The Service Desk of Digital Times

25% of customer service and support operations will integrate VCA by 2020

As companies are looking to increase customer engagement with lofty digital goals, the evolution of a smarter service center goes hand in hand with the maturation of AI technologies. Speaking at the Gartner Customer Experience Summit in Tokyo last month, Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner, said more than half of organizations have already invested in VCAs for customer service, as they realize the advantages of automated self-service together with the ability to escalate to a human agent in complex situations.

The expectation is even more optimistic. Still, according to Gartner, 25 percent of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020. This is supported by improvements in machine-learning and natural-language processing technologies.

It’s a Business Matter

Organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA, according to Gartner research. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 percent saving per voice engagement.

The consumer service of the digital era is more than just information. It enriches the customer experience with the brand, assisting the customer throughout their interaction and shopping journey.  Chatbots and self-service should be fully optimized to engage customers effectively. That’s why the evolution of technology has resulted in semi-autonomous service centers that enable service everywhere, running and automating natural transitions between traditional self-service technologies and a human agent. It’s the collaboration between technology with humans that results in benefits for clients and companies.

According to Forrester, “blended AI” will disrupt customer service and sales strategies. Business requirements and end-user expectations will merge in call centers and drive productivity across all departments of the company while delivering superior service experience. For leaders, enterprise service management is a key solution for better performance, greater engagement, productivity and satisfaction while lowering costs.

In addition to the power and productivity of AI harnessed for customer service, AI and automation will also disrupt the jobs of over a million customer service agents over the next four years, according to Gartner.

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