Disrupting the CX contact center experience with AI-powered smart routing

CX contact center
The Times of India | August 24, 2022 | CX Contact Center

How many times have you called customer support and received a satisfactory resolution in less than a minute? 

Calling customer support can be a frustrating experience for most of us. True, things have evolved from those days when you were put on hold for prolonged periods while listening to piped Mozart or Beethoven. And IVR menus are more intelligently driven these days. Yet, calling a contact center is just not something we look forward to. And that’s because you know you must spend a lot of time explaining your problem or struggle with finding the right agent. And this is after you have navigated past the chatbot loop and IVR menus in the first place!

In today’s digital era, the contact center remains the pillar of human connection between a customer and a brand. And these connections matter now more than ever. In an increasingly competitive landscape, loyalty to a brand is often driven by great CX. Yes, product matters. Price matters. But trust me, service is equally important. Experience is everything. As a user, we crave highly integrated contact center experiences.

Yet, brands find it challenging to deliver seamless, integrated CX experiences. 

And often, that’s because customers aren’t connected to the right agent. When every customer interaction is personalized and routed to the best agent, you create better experiences and optimize your contact center KPIs. Contact centers try hard, but they don’t always succeed in this. 

But we are closer now to realizing that because that sort of personalized experience is possible through predictive routing. Highly customer-obsessed companies are increasingly putting personalization at the center of their CX strategies—hyper-personalization matters. When you assess the personality type of a customer right at the beginning of a call, you are laying the foundation for a great CX journey. 

Think about it. A typical customer contact center has agents with different personalities. Customers come with their own unique traits and businesses. No two agents are the same. And no two customers are the same either. The question is: How can you capitalize on these different personalities to drive consistent, measurable improvements? – With AI-powered smart routing. 

Personalize customer experience with AI-powered smart routing

AI can be a valuable tool for customer service management and personalization challenges” – McKinsey, Driving Impact at Scale from Automation and AI, Feb 2019

These days, I see many companies investing in AI not for immediate return but for long-term digital transformation. 

These are companies that recognize AI’s ability to improve their contact center performance. We have already seen many applications of AI in the CX space, whether through AI-enabled conversational assistants or AI-powered human agents. But what I see as being of immense promise is AI-driven smart routing or predictive call routing. 

Predictive behavioral call routing isn’t new, of course. It has been around since 2014. And contact centers have, for decades, been using skills-based routing – pairing an agent with the right skills for the type of assistance the customer requires. But AI improves on this considerably, using behavioral algorithms gathered from thousands of data points to match callers with specific personality traits to those agents with those traits. Call it sophisticated customer-agent matchmaking in finding your contact center soulmate!

When contact centers use the data capabilities of AI to match customers with the agents that match their personalities, values, and behaviors, they are immediately creating deeper connections. Such intelligent pairing creates better relationships. 

And better relationships mean a happier customer. We know what a happy customer means to a business! AI-powered smart routing also does more – it provides agents with context. With this context, a customer does not have to re-explain their problem because historical data shows the customer’s previous interactions. Predictive analytics determines, based on patterns and usage, what the problem may be. With this context, you also understand customer intent and emotion. The result?

  • Improvements in sales rates
  • Reduced costs through time optimization
  • Improved operational efficiency 
  • Greater customer retention
  • More conversions
  • Reduced call times

AI-driven routing also ensures that the model learns from each interaction, improving and optimizing customer experience each time. This is something that we at CSS Corp have also been using through the AI-powered CSS EDISON® Routing Manager and we’ve found significant improvements in first contact resolution (FCR) rates and higher customer satisfaction scores. 

The CX space has been ripe for disruption for a while now. AI-driven predictive routing is that disruption. This decade is the decade of the customer. Seamless, hyper-personalized experiences across all channels will make all the difference to the customer’s experience in a post-pandemic landscape. We are only just getting started on this journey.