Author: Brendan Strain
Latest posts by Author: Brendan Strain (see all)

The pandemic gravely affected the contact center industry, and as a result, more organizations are looking to leverage collaborative intelligence in their operations.

From hurried digital transformations to hiring and retention issues, contact centers have been forced to find new ways to adapt to customer and business demands. Over the past several years, we’ve also seen the rapid rise of artificial intelligence (AI), which has changed the contact center industry, with AI tools used in new ways.

The use of AI in the contact center space shows no signs of slowing down. The global call center AI market is expected to reach $7.5 billion by 2023

What’s collaborative intelligence all about? And how can you use it effectively for your contact center?   

Let’s take a look.  

What is Collaborative Intelligence?

Collaborative intelligence is the combination of people, platforms, and partners. Each makes up an integral part of the equation, with the concept of collaborative intelligence recognizing that no single individual or entity has all the necessary expertise or information to tackle complex challenges effectively.

Collaborative intelligence leverages technology and communication tools to facilitate participant collaboration and information sharing. It can be found in various industries, such as business, academia, government, and research. It’s particularly valuable in fields that require multidisciplinary approaches or where problems are too complex for a single individual or organization to solve alone.

For example, many contact centers focus more on incorporating Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs or chatbots into their workflow. These are used to handle routine customer inquiries and provide initial support.

The AI system uses machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to respond to customers, and human agents collaborate with these AI systems. By allowing AI and humans to work together, you can create a better customer experience, from faster response times to ensuring customers receive accurate information.

People

There’s no question that AI technology is great, but you still need people, as they’re the backbone of your company.

To keep people engaged in their roles, AI can be used to improve processes or remove repetition.

According to a Gartner report, “while people may call in for hundreds of different reasons, frequently there is a base of common call flows (perhaps ranging from five to 15) representing more than 80% of demand.”

Your employees can focus on more critical business tasks by freeing up some of their time.

Collaborative intelligence relies on what people can bring to the table: curiosity, insight, empathy, cultural and geographic context, etc.

Ultimately, people bring innovation to life — by creating technology, automation, and more. People also build and foster relationships, which is essential to ensuring a top-level customer experience.

Platforms

A key part of collaborative intelligence is using a contact center platform that leverages AI. The platform should bring scalability, integration, connections to other data, and workflows that let people solve other people’s problems and issues.

Platforms give people the tools to achieve customer goals and deliver connected customer experiences. While some may think leveraging AI platforms in the contact center space is about replacing people, it isn’t. It’s about adding a force multiplier to help everyone work smarter and taking a collaborative approach to creating a more seamless customer journey.

A few ways that an intelligent platform can improve contact center operations include:

  • Customer Support
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • Call Routing & Escalation
  • Virtual Agents
  • Automated Surveys and Feedback
  • Sentiment Analysis
  • Knowledge Base Access
  • Multichannel Support

Partners

With more contact centers looking for BPO opportunities, partners are an essential part of collaborative intelligence.

In terms of collaborative intelligence, partners are outside companies that provide additional technology or supportive services and work with you to achieve a common goal.

Partners offer new solutions, technological innovations, fresh perspectives, and subject matter expertise, making them an essential component of collaborative intelligence.

Ideas for Leveraging Collaborative Intelligence

You’re likely wondering exactly how to incorporate collaborative intelligence into your contact center operations.

I asked our partner Five9 for their input on using collaborative intelligence.

 

#1. Adopt a user-centric platform

Great tech will amplify the user experience for employees and customers and open the door to better efficiencies across the board.

With enhanced training and optimization of AI technology, companies can create more valuable self-service experiences. By building and training language models, companies can improve their understanding of customers and effectively communicate with them through digital channels.

The ideal platform should encompass cloud-based, low-code development tools and an omnichannel solution that integrates all touchpoints. It should support robust integrations with other essential platforms and databases, leverage the capabilities of conversational AI, and offer limitless scalability and feature upgrades.

 

#2. Make the most of AI

Old, outdated tech doesn’t allow for true collaborative intelligence. With AI platforms evolving quickly, you can’t afford to be left behind using old tools.

Some ways to do this include:

Use conversational AI and NLP to offer customers the ability to self-serve. Not only can these interactions help your customers get the answers they need, but they also serve to collect valuable data and intelligence that can be used to improve the overall customer experience.

Use language translation capabilities to expand your ability to serve customers and support agents with multi-lingual requests.

Leverage AI’s ability to analyze conversations so customers can be routed correctly for faster solutions.

 

#3. Leverage agent assist tools

Agent assist can be a valuable tool for helping to get rid of the busy work and foster collaborative intelligence by giving your agents real-time support and coaching.

Knowing that not all tech is equal, focusing on what features your agent assist tools offer is crucial. The aim is to remove tasks from your human agents, not to add complication.

Your agents should also be able to review and rate the tech they’re using so that it’s constantly learning and improving to meet your company’s needs.

#4. Invite employees on the journey

One of the biggest mistakes when implementing a collaborative intelligence model is not including the team in the process.

Not having your team involved with tech implementation or optimization means you’re missing critical insights from the people who use it daily.

When you approach the AI journey, instead of thinking about doing it for the agents, think about how you can do it with them. Your employees want to feel they have a voice and that their feedback matters.

Remember, your tools are only as good as those who use them, so if you want them to buy in, giving employees an active role in the journey will make it that much easier.

Collaborative Intelligence is Here to Stay

As you can see, collaborative intelligence has emerged as a powerful approach for contact centers to navigate the challenges brought about by the pandemic and the rapidly evolving customer expectations.

By combining the strengths of people, platforms, and partners, organizations can harness the benefits of AI technology while recognizing the critical role of human expertise and interaction.

As the contact center landscape continues to evolve, organizations embracing collaborative intelligence will be well-positioned to thrive and drive meaningful connections with their customers.