Unlocking the Potential of Generative AI in Customer Service

Investing smartly while spending less is the name of the game, and generative artificial intelligence (AI) is shaking up the customer service landscape, especially in contact centers. It’s all about channeling resources into more empathetic customer interactions through enhanced AI, complemented by well-trained human staff primed to handle critical queries.


In recent times, there’s been a concerted effort to democratize conversational AI development, making it more accessible even to those without deep expertise, all the while keeping customer experience (CX) intact with minimal investment.


According to a recent survey by Gartner, despite economic pressures, only a meager 7 percent of chief financial officers plan to cut customer service spending in the next year. In contrast, 21 percent are gearing up to increase their investment, with the majority, 72 percent, maintaining current spending levels.


Generative AI is now enabling further reduction in the need for specialized expertise across various domains such as natural language understanding and custom integrations. This not only slashes costs but also levels the playing field for conversational user experience (UX) development. We’re transitioning into an era where business needs dictate AI application rather than the technology dictating its own limits.


Yet, there’s still plenty of uncharted territory to navigate. Generative AI is poised to revolutionize the operational framework of contact centers. Let’s delve into how it’s poised to elevate customer service applications and redefine roles within contact centers.

The Impact of Gen AI on Customer Service Applications

Generative AI has paved the way for a plethora of new functionalities like Q&A bots and self-service options, ready to be seamlessly integrated into applications. Voice and chatbots can now compile and deliver information in record time.


Conversational AI bots have upped their game, becoming more contextually aware, adept at maintaining conversational context, and even capable of fostering rapport. For instance, it’s now feasible for a conversational AI bot to adeptly handle upselling and cross-selling without extensive fine-tuning for each scenario.


While doubts persisted about AI’s ability to manage the entire customer service lifecycle independently, generative AI has quelled much of that skepticism. An AI-first approach is proving to be more effective than the traditional human-first call center model.

The Reshaping of Roles in the Contact Center

Generative AI is not just transforming customer service applications; it’s also reshaping the roles of customer service agents and business analysts. Extracting relevant information from structured and unstructured data is becoming easier, and technical barriers to leveraging AI for efficiency in contact centers are diminishing rapidly.


Training the workforce is becoming more streamlined, resulting in heightened productivity and quicker skill acquisition. Given that contact centers grapple with high churn rates—averaging 30 to 40 percent, sometimes even hitting 60 percent—making training more effective through generative AI is critical for their evolution.


Knowledge bases are now able to furnish answers to customer queries at a faster pace, aiding both customer support and agent training. This data also fuels generative AI systems for continuous learning, fostering a symbiotic relationship between AI and humans.


Generative AI will also redefine the roles of agents and supervisors within contact centers. Agents and supervisors alike will evolve into orchestrators of AI, bringing contact centers closer to an AI-first approach with human oversight.

Looking Ahead for Contact Centers

Despite the advent of generative AI, the importance of data quality remains paramount. Generative AI doesn’t equate to achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI) or anything close to it. Specialization of large language models is crucial for cost efficiency and maintaining task-specific accuracy.


Generative AI empowers us to build integrations, drive conversations, and create functionalities at a fraction of the cost with minimal resources, maximizing fulfillment. However, to fully harness its benefits, we must establish control, governance, and explainability.


The inherent non-determinism of generative AI doesn’t mean it’s unpredictable. Responsible management and security protocols will instill confidence in organizations to scale their AI strategies. Vendors capable of developing and managing specialized large language models will wield a potent tool in their tech arsenal, empowering contact centers to thrive in this new era.