Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Call Center A.I. Set to Improve the Customer Experience

May 10, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

In the telemarketing space, it’s not always easy to see the innovation that leads to better performance. For the consumer, the word doesn’t always leave a happy impression. For the business user, the thought of receiving a call means another thing that takes away the focus from the day. But in reality, we want to be sold to when the offering is timely and relevant. Does telemarketing software offer this insight, or is it time for something bigger?

The traditional live call has slowly been replaced by automation, yet not all of us want to talk to a computer. At the same time, if we know what we want the transaction to be, we often prefer the self-service option that’s easy to complete. When it’s tough to know how to respond to wants and needs, the best approach may be found in the very technology that’s giving us access to the intelligence found in Big Data. According to this Forbes piece, it looks like Microsoft (News - Alert) and Facebook may be able to offer a lifeline.

The two giants have announced plans to drive leadership in the digital transformation and the cloud market through bots. The bots are expected to increase in relevance and revenue as more companies are driving solutions that incorporate natural language, machine learning, artificial intelligence and both structured and unstructured data. While bots are not a new concept, artificial intelligence has certainly contributed to the evolution, much like increases in data processing speeds, ubiquitous connectivity and machine learning. Now, people use bots to do things like shop online, book hotels, translate information and even order a pizza.

In the telemarketing space, bots can be both good and bad. For years, interactive voice response (IVR) and automatic call distribution (ACD) have helped companies contextually route callers to the right department or agent. But there are still problems in handling customer calls efficiently. According to LivePerson (News - Alert), 53 percent of Americans spend 10-20 minutes on hold each week, while another 86 percent are placed on hold each time they call a business. As most people are annoyed when they are placed on hold and this can contribute to a poor customer experience, any hold time is bad.

Bots, as they continue to evolve, can contribute greatly to improving how these processes are completed so as to avoid the ‘hold’ process altogether. More advanced call centers will leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine additional attributes beyond the caller’s status as a current or prospective customer. This kind of information will enable the use of more skilled call center agents to handle complex interactions in a way that keeps customers happy, shifting standard interactions to self-service platforms that also leverage bots.

The point is, call centers must leverage innovative technologies if they hope to keep pace with customer demands. As these demands continue to evolve and change, telemarketing software may not be enough to ensure offerings are timely and relevant. Given that these attributes will still be critical in the success of the call, it may be time to investigate the use of the next step in technology.