Don’t Fear the Artificial Intelligence Boogeyman

Throughout history, the boogeyman has taken many different forms as mythical lore used by parents to keep children in line. Scared children are less likely to take chances. Unfortunately, the boogeyman mythology has spread outside the household and is now applied to changes in our society. It’s particularly prevalent when it comes to changes in technology. I see it as a mindset that holds you back from taking advantage of new technologies and moving your business forward. So, come with me as we dispel the mythical artificial intelligence (AI) boogeyman that preys on today’s contact center professionals.

 What’s behind the AI boogeyman?

It’s a simple fear that keeps us grounded in place when AI offers proven technical, financial and customer experience benefits. The fear is often reinforced by adherents of legacy systems, who perceive AI as a threat to outdated infrastructures. This leads to three common reasons why contact center professionals tell me they hesitate to take the first step to AI nirvana:

  1. I don’t know where to start and it’s scary

In The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, a local haunted house terrified Don Knotts, to the point that even opening the front gate caused panic. But he had to face this fear if he wanted to advance his career. Once inside, he discovered that the “unexplained events” were just a hoax to scare him off. Sounds a bit like companies that are trying to keep you on legacy systems.

Many customers I speak with are almost frozen in analysis paralysis. The truth is, it’s pretty easy to begin your AI journey by building simple bots that address your narrowly focused problems and desired outcomes.  Start with a simple use case from your existing IVR and enable just that function, even if it seems overly simple. Once you get that use case working effectively, you can expand to add additional functionality. We’ve found an added benefit in some real-world examples. Reviewing the log of customer requests to your bot gives you great insight into what customers want and what might be the next best candidate for automation.

  1. It’s too expensive for my contact center

Entry-level costs may surprise you. It’s easy to start small, such as using bots to enhance knowledge search, answer FAQs and provide basic support.

Let’s flip the coin: What does it cost to not move to AI technology? An outdated infrastructure requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades, as well as custom integration work to connect channels and applications. And legacy voice-centric PBX/ACD call center platforms were not designed to support omnichannel engagement, nor the high expectations of today’s consumers. The limitations of these tools and the delays in deploying AI require more investment of money and resources in outdated systems.

In addition to infrastructure savings, contact center operational savings significantly outweigh the nominal costs of AI. For example, the Genesys testing team processed over 250,000 self-service calls during our load testing that resulted in a total Amazon Lex cost of $2,000. To put this in context, if this saves a contact center 1 minute on each of these calls, at $15 per hour for an agent it would save you $62,500 in agent costs!

  1. It’s too complex for my needs

Some people fear the complexity as if opening the door will lead to an AI rabbit hole filled with sentient machines. And once in, you’ll be lost in complexity that’s way beyond your needs and understanding. Deploying AI solutions is a lot less like Thomas Anderson’s nightmare in The Matrix than you might think.

Simplicity is one of the drivers behind our integration with Amazon Lex. You can quickly create true conversational-based voice responses that extend beyond speech recognition to Natural Language Understanding (NLU). A great example of this is an integration we were able to easily set up, integrate, and activate a bot to manage time and attendance for a remote care provider use case. And all it took was half a day. From here, the bot could be expanded to add more use cases around time-off management, sickness reporting, and schedule tracking in a very simple manner.

Bust the AI Boogeyman

Twenty years ago, every company needed a website, and just five years ago every company needed an app. Now every business needs to offer a great customer experience with AI and bots driving differentiation and success.

If you wait too long to try, it may become increasingly difficult to recover or catch up in today’s fast-moving markets. The good news is that the AI boogeyman is easily tamed when you commit to taking that first step. It’s not that scary or difficult to begin. In fact, there’s no good reason not to give it a shot.

Join us for a hands-on introduction to building your own bot in an upcoming webinar, Build a bot with the Genesys PureCloud platform and Amazon Lex.