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The importance of conversational AI in contact centres
Tue, 10th Oct 2023

8x8, a prominent integrated cloud contact centre and unified communications platform provider, has published the 2023 State of Conversational AI in the Contact Centre report. This revealing study underscores IT and contact centre leaders' assertion that conversational AI is the future of the contact centre industry, demonstrating how it is currently being applied via automation.

The report revealed several key findings. A significant 94% of UK respondents rate voice chatbots as valuable, compared to 68% in the US. Furthermore, 93% of UK respondents pinpoint workforce management (WFM) as a top-two interest for employing AI, and 63% are utilising AI to bolster WFM. Turning to conversational AI benefits, 41% of respondents argue that companies that don't adopt conversational AI capabilities risk falling behind.

Regarding investment in conversational AI, 52% have already devoted resources, 44% plan to adopt, and just 4% express no plans to do so. Contact centre and IT leaders are capitalising on AI and automation to tackle increasing support volume, staffing struggles, and a need to be more cost-efficient. Of the organisations that have invested in conversational AI for the contact centre, 92% claim it has resolved customer issues faster, reduced effort for agents (87%), and minimised the cost of contact centre operations (53%).

In the UK, a remarkable 94% of respondents view voice chatbots as a high priority for AI-based capabilities for contact centre and customer support operations, compared to 68% in the US. However, despite increasing use and interest, trust remains a hurdle for Generative AI. While 64% of respondents say they would very much or utterly trust Generative AI to answer customer questions, trust wanes when it comes to engaging directly with customers (24%) and guiding contact centre agents (23%).

To further corroborate these findings, Metrigy's Customer Experience Optimisation: 2023-24 report discovered that 51% of CX leaders recognise AI investment in customer engagement as a top priority. Successful organisations leveraging AI for customer engagement observed a 38% revenue increase, a 36% boost in agent efficiency and a 46% uptick in customer ratings, reducing operational costs by 6%.

Commenting on the insights, Hunter Middleton, Chief Product Officer at 8x8, stated, "At 8x8, we understand how the contact centre industry can shift and change—especially as new technologies are introduced, tested, and standardised—and we are proud to always be at the forefront of that changing technology landscape. It's important to understand the needs and requirements of organisations, including how they actually use the different technologies available to them. We are committed to working closely with our customers to deliver AI-driven tools and resources, such as 8x8 Intelligent Customer Assistant, to help drive their digital transformation and business success initiatives."

The survey included more than 300 business leaders in Contact Centre, Customer Support, Customer Experience, Customer Care, Customer Success, IT, IT Help Desk, IT/Vendor Procurement, and Operations roles. The geographical focus was on the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, and it ran between May and June 2023. The respondents worked in organisations with over 250 employees, and all held managerial positions or above.