|The customer experience has always been at the forefront of business concerns. This is one major reason why call centers handling customer service are extremely important for big companies / Photo by: dotshock via 123RF|
The customer experience has always been at the forefront of business concerns. This is one major reason why call centers handling customer service are extremely important for big companies. The industry has evolved so much over the last two decades. While some call centers might still use telephone services, most now employ email, webchat, and social media services to stay in touch with customers.
Currently, there are more than 1.15 million call center employees across the world. The sector is expected to grow further and reach 1.8 million by 2022. FinancesOnline.com, the fastest-growing independent software review platform, reported that the global call center market is predicted to peak at $481 billion by 2024. The growth is driven by the need for businesses to deliver customer-focused services.
Also, it is expected that the fastest-growing market for call centers would be the Asia-Pacific with a CAGR of 12.5% due to the emergence of the region as a global capital for outsourced call services.
However, even as the industry is expanding, what consumers think about the state of customer service needs improvement. A report showed that only 26% of consumers responded positively when asked if they believe customer service centers provide great support. This shows that the industry is missing the mark in terms of customer expectations. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can help address the issues the call center industry is facing.
The Global Call Center AI Market
According to P&S Intelligence, an online site that offers a multi-dimensional analytical landscape of diverse markets, through comprehensive reports accompanied by business intelligence consulting services, the global call center AI market generated revenue of $914.5 million in 2018. It is expected to surpass $2,990.1 million by 2024 with a CAGR of 22.6% during the forecast period.
The growth is driven by several factors including the rising demand for enhanced customer support services in call centers, increasing large volumes of data, increasing use of AI-powered chatbots to manage work operations effectively and efficiently, and growing customer engagement through multiple platforms such as social media, email, and website. It is also projected that call centers of the future are expected to be more efficient, high on performance, and predictive.
Currently, the AI market in call center applications is dominated by companies in North America followed by Europe and Asia. North America is projected to hold the largest share of the market, maintaining its dominance during the forecast period. According to Business Wire, a US company that disseminates full-text press releases from thousands of companies and organizations worldwide, some of the factors driving the growth of the market in the region include the increasing adoption of AI solutions, the presence of global vendors in the market, and rapid technological developments.
AI will impact call center operations by predicting queries based on past activities of the customer, automation of the processes like following up with customers, and effective communication to perform instant query handling irrespective of the time and location. Additionally, the report showed that a key trend in this market is the rise in the adoption of AI-enabled chatbots. Chatbots can significantly cut down the waiting time for customers, making response time extremely fast.
|The global call center AI market generated revenue of $914.5 million in 2018. It is expected to surpass $2,990.1 million by 2024 with a CAGR of 22.6% during the forecast period / Photo by: Vadim Guzhva via 123RF|
How AI Can Help Call Centers
Nowadays, customers want instant responses to their queries. Any delay would mean the customer taking their business elsewhere. They are expecting to have the right answers at lightning speeds. Ring Central, the leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications and collaboration solutions, reported that 33% of customers experience the most frustration when they have to wait on hold. Another 33% are frustrated when they have to call multiple agents just for their queries.
This is where AI comes in as it plays an integral role in response times across channels. According to Thrive Global, an online site that aims to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance, and purpose, AI can streamline much of the process involving customers getting information from companies. At the same time, it can help reduce the learning curve for employees who are working with customers daily. This is because it can handle huge amounts of detail and information that call center agents need to learn on their own.
|AI can streamline much of the process involving customers getting information from companies. At the same time, it can help reduce the learning curve for employees who are working with customers daily / Photo by: Kittipong Jirasukhanont via 123RF|
Also, customer service agents are beginning to get help with some of the intangibles of customer calls through AI. Some instances include when a customer's frustrations rise or when there are long pauses in the conversation that could indicate rising anger. Dr. Skyler Place, vice president of behavioral science at Cogito Corporation, a company that provides a well-resourced training data services for artificial intelligence and machine learning with data sets enrichment and outsourcing services, stated that AI technology can analyze the tone of the customer’s voice to detect their mood.
“The AI measures pauses in the conversation, how many times the agent interrupts the customer, the tone of voice of both the customer and the agent, and whether the voice is dynamic and interested or monotonal and disinterested. As the AI is doing this, it gives live feedback to the agent so they have this insight into how the customer is feeling as the call is taking place,” Place said.
However, this doesn’t mean that we will soon not be needing human call center agents in the industry. They are equally important as AI technology. Having a trained employee at the call center means handling issues in a better, more efficient, and personal manner because they can answer customers directly. At the same time, they can answer issues that would be outside the programming of a machine.