Artificial intelligence and chatbots are major themes now for contact centers, and there's much to consider. The technology is also part of a broader mix of related topics, such as machine learning, internet of things and cognitive computing.
When discussing AI tools, the conversation can quickly turn to high-end data science instead of what contact centers can do to improve customer engagement. In terms of how soon AI tools will affect contact centers, AI and chatbots need to be considered separately.
The field of AI has existed for decades, and we're experiencing another wave of innovation now. However, AI tools remain nascent in the contact center. While IBM Watson can beat the best Jeopardy! players, customer engagement involves more emotion than reason, and that's much harder for AI tools to achieve.
Chatbots, on the other hand, are very much part of today's customer experience. They are primarily used to automate simple tasks and free up agents for more complex needs where human interaction is required. AI is involved here to some extent, and it's just one way that AI tools can be applied in the contact center.
The main takeaway should be: Chatbots address two important needs, and this opportunity will drive future adoption. Automating simple tasks makes agents more productive and, by extension, drives down costs. Chatbots are always on and can scale easily, allowing the contact center to support customers 24/7, even on a global basis.
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