If you're a contact center decision-maker and you aren't yet familiar with machine learning, then now is the time to dive into the subject. Machine learning isn't exactly a new technology, but its impact is poised to skyrocket in the contact center - not just in 2016, but in the years to come, as well.
What makes machine learning so invaluable here? To understand that, you first need to recognize how the technology works and what opportunities that opens up in the contact center.
Understanding machine learning
First things first: What is machine learning?
Machine learning is, basically, a form of artificial intelligence. Computer programs examine data and use the insights they discover to improve their analytics capabilities. Over time, and with more data exposure, machine learning can deliver increasingly valuable results.
Machine learning is already playing a large and growing role in the business landscape. Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner with Battery Ventures, told Xconomy that machine learning has already significantly advanced the field of cybersecurity, helping companies keep their data and other digital assets safe from cyberattacks. Recently, researchers at MIT developed a method of using machine learning to correct errors in buggy code, enabling firms to improve their application offerings, InfoWorld reported. And Susan Athey, a professor in the economics of technology at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, told Forbes that machine learning "will have an enormous impact" on economics in the short run.
Machine learning is having a wide-ranging impact.
Machine learning in the contact center
So how does machine learning fit into the contact center?
As Contact Center Analytics Review contributor Michelle Amodio explained, machine learning is related to, but distinct from, data mining. The two technologies have similar methodologies, but different results. Specifically, Amodio noted that machine learning can provide a boost to predictive analytics and real-time decision-making.
"Machine learning can help navigate the many channels that customers use to contact the companies they choose to do business with," Amodio wrote. "In terms of social media, customer service and marketing teams can use the knowledge gained from machine learning analytics and respond to customers using the channel of their choice and to structure their brand response and digital customer care strategies at scale."
This can have two key impacts on the contact center. First, with the guidance that machine learning provides, contact center personnel will be able to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively, driving down the attrition rate.
Second, machine learning can provide a boost to contact center revenue, as ICMI contributor Richard Craib explained. The writer went on to detail how, in 2014, his organization started to apply machine learning to call center lead lists as a means of identifying new sales opportunities. As a result, call center sales shot up 36 percent. Best of all, Craib noted that leveraging machine learning in this capacity isn't difficult or time-consuming to implement.
All of this makes it clear why machine learning is poised to see its popularity grow among businesses in general and in the contact center in particular, in the coming year and beyond.
What are your company's plans to leverage machine learning in 2016?