Artificial intelligence (AI) technology for call centers isn’t necessarily new.
But in 2023, it’s increasingly clear that the development of AI-powered call center technology is set to completely transform the industry—if not life as we know it.
How can your contact center ride this wave of innovation to take advantage of AI applications and game-changing solutions? Find out in this article from our 2023 call center trends series.
The Rise of AI in the Contact Center
While it may have gone unnoticed initially, the roots of the ongoing AI revolution are actually in the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond forcing many call centers to adapt and move to a virtual call center model, the pandemic actually helped to accelerate the growth of AI in call centers. As Calabrio’s Ross Daniels told CMSWire, “To continue to take care of their employees, customers, and brand reputation, contact center leaders turned to AI-based solutions [during the pandemic].”
However, in 2023, with the arrival of powerful Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard, the growth of contact center AI technology has really kicked into high gear.
The proof of this growth is in the numbers: A recent study projected that the market for AI in call centers will grow to a whopping $9.9 Billion by 2030 as adoption has been accelerated by the pandemic. That is 10 times the size of the 2020 market.
Below, we dig into the sorts of AI call center solutions that are behind that rapidly accelerating growth.
Examples of AI Call Center Technology in Action
Like the algorithms that power predictive dialing, AI call center technology, and machine learning processes often work in the background to expand and enhance outbound capabilities. Indeed, some call center software platforms already offer AI for lead generation, pre-qualifying leads, quality and compliance monitoring, smart call routing, and more. However, as you’ll see here, more and more AI is taking center stage at today’s contact centers—and it’s capable of playing an even more prominent role in driving growth.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Though they’ve been around since well before AI, some up-to-date intelligent IVR systems now use AI-powered voice response and analytics to automate call routing.
If you have an automated message that you need to communicate, an IVR system can send personalized messages over multiple channels to your leads. You can guide customers and leads through a series of options using a conversational IVR system to minimize the automated feel.
Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA)
Today’s call center AI can sound incredibly realistic. A good Intelligent Virtual Agent uses machine learning, natural language processing, and advanced speech recognition to carry out smooth conversations that closely mimic human speech. The best IVA solutions offer natural, human-like experiences for customers and prospects.
Intelligent virtual agent technology can also help call centers strategically manage the cost and efficiency of their workforce. Since the AI can handle multiple interactions at once, call center managers have the flexibility to route the best leads to live agents and to determine how many call center staff are needed.
How Voso.ai is Revolutionizing Omnichannel Outreach
Using Voso.ai, outbound contact centers and lead generation teams can leverage cutting-edge conversational AI to accelerate their sales pipeline and drive revenue growth.
Capable of holding fluent conversations over both SMS and voice, this solution can serve as a linchpin of your outreach and customer engagement strategies. Voso.ai can:
- Engage with leads quickly
- Schedule callbacks and sales appointments
- Pre-qualify leads and transfer them to closing agents
- Set automated reminders
- Re-engage aged leads and dropped callers
- Handle Q&A and self-service
With the ability to understand the intent of customer responses and respond naturally, Voso.ai is a breakthrough AI technology for contact centers—one that your customers will experience as though conversing with a live person.
Voso.ai delivers personalized experiences in the channel of your customer’s choice. And as it automates routine interactions at scale, your agents will suddenly be free to focus on what matters most: generating leads and closing sales to move your business forward.
Answering Machine Detection (AMD)
Every outbound call center manager is probably familiar with the issues answering machines and voicemail can cause. Teams of sales and lead gen agents need to stay in rhythm to consistently have successful conversations—and frequent voicemails are a surefire way to disrupt that. A highly accurate answering machine detection solution can help combat this problem.
The most accurate solutions are trained using machine learning. For instance, Convoso trained its own AMD solution on billions (you read that right: billions, with a b) in order to improve the tool’s ability to more accurately judge whether there is a human or voicemail message on the other end. The results that an AMD solution can produce for agent productivity can be jaw-dropping.
Just ask Jessie Daniels of One Health Direct, an enterprise-scale outbound call center. Before switching to Convoso, voicemails weren’t just getting in the way of success, they were driving higher turnover. “[Agents] were leaving,” Daniels told us. “They were saying, ‘I’m not going to be able to make a living on answering machines all day.’”
After making the switch to Convoso, Daniels’ team saw 70% fewer voicemails—and agent commissions and morale skyrocketed—showcasing the true power of AI and machine learning in the call center.
While they may make headlines with their usage in term papers and search engines, generative AI tools like Open AI’s ChatGPT can actually come in handy at virtually any contact center.
The name of the game in AI is increased efficiency. Using a powerful generative AI can help outbound sales and lead gen teams generate all manner of text in significantly less time.
