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In order to improve customer experience and operational efficiencies, contact centers are increasingly blending AI with the cloud where both machines and humans are working together for a better result and greater user experience. A survey was done by the IDC; results show that majority of companies are in some stage of AI adoption in their contact centers, with around half of companies 49% have already adopted AI or engaged in the process whereas the other 36% of organizations are planning to leverage AI in the next 1-2 years’ timeframe; indicating that AI and process automation will become of complementary nature to any customer experience platform within the upcoming 2 years.

Organizations are using AI, machine learning, and cognitive solutions to automate self-service interactions, bring process automation especially using robotic process automation (RPA), and enhance workforce management within their contact centers. These applications support rationalizing the need for additional agents while optimizing the use of current resources by boosting agents’ efficiency.

Using these AI-enabled solutions not only offers cost reduction but also translates into enabling a faster service and delivery, more personalized conversation, reduced call volumes, and improved resolution cycle; ultimately help achieve a better customer experience. 

Impact of COVID-19 on Contact Center Investment Strategy

During the current pandemic, businesses have increasingly inclined towards cloud-based customer engagement applications such as Email Engagement, Social Media Channels, Mobile Apps, etc..  to enable the remote work environment. KSA, UAE, and Egypt have all followed a social distancing approach to thwart the spread of COVID-19, implementing curfews and lockdowns across the country and on multiple businesses. These restrictions have forced around 60% of organizations to have over 50% of their contact center employees work from home. However, cloud-based contact centers have allowed companies not only to improve organizational flexibility by enabling agents to work from home or elsewhere, without affecting the quality of services but also helped the businesses to continue offering their customer services to attain a better customer experience. 

COVID-19, in many ways, has not only changed the way contact center leaders used to look at the remote working environment but has also influenced their technology preferences. Some 63% of the organizations surveyed completely agreed or somewhat agreed that COVID-19 is the key reason why they have adopted or are planning to adopt cloud-based customer engagement solutions.

At the same time, 57% of the organizations stated that they have either temporarily migrated or are planning to migrate from on-premise to cloud-based solutions due to COVID-19 and would remain on cloud post-pandemic. 

The most important finding from the research shows that almost 72% of organizations said that their customers are increasingly turning to WhatsApp, chat, and online help centers during COVID-19 crisis and this was the primary reason they migrated some of their CX applications on the cloud, however, said that the large operation will remain on-premise.

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