AI Companion Contact Center Thought Leadership AI CX

Beyond the buzzword: Contact center AI in action – simple, effective, and transformative

8 min read

Updated on January 26, 2024

Published on December 07, 2023

Beyond the buzzword: Contact center AI in action – simple, effective, and transformative

No matter which way we turn, we are all hearing about AI. Generative AI, in particular, has been a buzzword in meeting rooms, at kitchen tables, and on social networks across the globe. And there’s serious substance to the hype. According to a recent McKinsey report, generative AI could add trillions of dollars to the global economy. Contact center AI is fast becoming a crucial component of customer service.

There’s massive potential, but companies are curious, cautious, and sometimes confused about where to start implementing AI. As Zoom’s head of global CX solutions engineering, I’ve seen technology continue to change the landscape of customer care. Undoubtedly, the AI revolution will be transformational when it comes to creating higher-quality customer experiences. Think smoother, faster customer interactions with agents that are empowered to do their best jobs. But where do you start with your AI journey? Let’s first look at the challenges we’re facing in the modern workplace and then how Zoom’s practical and user-focused approach to contact center AI is helping solve these challenges head-on. 

The top challenges of the modern workplace

There’s a core truth we’re all facing: human connection will never be the same again. Today’s workplace looks different. Teams are widely distributed, fundamentally changing the way we connect and communicate. With this shift, along with advances in technology and AI, customer expectations have become more sophisticated. Managing a widely dispersed contact center while achieving customer satisfaction in today’s market is a high bar for companies to meet. 

Here are some challenges facing leaders:

Employees are wasting time on repetitive tasks: More than half of a person’s time at work is spent on work about work, not skilled work. We all want to help our teams spend time on activities that matter to the business, but with 60% of their time spent on mundane tasks, it’s a significant gap to bridge. 

Teams are disengaged: And it’s one of the top five drivers for digital transformation in 2023. With dispersed workforces, disengagement is inevitable. Employees need authentic connections with teammates to boost morale and keep them excited and motivated to do their jobs.

Customers have higher customer expectations: 59% of consumers will switch brands after just one or two bad experiences. Customers, partners, and prospects are at the heart of every business; if there’s any friction, you slow down and lose opportunities. 

Complexity creep is slowing innovation: Organizations with more than 2,000 employees use 211 apps on average, according to Okta, making app toggling a significant time suck. Today’s younger workforce expects simple tools that don’t require training, which increases the need for solutions that are easy to implement, run, and maintain. 

It’s no surprise that the modern workplace is impacting employee and customer experiences. A recent study showed that companies with an equally excellent employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) outperformed their competitors by 147%. The two are intrinsically linked; that’s why we need to look at the whole picture of the modern work environment when thinking about customer experience. 

At Zoom, we recognize that you can’t deliver fantastic customer experiences without fantastic employee experiences. That’s why we’ve expanded beyond meetings to encompass one true end-to-end communications platform that extends from employee to customer communications. AI is at the center of everything we do, and we know it can help us solve some of the modern workplace challenges we’re all facing. 

A diagram of Zoom's single platform for customer and employee communications with core communications, AI, and ecosystem at the center
A single Zoom platform for employee and customer communications, powered by AI

How to use Zoom to implement contact center AI simply and effectively

In the Zoom customer experience suite, we’re creating the next-generation contact center by leveraging our federated approach to AI to help drive higher customer satisfaction, improve agent productivity, and ultimately improve business outcomes. Zoom Contact Center is a fully omnichannel contact center solution that supports voice, video, SMS, chat, and more. It features intelligent routing, an all-in-one agent desktop experience, and advanced analytics. We also have Zoom Virtual Agent, our conversational AI and chatbot solution, and our workforce engagement management suite of products, which includes workforce management and quality management. 

Let’s take a closer look at Zoom Contact Center AI in action: 

1. Higher customer satisfaction

Zoom Virtual Agent brings advanced intent recognition and question answering to the contact center to improve the self-service experience for customers. But when we discovered that administrators’ biggest problem is how time-consuming it is to set up and train bots, we enhanced our virtual agent tool. Training bots used to be a tedious task that wasted valuable time, which the team could’ve spent on strategy. Now, with Zoom Virtual Agent, AI can automatically generate intent training phrases, empowering anyone on the team to create and train conversational bots quickly and painlessly. As a result, businesses can more easily deliver the personalized self-service experience every customer deserves. 

2. Increased agent productivity

We’ve all been in that exasperating scenario where we have to repeat ourselves as we get moved between customer service agents. It’s just as frustrating for agents when they don’t have access to proper context and information to pick up the conversation where it left off. Then you throw in the headache of note-taking after each call, with each agent potentially having upwards of 100 interactions in an 8-hour shift (based on an average call length of 5 minutes). Our goal is to help agents do more meaningful and engaging work, thanks to AI.

With Zoom AI Companion, our generative AI assistant, agents are presented with conversation summaries to get quick context before taking a call or responding to a query. These interaction summaries also reduce the post-call burden of note-taking, allowing agents to move on to the next interaction faster. It’s a simple tool that ultimately eases customer frustration and helps make agents more productive. AI Companion is available for customers on eligible Zoom Contact Center plans at no additional cost.* 

Zoom’s AI Expert Assist helps with the increasingly complex queries agents have to deal with. It analyzes conversations on the spot and surfaces the right information at the right time to help agents respond to each customer interaction. This saves time wasted digging around for appropriate articles, leading to faster call resolution and the opportunity to deliver the best possible service. 

3. Engaged agents

Keeping your team engaged is crucial to help prevent agents from jumping ship, and it’s equally essential for creating better customer experiences. Gone are the days when supervisors could give their team members a high five in person and provide feedback on the spot. Those real-time coaching and communication opportunities help agents stay engaged. 

With real-time analytics and quality management in Zoom Contact Center, you can coach agents dynamically. You can’t replace a supervisor with AI, but AI can help supervisors support their distributed teams. By providing opportunities for coaching and acknowledging great work with evaluations and built-in scorecards, AI can help supervisors make agents feel appreciated and valued no matter where they are located.

4. Reduced complexity that enables innovation

By reducing complexity, AI can help free up your teams to focus on what matters, empowering them to spend more time on strategy and solving business problems.

The generative AI flow builder within Zoom Contact Center allows IT or contact center administrators to tell the chatbot what they want it to do, and it will build it for them. You can say goodbye to the tedious process of building a complete bot flow, freeing up more time for innovation and driving better business outcomes.

A product UI of Zoom Virtual Agent Generative AI flow builder showing a a graphic of the conversation sequence and an Add flow text box
Zoom Virtual Agent generative AI flow builder

Take a practical approach with a future-ready outlook

Implementing contact center AI doesn’t have to be daunting when you break it down and take a practical approach. By introducing easy-to-use AI tools, like those found in Zoom Contact Center, you can strengthen your customer relationships, help your agents be more productive and engaged, and reduce IT complexity in your call center. But more than that, you can help your company improve employee and customer experience and ensure they’re well-positioned for what the future brings. 

Want more insights into how Zoom Contact Center is using AI? Watch the full webinar: Beyond the Buzzword: The AI revolution in Zoom’s Contact Center

Discover the complete Zoom Contact Center and its suite of next-generation tools.

*Note: AI Companion may not be available for all regions or industry verticals.

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