Observe.AI , an Intelligent Workforce Platform that transforms contact centers through AI, unveiled its latest research, State of Contact Center Conversation Intelligence 2022. The report details the current landscape of Conversation Intelligence in contact centers, including technology investments, business needs and challenges, use cases, future planning, and outlook.

Latest Aithority Insights: Why Contextual Targeting Deserves Another Look with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

“There’s no longer a debate on whether Conversation Intelligence is worth the investment, and adoption is no longer a question of if, but when”

The findings highlight the industry’s continued struggle with the Customer Experience Paradox – in which consumer expectations and technology investments continue to rise, but customer experience and business outcomes fail to improve. Despite increased technology budgets and spending, many contact center leaders feel unprepared to succeed and that their agents are underperforming.

However, contact centers adopting Conversation Intelligence report higher agent-customer interaction visibility that drives more robust coaching programs, majority top-performing agents, and greater confidence about the future of their business.

Key takeaways from the report include:

Technology spending is up, yet half of contact centers don’t feel very prepared for the future. While 81% of contact centers reported higher annual software budgets, 48% do not feel “very prepared” for the future. This concern was primarily attributed to not having the right technology and/or strategy in place to improve business results, despite increased budgets and spending.

AI and ML NewsWhy SMBs Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Agent teams suffer from too many bottom performers. Contact centers were asked to qualify the makeup of their agents with regards to top, average, and bottom performers. A startling 22% considered the majority of their agents to be “bottom performers” that negatively impact both the top and bottom line. They identified the business impact of bottom performers as low CSAT, low revenue growth, low volume of answered and/or resolved interactions, increased risk of non-compliance, poor operational efficiency, and low employee satisfaction.

Despite wide adoption of AI and automation, contact centers still rely too much on manual processes – making it impossible to achieve complete visibility or accelerate critical workflows. Just 16% of respondents analyze every agent-customer interaction, meaning they have only partial visibility into business-critical factors. 67% still use manual processes to analyze interactions, whether exclusively or in combination with AI. 21% of contact centers rely solely on completely manual processes for interaction transcription and analysis.

Contact centers are also bogged down by unscientific methods and tool juggling. Nearly half (49%) of contact centers continue to use antiquated spreadsheets and/or rudimentary word processing documents as the basis for evaluating and analyzing interactions. 70% of respondents use two or more tools for agent-customer interaction analysis, forcing operators to jump from solution to solution. This increased complexity, inefficiency, and risk of human error leaves the business vulnerable to incidents like compliance failures, which cost an average of $4.24M per breach.

Contact centers that leverage Conversation Intelligence report better agent performance, more robust formal coaching programs, and faster QA workflows. ​​82% of contact centers that reported their agents consisted of “mostly top performers” used a Conversation Intelligence solution. 90% of respondents agreed that Conversation Intelligence improved agent performance programs, and 94% agreed it enabled better agent coaching. Those using Conversation Intelligence were more than 5.3X likely to implement formal coaching programs.

Contact centers that invest in Conversation Intelligence feel their business is better prepared for the future. Contact centers using Conversation Intelligence were 10X more likely to feel “very prepared” for the future than those without. In addition, those who cited their agents comprised “mostly top performers” were nearly 4X more likely to feel “very prepared” for the future.”

“There’s no longer a debate on whether Conversation Intelligence is worth the investment, and adoption is no longer a question of if, but when,” said Swapnil Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of Observe.AI. “Whether a contact center’s focus is on service, sales, or both, visibility into agent-customer interactions is key to accelerating workflows that drive revenue and growth.”

Report Background & Methodology

Observe.AI commissioned Zogby Analytics to survey 307 North American contact center leaders across industries. 35% of respondents represented enterprises with $500 million+ in revenue, and 52% had employee counts greater than 500. Top industries represented include financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and ecommerce, and consumer goods and technology.