Contact Center Customer Experience and the Rise of AI: Are All Bots the Same?

2 min read

Lisa Campbell | February 26, 2024

Listening is the most efficient way to gather information. As the fastest human sense with millisecond processing, it soundly beats out reading and parsing text. Those methods are wildly inefficient in comparison and come from several built-in attributes and influencers, including nuance, tone, emphasis, and pacing, just to name a few. We have thousands of years of listening versus the blip of time typing has invaded the communication paradigm.

The rise, adoption, and deep investment in AI and chatbots beg the question: is it putting us at risk of missing the efficiency opportunity of the more natural, effective construct of speaking for granted? The evolution of the chatbot – the voice bot – is the heir apparent of AI-driven customer interactions. Could this next evolution bring us back to our primary information processing method?

We already see such scenarios with our move from typing questions in search engines to asking questions to devices. Just think about how often you tap or hold that microphone icon on your smartphone and speak aloud. Or shout to Alexa or Siri from another room. Can you count how many times a day that happens?

Voice bots have already taken root in our personal day-to-day lives. So, regarding business communication technology, why not voice bots instead of already accepted customer service or work assistant chatbots?

Crafting Human-like Interactions in the Contact Center: Chatbots vs. Voice bots

In the contact center, chatbot adoption is essentially a given. The introduction of voice bots is a whole different exercise – they would need to be refined to support nuances in dialogue we take for granted – not only in the answers but how they’re delivered. Their development would be akin to personality development – Meyers-Briggs for AI, maybe! Interaction tone and manner would need to align with an organization's brand attributes and customer experience strategies so the interactions are differentiating while optimizing the customer journey.

Those interactions must be based on persona, history, location, context, the questions being asked, regional colloquialisms, etc. It’s how to meet human-to-machine dialogue expectations while solving why the customer reached out. Will voice bots have subtle accents for perceived empathy? Will the tone be clinical and emotionless for time-critical interactions where misunderstandings are not an option? Will the tone change if the customer is upset? The “human quality” of the bot resources will be interesting to watch – perhaps even becoming an extension of the workforce – a companion to the “human resources department” would be the “bot resources department.”

AI and Voice Bots in the Contact Center

As AI and digital transformation subsume organizations, the question, “What is the future of contact centers?” is raised. As we explore in Mitel’s predictions for 2024, AI interactions demand meaningful attention, focus, and purpose; value and impact assessments are critical.

Two predictions from Mitel leaders touch on these points:

Martin Bitzinger, SVP, Product Management, shared his thoughts on where AI should focus next:

“The real value is transitioning from front-end chatbots to ones that can act based on their process inputs. As such, this next step will be for customer support software to go beyond just answering questions and move toward enabling true end-to-end task automation.”

Jan Hickish, Mitel VP, Global Solution Marketing, said this of AI in contact centers in his prediction:

“You are falling behind if you do not have AI top-of-mind. We see multiple UC-focused use cases for it, especially within specific verticals. For example, you cannot talk about contact center customer experiences without AI. A practical use for it could be to analyze the mood of callers when determining the best option to serve them or to spot comments on social media so that you can resolve issues proactively and thus positively influence opinions. As we are digging into the full potential of AI, there’s no doubt it will significantly impact customer interactions and improve the overall customer experience.”

The Future of Contact Centers

As these and other disruptions lead to optimizing customer journeys, is today’s positioning and role of the contact center still relevant? Why create voice bots as customers reach further into a business, potentially making the contact center a barrier instead of a facilitator? Should it reinvent itself with the help of chat and voice bots is something to consider. I look forward to exploring this more in the future.

Lisa CampbellCorporate Communications and Solutions Marketing Expert

Lisa has worked in the UC industry for nearly 15 years. She has held several marketing and communications roles, including positioning, messaging, portfolio vision and strategy, solution marketing, thought leadership, and executive communications. Lisa is passionate about the power and variety of communication options and our opportunity to challenge their boundaries and assumptions to discover better ways to connect. She’s also an active photographer, gamer, and hobby farmer. Lisa’s expertise in MarCom is demonstrated through nearly 25 years of working with industry-leading brands such as Siemens Enterprise Communication, Unify, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Atos.

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