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Changing the customer experience with Contact Center AI: Look back and look forward

We meet daily with contact center owners and customer experience (CX) execs across all industries, geographies, and business sizes. Looking back at these conversations, it’s crystal clear that 2022 was a high-stakes year for call centers, with three primary challenges trending across all customers and continuing in 2023:

Many organizations feel pressure to rapidly scale up their call center operations in response to macroeconomic changes. Uncertain conditions are forcing Contact Centers to be ever more cost-effective, and to find ways to generate revenue for the business.

End users areincreasingly demandingandless forgivingwhen it comes to CX. Users have a choice, and they expect brands to meet them where they are with superior experiences. Connecting with customers where they engage is one of the key components of superior CX—customers should not have to go through elaborate processes or unhelpful phone trees to get help but should rather have service available quickly and easily in their preferred channels. Consumers demand more intimate ways of connecting with brands and Conversational AI can create that critical interaction medium. 

Organizations understand that AI can help address these challenges. However, many business leaders remain unsure how to successfully make the journey. A growing number of offerings are on the market, but many don’t deliver on their promise, with long and expensive integration requirements and unpredictable and underwhelming outcomes.

Helping our customers successfully address these challenges and opportunities was one of our top priorities last year and will continue to be a significant focus in coming months. In this blog post, we’ll review our Contact Center AI (CCAI) news from last year, as a primer for 2023. 

Looking back: Why 2022 was a big year for Contact Center AI

In 2022, we increased our strategic investment in CCAI, including expanding it to include a comprehensive, end-to-end contact center solution suite that is user-first, AI-first, and cloud-first. We launched Contact Center AI Platform, our Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) offering, as part of the CCAI product suite that offers a modern, turnkey solution, designed with user-first, AI-first, and cloud-first design. During Google Cloud Next ‘22, we shared lots of great content on how organizations can use CCAI to improve customer experiences, including these breakout sessions:

Delight customers in every interaction with Contact Center AI

Power new voice enabled interfaces with applications with Google Cloud’s speech solutions

We also got a chance to hear how customers are using CCAI to better reach their own customers, including Wells Fargo and TIAA. We partnered with CDW to discuss Providing Better Customer Experiences and with Quantiphi in a webinar called “Elevating the Banking Experience with CCAI Platform.” Just recently, our customer Segra shared their success story.

Through these customer interactions, three key priorities have surfaced as we look forward to 2023: Elevate the customer experience, bring new forms of AI to drive new automation and accelerate time to value.

Looking forward: Elevate CX, integrate new forms of AI, accelerate time to value 

1. User-first: Meet them where they are with elevated Customer Experience.

As we have learned, users expect that brands meet them where they are and on their own terms and expectations. To do that, brands must integrate with and adopt the latest user-centric technologies and product best practices from consumer mobile and web apps. Enterprise B2C can’t exist anymore in a parallel world of different and often inferior user experience. Google has over 20 years of experience in building such consumer experiences, with multiple products successfully serving billions of users. Bringing these capabilities and experiences from our consumer products and research teams to our cloud offerings was a key component for our product offerings in 2022 and is a big part of our key investments in 2023. Moreover, a vast majority of CX user journeys start with a query on Google Search or YouTube. Connecting with the users at that point, even before they reach out directly to the contact center is a win-win, saving money for the brand and delivering immediate value to the user. By focusing on the user we created a superior  integrated omnichannel experience.

2. AI-first and cloud-first: Quality contact center growth depends on transforming to modern, Cloud, AI solutions.

For contact centers to evolve, they need to transform from cost centers to revenue generators. That requires modern Cloud and AI solutions. Conversational data spans across all parts of the contact center, opening new ways to generate value. Cloud capabilities of privacy, security and scale can enable personalized CX across channels, enabling key omnichannel experiences. From a study by McKinsey: “Cross-channel integration and migration issues continue to hamper progress. For example, 77 percent of survey respondents report that their organizations have built digital platforms, but only 10 percent report that those platforms are fully scaled and adopted by customers. Only 12 percent of digital platforms are highly integrated, and, for most organizations, only 20 percent of digital contacts are unassisted.” Traditional telephony technologies are becoming commoditized and struggle to keep up with ever more complex rule based systems. Leaders in applicative AI and Cloud technology are stepping up as the new partners for brands who understand they need to take the leap to the next generation CX solutions. .  

3. Accelerating time to value while future proofing investments with predictable and measurable value

Reducing upfront implementation investment and accelerating time to value can be a challenge for contact center solutions. Scaling Cloud and AI can provide a faster path advanced conversational AI, can help address these challenges. Let’s look at three examples:

Out of the Box(OOTB) integrated transcription, chat and voice summarization, and topic modeling — This saves customers money by reducing agent handling time for every chat and call, as well as providing valuable insights that can be used for quality management, contact center optimization and automation, agent and user churn prediction, business insights, and revenue opportunities.

AI based chat and voice calls steering  paired with info-seeking virtual agents — Together these deliver higher Customer Satisfaction at scale while reducing cost –  by significantly reducing waiting queues and being routed to the wrong agent, as well as automating away total handling time.

Reduced time to full automation — Reduce the complexity of conversation modeling, prebuilt components and APIs for shorter time to value and more predictable outcomes, and metrics driven ML-Dev & QA tools and playbooks.

With these new capabilities, our customers can now see results as soon as they implement CCAI. We’re excited to get our customers to where they want to be faster!

And there you have it: a quick overview of CCAI and its progress in 2022 and what’s coming in 2023. For more details, check out the documentation or our CCAI solutions page.

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