AI-Powered Contact Centers: Kevin Jones' Vision for India's Future

Silicon India recently got an opportunity to interact with Kevin, wherein he shared his insights on the current technology landscape, latest tech trends and future prospects. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview –

Holding a BBA degree in Finance from James Madison University and having completed the Executive Training Program from Indiana University - Kelley School of Business, Kevin is a seasoned industry expert with over three decades of experience in diverse tech verticals. Prior to Calabrio, he has successfully handled key roles across various companies such as Rackspace Technology, MV Transportation, DXC Technology, HP, Dell, and EDC.

What are your thoughts on rapid tech advancements that we are witnessing in recent times?
The technology landscape has undergone a comprehensive transformation over the last few decades and has now become an integral facet of nearly every facet of our lives. I consider myself fortunate to have pursued a career in technology, a field brimming with some of the most creative innovators and highly skilled professionals. It all began with mainframe computing and gradually progressed through client-server models, mobile computing, cloud computing, and most recently, the era of software and artificial intelligence.

As a result, I consistently advise my clients who aspire to maintain a competitive edge in the market that embracing change should be an inherent part of their organizational DNA. Organizational transformation stands as a pivotal element of a successful business strategy in today's dynamic landscape.

Furthermore, I emphasize that organizations should exercise discretion rather than hastily adopting every new technology that emerges in the market. It is essential to meticulously analyze the potential benefits in terms of cost savings, process efficiency, and various other aspects before incorporating any new technology into their operations.

"Regarding the contact center landscape, there is an ongoing discourse concerning the anticipated trajectory of contact center agent numbers, with arguments both for an increase and a decrease."

How can organizations leverage cutting-edge technologies like AI to improve customer experience?
In light of the ever-evolving preferences of consumers in today's dynamic business environment, organizations are significantly adopting state-of-the-art technologies to enhance their offerings of superior products and services. To illustrate, at Calabrio, we currently leverage artificial intelligence (AI) for approximately 98 percent of our quality evaluations. As a genuine cloud platform, we seamlessly incorporate cloud-native AI tools into our operations.

The deployment of AI and machine learning (ML) for predictive analysis, including net promoter score assessment, predictive valuation, and sentiment analysis, has empowered us to accurately anticipate customer behavior and gain deep insights into their perceptions of our products. Moreover, generative AI has emerged as a transformative force, enabling businesses to excel in three key domains: summarizing customer interactions, benchmarking performance, and analyzing sentiments. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots are revolutionizing the customer support landscape by addressing inquiries round the clock with minimal to zero human intervention.

Do you think AI is capable of outperforming human intelligence?
I hold the view that customer interactions will invariably encompass a blend of preferences, with certain customers favoring human interactions and others gravitating toward textual conversations, bypassing direct human engagement. While the utilization of AI for automation is poised to expand across various use cases, I remain steadfast in my belief that the necessity for human intervention will persist. Nonetheless, when gauging performance capabilities, AI is undoubtedly poised to surpass human capabilities across a majority of organizational functions. Additionally, a paramount advantage of AI integration lies in its ability to democratize access to data.

"With a growing use of AI-driven solutions, agents are required to bolster their critical thinking skills and adaptability to navigate the evolving workplace."

How do you expect the customer experience landscape to evolve in the coming years?
Regarding the contact center landscape, there is an ongoing discourse concerning the anticipated trajectory of contact center agent numbers, with arguments both for an increase and a decrease. However, I hold the perspective that there will be a sustained rise in automation, resulting in a reduction of voice-based interactions with human agents and a concomitant increase in automated textual and verbal interactions facilitated by AI-integrated chatbots.

Generative AI is enabling businesses to create new capabilities across three major areas – summarizing customer interactions, benchmarking performance and analyzing sentiments

Could you kindly provide insights and predictions regarding the future of contact centers in India?
The future of contact centers in India is one full of opportunity and rapid growth. As AI advances, we expect companies to not only embrace change but also double down on their investments in contact center technology to enhance customer experiences.

AI and automation are making a big impact in contact centers. According to an NTT report, it's projected that by 2024, only 34% of customer experience interactions will be human led. This indicates a rise in AI-powered omnichannel interactions. Customer-facing bots are becoming tools that enhance agent and manager productivity by handling manual tasks, allowing human agents to focus on delivering superior customer experiences.

The role of contact center agents is also undergoing a fundamental shift. With a growing use of AI-driven solutions, agents are required to bolster their critical thinking skills and adaptability to navigate the evolving workplace. Our upcoming 'State of the Contact Center' report highlights that critical thinking skills are both highly valued and often lacking among agents. The report also reveals only 45% of contact center managers believe that agents currently possess all the necessary skills to excel in the future. Bridging this training gap becomes critical.

Another key aspect of contact center transformation is the cloud. AI's potential is maximized through cloud infrastructure, which enables seamless integration and scalability. The migration to the cloud is an inevitable progression that contact centers must embrace, or risk becoming extinct. Currently, only 30% of the contact center market operates in the cloud, indicating a large opportunity for growth and innovation.

It’s clear that the contact center industry is rapidly changing. We are committed to helping businesses adapt, evolve, and excel in this shifting landscape.