For example, want to get started on a new call script? Simply ask ChatGPT or another tool what you should include. The fluency and competency of its answers may surprise you.
AI-Powered Call Center QA
Balto, a Convoso partner that provides AI-powered real-time guidance for call center agents, surveyed over 1,000 agents to identify the most common reason mistakes are made in call centers. They found that preventable human error was the number-one cause of lost calls and sales.
Describing these results, Balto’s Marc Bernstein said, “We don’t usually take [revenue analysis] down to the agent level and say when your customers are having these conversations with your agents, where [are the opportunities to] increase conversations and revenue there?”
Tools like Balto’s Real-Time Guidance and Observe.ai provide a resounding answer to that question. These AI call center solutions can monitor performance and provide quality assurance for a volume of calls that are simply impossible for human QA teams to replicate. In the process, they can uncover trends to help call centers make improvements and win back lost revenue.
Reporting and Predictive Analytics
QA software delivers rich data on your conversations, but there’s much more to report on in the average day on a sales floor. Equip your managers and leadership team with a reporting platform capable of sending custom, automated reports at the pace you need to understand performance and take effective action.
You can also step the automation up yet another notch with AI-driven predictive analytics. Found within many of today’s top CRMs, predictive capabilities can crunch your customer data to identify trends and outreach strategies, score and prioritize leads, and much more.
Benefits of Using AI Call Center Technology
As technologies like those above advance and telemarketing demands change, call center AI software opens numerous possibilities to keep your business thriving. Ultimately, adopting AI and machine learning in your cloud-based contact center gives you another tool to compete in your industry, to increase efficiency, and to stay current with best practices and compliance.
1. Discover and Qualify Leads
Call center AI solutions can greatly simplify the lead generation and qualification process.
By analyzing your CRM data to find qualified leads from existing customers, AI can help you find new sales opportunities and score your leads to help streamline prioritization.
Meanwhile, with a conversational AI-powered solution like Convoso’s, you can get the support you need by making outbound calls and texts. Leading friendly, fluent interactions on its own and across channels, your virtual agent will pre-qualify and nurture leads, set appointments, and ensure that your live agents are free to speak with the most qualified leads.
2. Increase Contact Rates and Conversion Rates
Low contact rates are one of the biggest challenges today for call center outbound lead generation and sales teams. By pre-qualifying leads and setting up sales appointments with call center AI, you can increase the number of conversations for your live agents. Intelligent virtual agents work to increase contact rates.
Live agents who only speak with qualified leads expecting calls avoid time wasted on voicemails, hang-ups, and dropped calls. And when they get on the phone, they’ll be much more likely to convert. Contact center teams can maximize their time and efforts, getting big results that benefit everyone.
3. Operate with Compliance Confidence
We talked about the prospect of implementing quality assurance in your contact center above with AI. While tools like dynamic scripting software can improve agent conversations, auditing call interactions using AI guarantees stronger adherence to scripts, regulations, and company standards for more comprehensive compliance control.
“AI in terms of quality control is really going to play a huge role in better conversations, more compliant conversations, and ultimately, increased results in agent performance. For example, there’s an integration we have that will coach and listen to your agents in real-time and let them know if they’re off-script or not, or if they’re using the right rebuttals or not… Are they talking too fast?” – Nima Hakimi, Convoso CEO, and Co-Founder
4. Data Performance Insights for Strategic AI Campaigns
Intelligent analytics reports will give you insights into the successes and problems within each of your campaigns. With this information, you can make better strategic decisions based on the how and why of lead and list performance.
Better yet, in some systems, AI may be capable of uncovering those insights on its own. With predictive analytics and data mining tools like those described above, sales teams can leverage call center AI tools to do the time-consuming number-crunching and bring improved strategies to their sales pipeline much faster. Better yet, they may uncover insights they would never have without the help of AI.
5. Reduce Call Center Costs
According to a global AI survey, 44% of executives in companies that use AI have realized cost reductions. In call centers, AI reduces the amount of time and money you spend on labor costs. With less training and fewer agents required to meet targets, your scaling costs can drop significantly. Adopting AI for your outbound call center can both increase conversion rates and lower cost per acquisition (CPA).
The result? Greater scale that was previously impossible, says Convoso’s CEO and Co-founder, Nima Hakimi.
“Scale without automation doesn’t exist,” Nima Hakimi said. “Sometimes it’s a bit challenging. Technology isn’t always easy. But once it’s implemented and you get the hang of it, you can take things to the next level.”
AI Call Center Software: The Future of Lead Generation
The trend to incorporate the advanced capabilities of AI technology into lead generation outbound call center operations will continue in 2023, as marketing and sales teams look for more ways to stay competitive. With AI for your contact center, you can improve costs, productivity, and sales to grow in 2023 and beyond.
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