— December 26, 2018
You’ve got your game face on. You’re prepared for the future of customer service. And you’re ready for your outsourced customer service RFP to hit the road and bring you some stellar options for a new contact center partner. But are you asking the right questions about artificial intelligence? While AI capabilities in the contact center are still evolving, AI offers powerful opportunities to drive cost out of your business and improve the customer experience (and let’s be real, a growing segment of consumers simply prefer automated or self-serve support) – so asking your potential strategic partners the right questions is critical.
We want to make it easy for you. Here’s the short list of the best questions to ask about AI in the contact center.
CAPABILITIES & PROCESS
Let’s start at the foundation. A potential contact center partner should be able to articulate their particular capabilities and processes in regards to AI solutions. In their answers to the following questions, they should be addressing chatbots, self-service, machine learning, big data, and more.
Additionally, test the maturity of their AI solutions – how they have evolved those solutions over time, and how they are prepared for future updates. You need a trusted partner who knows what they’re doing and aims to stay ahead of the curve.
#1 Describe your current AI capabilities and services.
#2 How long have you been delivering AI solutions as part of your contact center services?
#3 How are you prepared for the future of AI?
BALANCING MAN & MACHINE
AI can be a powerful tool, but it is just one cog in the customer care engine. AI should enhance the customer experience through seamless, elegant integration with live agent support – allowing agents to focus on higher value or higher complexity scenarios requiring human intelligence and decision-making. Chatbots and other tools can handle straightforward transactional interactions – at large volume and with an impressive capacity for personalization – but when customer support scenarios get complex or things simply go sideways, humans must be there to take care of the customer.
#4 Provide a sample playbook (or process flow) for escalating a customer service interaction from AI to live agents.
#5 What KPIs/metrics do you measure in tracking the effectiveness of your escalations from AI to live agent? (Example: time to answer, critical alert wait time, transfer request accept rate, transferred chats cancelled in queue)
INTEGRATION & MIGRATION
You might be excited by the concept of adding AI to your omnichannel offering, but many companies are equally intimidated by the thought of implementing it into their business.
Migrating and integrating AI into your existing infrastructure poses some challenges, not least of which are inefficiencies, downtime, and duplicated processes. Your contact center partner must be prepared to tackle every possible challenge and set you up for efficiency and success.
#6 What IT resources can you provide to support the migration and integration of AI into our customer service solution?
#7 Provide an example of a successful implementation of AI into an existing customer care solution. Include implementation timelines and resources required on both the client/contact center sides of the equation.
AI for the sake of AI doesn’t automatically take your business to the next level of success. You need to ensure that your customer support solution is being measured holistically, particularly when you introduce AI as part of an efficiency initiative. Metrics like AHT and FCR are basic enough; find out how your potential vendor is also measuring customer experience and satisfaction – and how that is impacted by AI.
#8 What KPIs or other metrics do you use to assess the performance of your AI tools?
#9 How do you measure the impact and effectiveness of your AI strategy?
#10 What steps do you take outcomes of your AI strategy are falling short of expectations?
Let’s face it, you may not want to be the guinea pig when it comes to AI. Get some case studies from similar projects your potential vendor has worked on. If possible, even get some references from their existing client base. Ideally, their experience with AI is in a similar industry vertical or service type to your own.
#11 What similar projects are you currently using AI technology for? Describe the project and your approach for implementing AI tools. What results have you seen?
Asking the Right Questions About AI in the Contact Center
At the end of the day, contact center AI is about enhancing the customer experience. Knowing that a potential contact center partner has AI options in their toolkit isn’t enough. Your RFP process can go deeper, asking pointed questions about their capabilities, processes, success measurements, and real-life examples.