Conversational AI will cut contact centre labour cost by US$80b in 2026

More companies turn to conversational AI for their customer support with spending expected by Gartner to hit about US$2 billion in 2022.

The growth of the technology is predicted to reduce contact centre agent labor costs by US$80 billion.

Conversational AI uses machine learning to enable consumers to interact naturally with speech-based apps as though they were communicating with other humans.

“Gartner estimates that there are approximately 17 million contact centre agents worldwide today. Many organisations are challenged by agent staff shortages and the need to curtail labor expenses, which can represent up to 95 percent of contact centre costs. Conversational AI makes agents more efficient and effective, while also improving the customer experience,” said Daniel O’Connell, VP Analyst of Gartner.

Gartner projects that one in 10 agent interactions will be automated by 2026, an increase from an estimated 1.6 percent of interactions today that are automated using AI.

“While automating a full interaction – also known as call containment or deflection – corresponds to significant cost savings, there is also value in partial containment, such as automating the identification of a customer’s name, policy number and reason for calling. Capturing this information using AI could reduce up to a third of the interaction time that would typically be supported by a human agent,” said O’Connell.

The technology is still maturing, resulting in measured adoption through the next two years.

“Implementing conversational AI requires expensive professional resources in areas such as data analytics, knowledge graphs and natural language understanding. Once built, the conversational AI capabilities must be continuously supported, updated and maintained, resulting in additional costs,” said O’Connell.

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

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