivalled customer service
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How AI is transforming contact centres

Advanced technology in call centres is not a new phenomenon. The chances are you’re already using some kind of Interactive Voice System (IVR) to help get customers to the right place.

AI in call centres has the power to revolutionise how customer interactions are handled. Here are just a few of the things that AI can do for your contact centre:

  • Increase contact centre efficiency: AI to handle routine call centre tasks such as answering FAQs, call routing, and outcome tracking. This helps free up agent time, enabling them to focus on more complex calls that require a personal touch.
  • Extract customer insights: Call centre software, such as Conversation Analytics, extracts insights from every call, at scale. This helps you develop a deeper understanding of what customers really need and want. With these insights, you’re able to handle calls more efficiently, reduce churn, and drive sales.
  • Offer real-time assistance: The advancement in AI means you can utilise AI-powered chatbots in your customer support. This means customers don’t have to wait on hold to speak to an agent which is a root cause of frustration.
  • Predictive call analysis: AI will identify peaks and troughs of call volumes. As a result, you can make sure you’ve got the right number of agents available at key times, enabling you to provide top-tier customer service when it really matters.
  • 24/7 availability: AI-powered chatbots answer questions and queries outside of standard working hours. This means customers can get in touch with you on their terms, without putting extra pressure on your agents or requiring extra staffing.

Will AI replace call centre agents?

While there are plenty of benefits to AI in call centres, it isn’t designed to replace your call centre agents. It’s here to make the work they do even better. After all, it’s impossible to overlook the value of human connection. AI tools can’t replicate human sentiment and the personal touch will always remain a key differentiator in customer service.

What are the benefits of AI in call centres?

We’ve discussed AI’s potential in transforming the contact centre, now let’s take a look at the benefits. We’ve identified four key benefits of using AI in the contact centre.

What are the benefits of AI in call centres?

We’ve discussed AI’s potential in transforming the contact centre, now let’s take a look at the benefits. We’ve identified four key benefits of using AI in the contact centre.

1. Improved employee engagement

There are several ways AI improves employee engagement – and job satisfaction – across the call centre. Firstly, AI identifies peaks and troughs of call volumes, so you can forward plan how many agents are needed to meet service levels and reduce pressure. Secondly, AI identifies insights that help your teams resolve issues and upsell more efficiently, with tried-and-tested scripts, meaning more revenue.

This matters because more engaged and productive employees mean lower call centre attrition. Call centre attrition is bad for business because it costs more than just hiring a new employee. High agent churn can lead to things like:

  • Loss of business because of reduced capacity and poor customer experiences.
  • Loss of knowledge when exiting agents take their knowledge and skills with them.
  • Increased dissatisfaction as existing agents take on more work to fill the gaps.
  • Negative impact on your business image, potentially making it harder to attract top talent.

Overall, if you’re able to improve your call centre attrition rates, you'll save your contact centre a lot of time and money, as well as improve the overall customer experience.

2. Understand what makes or breaks a call

One of the most effective ways to improve the customer experience is to understand which talking points led to your desired outcome. Call tracking provides customer-centric data that enables your entire call centre to become better aligned with customer needs. With customer data at your fingertips, including keyword data and visibility over where calls are coming from, you can boost customer satisfaction and prevent those frustrated hang-ups.

A great example of this comes from Pendragon. They used Conversation Analytics to pinpoint every call where key terms were used, along with additional clarifiers like where in the call they were spoken, or their proximity to other terms. Thanks to AI, they were able to drive a 63% reduction in CPA, reduce unanswered calls by 30%, and minimise common friction points across their major branches by 66%.

Case study

How did Pendragon get happier customers while reducing their CPA by 63.8%?

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3. Better customer experiences

As we’ve demonstrated, the best way to stay ahead of the competition is to provide top-notch customer experiences. AI enables you to give customers the right information at the right time. Moreover, it means you can provide personalised recommendations, which is something around 70% of consumers now expect. Lastly, it analyses conversations at scale to help you provide improved first-call resolutions and handle calls faster.

AI in call centres also helps you master call deflection. Call deflection isn’t about reducing call volumes – although less pressure on your call centre is a benefit – it’s about strategically implementing it to enhance the customer experience. Successful call deflection is all about collecting and analysing the right data to inform your strategy and increase customer satisfaction. It makes faster and better customer service possible, by enabling customers to self-serve.

4. Enhance the performance of your call centre

AI in call centres drives improvements across all key metrics. Having the power to analyse conversations at scale to extract historic trends is a vital part of developing your customer experience strategy. Collecting and using call insights makes your customers happier, reduces your AHT, CPA, and enhances your FCR rates.

Flight Centre implemented AI with flying success. Using Conversation Analytics, they set customisable goals, based on location, intent, airlines, and even specific brand words they marked as having high or low value. Using Infinity, they drove a 46% YoY increase in online phone conversion rate for their tailor-made holiday section.

Leveraging AI in call centres to provide unrivalled CX

AI presents opportunities for businesses looking to improve customer experiences, drive efficiencies, and create a solid sales pipeline. With AI-powered Conversation Analytics, you can evolve your tactics based on real data from your customers, instead of relying on intuition. It tells you things such as:

  • Why people are getting in touch by monitoring and logging the topics of conversation, including any associated keywords and phrases.
  • The outcome of each call so you can surface trends from calls that delivered positive or successful outcomes. Quickly identify areas in need of improvement and create better agent training programmes.
  • How customer sentiment is changing throughout the call so you can pinpoint exactly what makes the phone call experience positive or negative and improve from there.

When you put Conversation Analytics and Agent ID together, you can make your contact centre run even smoother. Uncover the best calls to use for training, rapidly upskill your teams, and decrease average handling time. Once you're doing all these things, you're guaranteed to see happier customers, higher conversion rates, and better revenues.

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