Brian Tuite is co-founder and CEO of zenaratea leader in developing best-performing customer-facing teams through AI Conversation Simulation.
Emerging AI technologies enable leaders to transform their businesses and employees to improve performance. However, as AI technologies advance rapidly, choosing the right solution can be daunting, especially within the contact center industry.
This article outlines several best practices for selecting from a rapidly increasing number of AI technologies to improve contact center service and performance. These practices can give you the best chance for transformative success and to create a rallying cry for innovation rather than a headwind of fear.
Step 1: Feeling the Pain
The first step in your new AI adoption is to identify the pain caused by the problem you are trying to solve. When you find an important problem, your team should feel the pain and be just as excited as you are to solve the problem. If your team doesn’t feel the pain with you, take a break to re-evaluate your goal. If the problem isn’t obvious, you’re probably getting caught up in the age-old “hammer looking for the nail” software problem, which rarely works. To select AI technology that will be a success for you and your team, you must first clearly identify your problem and then find the exact right solution to fix it (no pun intended)!
Step 2: Finding the Right Solution
The second step is to find the right solution to solve your problem and take your pain away. So how do you go about finding the right solution? Whatever problem you solve, you’ll be in one of these three buckets.
1. There is no solution.
This is very possible. Driving through heavy traffic is time consuming and often frustrating. Wouldn’t it be great if you could teleport to your destination? This solution simply does not exist today.
2. The solution exists, but is not widely used.
Chances are this is your situation, but you are not aware. So, how do you find out if the right solution exists? Talk to respected colleagues, conduct Google research, view G2 crowd solutions and user feedback (G2 is the Yelp of software), participate in industry roundtables and attend industry conferences where you can walk around the show floor to explore available AI technology and identify suppliers who are working to solve your specific problem.
3. The solution is widely accepted and you are behind.
It is difficult to keep up with technological developments in the contact center industry. The fact is, you are usually an early adopter or a late mover, and both have their pros and cons. Early adopters are pioneers and are more likely to reap the benefits than late movers; however, there is a significant risk that new vendors will “pass the test of time” with immature technology to their early adopters, which can be painful and even debilitating. Late movers will miss out on early benefits, but the seller is much more likely to deliver on his promise after learning from his many past mistakes.
Step 3: Select a supplier
Tip 1: Identify suppliers who are known for solving your specific problem. Be wary of suppliers who promise they can solve your problem when they are known for solving another – chances are they are good at what they are known for, but not so good at the specific solution you are looking for.
Tip 2: Prioritize the leading supplier known for solving your specific problem. This gives you the best chance of success in the short and long term. In Silicon Valley, it is common knowledge that the first mover wins. Market followers significantly increase your risk by getting their teeth on you as they work on their solution, wasting resources in their efforts to replicate the market leader after losing RFPs and demo comparisons, and having a higher chance of not surviving such as the market leader will capture most of the market.
Tip 3: Speak with references. One of the best things you can do to ensure supplier selection is successful is to ask for customer references and then make time to talk to them! You will find that business leaders, including your direct competitors, like to talk about suppliers they love. Talk to at least three references and ask the following questions.
• What specific problem has the supplier solved for you?
• What do your leaders think of the solution? What do your users think of their user experience?
• Which KPIs have been improved, and by how much?
• How should the seller work together? What are their greatest assets? Possibilities?
• What are the three most important things we must do to ensure success?
Plan for Success
So you have clearly identified the problem and chosen the right solution for your short and long term success. What do you do next? Answer: Plan for success!
In my next article, I’ll share best practices to help you plan for success and then implement with inspiration by motivating your employees, impressing your customers, and transforming your KPIs. I hope this article helps you with practical steps you can take as you travel to choose from a rapidly increasing number of AI technologies to improve your contact center service and performance. With the right practices and tools at your disposal, you can create positive change for your organization and your career and become known as an innovative leader who is reshaping the way your company works and performs.