In the second half of 2023, AI and ChatGPT shifted the landscape of contact centers and customer service. Several fresh trends continue to emerge in the contact center world, ones like contact center automation, which some experts speculate could impact various aspects of business, including revenue.

Another trend gaining traction is the use of AI-powered conversational software, which is expected to reduce labor costs by $80 billion in 2026. Many contact centers have raced to integrate AI to power chatbots and virtual agents, creating natural and dynamic conversations for customers. These AI tools may eventually compete with live agents, with AI expected to replace 20-30% of customer support agents by 2026.

Companies are seeking to refine and broaden their contact center software to provide a strong customer experience, also known as CX. Business owners are prioritizing CX heading into 2024, with 38% of leaders viewing customer experience as the primary reason to deploy AI-based language models. If customers don't get the service they're looking for - they are willing to go to another, more fit competitor, as are employees - according to Slack-funded research


Let's look at other factors impacting the state of the contact center in 2024.


Generative AI and ChatGPT Inspire Conversational Support

Contact center providers continue to integrate conversational AI technology into their support and sales-focused CCaaS software. Providers like Five9 and Genesys have incorporated artificial intelligence across several aspects of the call center experience. Modern CCaaS technology commonly uses AI for live call transcription, live-agent support, canned response suggestions, and even automated post-call summaries.

However, the most popular and rapidly trending use of AI focuses on automated customer self-service: chatbots and intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) that converse naturally with customers. Today's CCaaS providers offer highly conversational bots, embedded via live into companies' websites and apps.

These automated tools provide a major advantage over traditional live-agent service because IVAs provide convenient 24/7 customer support. Customers appreciate this, as 73% state that long waiting times are a major problem. In short, companies are using AI to improve the customer's experience.

Gartner Report 2023

Gartner (May 2023)

AI can answer simple questions, handle basic tasks, refer to knowledge base articles, and save customers a lot of time. Machine learning can also detect a conversation's sentiment, providing feedback for agents and notifying supervisors when there's an issue. As companies double down on customer service, AI-based chatbots will play a major role.


Omnichannel Customer Service Gains Prominence

While customers continue to use digital channels more frequently, 86%  still say they prefer to receive customer support over the phone. To meet these mixed communication preferences and optimize customer convenience, contact centers have turned to omnichannel solutions.

Most of today's leading CCaaS providers offer multiple types of plans: voice-only, digital-only, and omnichannel plans. These omnichannel plans provide agents with a singular interface that unifies key channels like voice, SMS, live chat, email, and social media messaging. Contact center users can jump between tasks easily, switching channels depending on which one the customer is using. This flexibility simplifies things for the customer, which is especially important for younger audiences, as 87% of millennials say convenience is important to them.

NICE CXone Omnichannel Dashboard

NICE CXone's omnichannel dashboard

Contact center providers like Talkdesk, NICE, and Twilio Flex offer customizable dashboards that let administrators and agents choose how they want the CCaaS app's interface to look. As we move forward into 2024, expect omnichannel interfaces to become more prominent and increasingly user-friendly for agents.


AI In Video Messages, Just Getting Started 

For many years, the pre and post-meeting experience have benefitted greatly from artificial intelligence enhancement. Lead Analyst at ZK Research, Zeus Kerravala, notes that: 

“AI in video meetings is just getting started and for it to show the real value it has to be used to solve harder problems. Transcription is nice, but meeting notes are better. So I’m pretty excited about AI being used not just during the meeting experience but also in the pre-and post-meeting experiences as well.”

For instance, if an action item is stated in a meeting, some systems, namely Cisco's advanced meeting tools - can extend reminders and automatically create action items to ensure the proverbial ball doesn't get drooped. Deemed the Webex Assistant, it uses AI to take notes, extend closed captions, and even has voice-activated commands. 

Webex Digital Assistant

Webex Digital Assistant

As for the use of video in CCaaS, more firms like Zoom and Five9 are enabling agents to escalate support calls to video calls, making AI in video meetings all the more relevant in 2024. 


2024 will Be one For the Books

For the contact center arena, it is sure to be an interesting one, thanks to the countless advancements made last year and the ones we can likely anticipate this year as well. 

And there are countless trends that could shift how we view CCaaS, like new offerings and the use of more artificial intelligence during the agent experience: ones designed to make their jobs easier to execute.