Gartner predicts that conversational AI will reduce contact center agent labor costs by US$80 billion in 2026

Gartner predicts end-user spending on conversational AI will reach nearly $2 billion in 2022

August 31, 2022 — By 2026, conversational artificial intelligence (AI) deployments in contact centers will reduce agent labor costs by $80 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. Global agent spending end users in conversational AI solutions in contact centers are expected to reach $1.99. billion in 2022.

“Gartner estimates there are approximately 17 million contact center agents worldwide today,” said Daniel O’Connell, VP analyst at Gartner. “Many organizations are facing agent shortages and the need to reduce labor expenses, which can represent up to 95% of contact center costs. Conversational AI makes agents more efficient and effective, while improving the customer experience.

Gartner predicts that one in 10 agent interactions will be automated by 2026, an increase from approximately 1.6% of interactions today automated using AI. Conversational AI can automate all or part of a contact center’s customer interaction through voice and digital channels, via voice bots or chatbotsand it is expected to have transformational benefits to customer service and support organizations within two years.

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

Technical complexity and fragmented vendor landscape limit adoption

While the benefits of conversational AI are compelling, the technology is still maturing. A fragmented vendor landscape and the complexity of deployments will result in measured adoption over the next two years.

“Implementing conversational AI requires expensive professional resources in areas such as Data analysis, knowledge graphs, and natural language understanding,” O’Connell said. “Once built, conversational AI capabilities must be continually supported, updated, and maintained, which incurs additional costs.”

Complex, large-scale deployments of conversational AI can take years as more call flows are created and existing call flows are refined for improvement. Gartner estimates the price of the integration at $1,000 to $1,500 per conversational AI agent, although some organizations cite costs as high as $2,000 per agent. Therefore, early adoption of conversational AI will primarily be driven by organizations with 2,500 or more agents with a budget for the required technical resources.

Gartner customers can learn more at “Market Trend: Conversational AI for Agent Automation Delivers an Effective Customer Contact Center Experience.”

Additional analysis on automation trends will be presented during 2022 Gartner/Xpo IT Symposium, the world’s most important conferences for CIOs and other IT managers. In a world that is changing faster than ever, CIOs and IT leaders will learn to seize the moment to deliver the vision and results needed to take their organization to the next level. Follow conference news and updates on Twitter using #GartnerSYM.

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