Cloud and Conversational AI: Twin Pillars of Success for Today’s Contact Centers

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Contact centers are developing rapidly. The days of single-channel, telephony-based call centers are long gone. This older model has given way to the omnichannel customer experience center.

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In legacy call centers, the customer’s path through sales or service was relatively linear. Call, talk to an agent and (hopefully) get the problem resolved. In this system, the manager’s focus was strictly on ensuring that there were enough trained personnel to handle each call as efficiently as possible.

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Nowadays, however, the customer journey is more complex, and the path to successful customer experience (CX) can weave its way through a variety of channels, touching both human and robotic agents along the way. Today’s managers must not only build adequate employees, but also choose the right solutions to effectively combine technical and human elements to provide them with virtually impeccable CX.

While many solutions have proven to be vital for managers looking to build successful contact centers, none is more important than the cloud and conversational AI. You can think of these as the double pillars of success for today’s contact centers. However, as we will discuss here, they are not sufficient by themselves. There is a third pillar to consider: quality assurance, or dedication to ensuring a superior customer experience at every stage of the customer journey.

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It looks like we’ve reached the critical point of cloud adoption in Contact Centers. Deloitte reports that 75% of contact centers plan to move their operations to the cloud by the middle of 2023, if they haven’t already. IDC estimates that investment in cloud solutions will account for 67% of infrastructure spending by 2025, compared to only 33% for non-cloud solutions. Genesis, a leading contact center provider, recently announced that, going forward, it will focus its efforts on its Genesis Cloud CX software rather than its on-premises solutions.

Considering the cloud’s potential, it’s not surprising to see it taking off. Basically, the cloud allows contact centers to simultaneously keep pace with the changing expectations of employees and customers.

The pandemic quickly changed what both groups were looking for. Employees were expected to be more adaptable to remote work arrangements, and those expectations have strengthened in 2022 as well. According to Gallup research, only 6% of employees who can do their jobs remotely actually want to go back to a full on-site arrangement. Meanwhile, expectations for CX continue to rise to new heights, whether in terms of omnichannel service or personalized experiences.

The cloud makes it very easy for contact centers to meet these expectations. Remote agents can provide service to customers from anywhere at any time, without needing to rely on legacy, brick-and-mortar infrastructure. Plus, the cloud facilitates seamless omnichannel service delivery and efficient software updates more effectively.

From setup to ongoing execution, the cloud is easy to manage. With no telecom hardware to purchase, installation and setup is much more rapid. And contact centers can be up and down as quickly as needed, allowing them to manage costs more effectively when needed.

The net effect of these benefits is that the cloud creates a new kind of contact center – one that is ubiquitous to offer a modern customer experience from anywhere and to anyone.

Conversational AI replaces CX

One of the major benefits of moving to the cloud is the availability of conversational AI that can power self-service solutions. This technology, which is indispensable to chatbots and IVRs, enables bots to interact with customers in natural – even human – ways.

Thanks to the powerful components of AI, such as natural language processing and machine learning, bots are able to rapidly serve the customers they are looking for. In fact, in today’s self-service economy, conversational AI allows consumers to solve many of their own issues. What’s more, AI’s machine learning capabilities allow it to easily and quickly collect customer data and use it to personalize the service experience. Unsurprisingly, organizations that employ conversational AI see a 3.5x increase in customer satisfaction rates.

This increase in customer satisfaction stems not only from offering personalized self-service, but also from organizations making the most of their human service. While bots handle many simple requests, they reserve the time for agents to handle more complex cases. Ultimately, companies that deploy them can improve customer service, as well as cut costs by as much as 15% to 70%.

This AI-powered CX transformation is already underway across multiple industries. Banks use conversational AI to empower customer self-service with simple tasks like money transfer and balance enquiry. Hotels employ this to offer streamlined booking and concierge services. And retailers employ it to attract customers in more personalized ways.

These are just some of the basic benefits that forward-thinking companies can derive from deploying conversational AI. Its more advanced forms will power a new type of active CX for years to come, shaped by powerful tools such as sentiment analysis.

True success requires a third pillar: Quality Assurance

Though vital to today’s contact centers, those two pieces are incomplete without the third pillar of quality assurance.

Expanded service capabilities enabled by cloud and conversational AI add new layers of complexity to Contact Center’s CX delivery. For example, cloud migration often involves bringing together several different legacy systems and remodeling the entire customer journey. Extensive testing and mapping is needed to make sure it’s done right.

And as powerful as conversational AI is, it still needs a lot of human guidance to make sure it’s doing its job correctly. Without that guidance ability, IVR or chatbot solutions could create more than just solve CX problems. They can also be more expensive – defects discovered in an IVR or chatbot production environment are much more expensive to undo than those discovered in the design.

The best way to provide cost-effective quality assurance is through a robust set of testing solutions that can work with any cloud, IVR, or chatbot solution that uses a contact center. As a platform-agnostic CX assurance solution, Cyara is designed to do exactly that.

With a powerful solution like Cyra, businesses can accelerate cloud migration, fix voice quality issues, load-test IVRs and performance-test chatbots, regardless of which solution they use. They can also run more advanced chatbot tests to see how well they follow natural human conversation flow and recognize different speech patterns.

This kind of quality assurance allows contact centers to jump to the cloud and deploy conversational AI with confidence, knowing both will drive their CX forward. These three pillars together provide a strong foundation for future contact centres.

Ready to get started? Cyara can provide assurance for your cloud migration so that you can start building these pillars. Get in touch today to get started.

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