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Contact Centers Show AI’s Practical Uses

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For all the talk about how AI will revolutionize the contact center/customer experience, we’re starting to see that its real value — at least at this stage of the game — isn’t so much about replacing agents or even processes. It’s about helping those agents and processes be better: More cost-effective to the enterprise and more helpful to the customer.
The latest example I’ve seen is this No Jitter post by Sheila McGee-Smith about Five9 partnering with WellSaid Labs, a startup that makes AI-driven synthetic voices that contact centers can use in IVR recordings. This is significant because better, more human-sounding synthetic voices streamline the process of updating IVR prompts, saving enterprises money. As McGee-Smith notes, if the enterprise has to go back to the voice actors who recorded the initial IVR prompts to re-record possibly minor changes, that’s cumbersome and expensive. “New IVR prompts take time – from a few days to a few weeks – and come with additional cost,” she writes.
AI-enabled IVR prompts can be changed much more efficiently, which also gives the contact center more flexibility in responding to new offers or other changes the business needs implemented. AI-enabled synthetic speech also sounds more natural than older text-to-speech systems, McGee-Smith notes, which also improves the customer experience.
As we’ve built out the Contact Center/Customer Experience track for Enterprise Connect 2022, we’ve focused on these kinds of improvements — practical in nature but driven by powerful new technologies, whether AI, CPaaS, or advances in digital CX systems. We’re also focusing on the organizational implications as CX becomes even more business critical: Our contact center-focused General Session, led as always by McGee-Smith, tackles the question, Who Should be Making Contact Center Decisions in 2022? IT? Customer Service? Marketing?
The contact center is the place where new communications technologies have always proved out first because that’s where a technology either demonstrates its ROI case — or doesn’t. So, I’m pleased that our annual Innovation Showcase program will focus this year on CX. I’m confident we’ll have some startups and newcomers on hand showing off their cutting-edge capabilities. Dave Michels of TalkingPointz, who leads the Innovation Showcase, has lined up a stellar panel of judges and is accepting applications now from candidate companies; check out this page on the EC website for full information.
As our General Session title suggests, everyone wants a piece of the contact center these days. That makes it much less likely that IT/communications teams can make technology decisions in a vacuum. The good news is that technology advances will reward IT folks who keep up with the latest developments by giving them new tools to save the enterprise money while improving customer experience. I hope you can join us for Enterprise Connect in Orlando March 21 – 24 so you can ensure you’re up to speed on this critical area, as well as all the other fast-moving parts of an industry that’s never been more dynamic.