Recent experience has taught me that perceptions of applied AI in the contact center generally fall into two categories. There is the “magic bullet” camp that perceives AI as the glorious solution to all problems that have ever existed, and there are the “healthy skeptics” that believe that AI is too expensive, out of reach, and overly complicated for their environment. Unsurprisingly, there is a bit of truth in each perspective, with reality living somewhere in that grayish middle ground. You may be asking “how do I know if it makes sense for me and my environment?” The good news is that there is a repeatable pattern to help you answer that very question.

Identify pain points

Okay, this seems simple, right? Maybe not. Focus on the sources of friction for your business. What are the top reasons a customer needs assistance from your contact center? How many times do they have to contact you to resolve a problem? Are there processes for your employees that cause friction? While it is easy to focus on delighting the user with incredible experiences, all they really want is an easy solution to their problem.

Align objectives

How can automation help ease the pain points? Is there a way to improve self-service or streamline repeatable processes? Aligning these efforts to organizational objectives like cost reduction or increased satisfaction can help drive acceptance and funding.

Prioritize solutions

Having several solid opportunities is a good problem to have. It might sound really cool to tackle everything at once, but how often do such expansive efforts succeed? Thinking about your specific opportunities, are some inherently more complicated than others? What about overall value? As you work through this phase of the process, you will hopefully find the couple examples that are both high value and low complexity – this is where you should start. Attempting to boil the ocean can be fun, but I would rather take a quick win and build the momentum for future projects instead.

Define success

What does success look like? Are you trying to move the needle on a key metric? Maybe it’s a cost play. Regardless of the goal, set a target for success and measure your new solution against it. “Hey, we did this cool stuff with AI” isn’t quite as compelling of a story as “we saved x, and improved y.”

The benefits of AI are numerous but to reap the rewards you need to start with a solid business plan. Investing the time to thoroughly address these four questions is the first step to a successful and transformative AI experience.

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