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Communications of the ACM


AI in Contact Centers

AI in Contact Centers, illustration

Credit: Dacian G; Cryteria / CC-By-3.0

Customer contact centers are most efficient when they are able to automate routine tasks and quickly route callers to human agents who can solve issues in a timely and courteous fashion. In years past, rules-based decision matrices (such as "press 1 for sales, press 2 for technical support") were the de facto standard for "intelligent" customer service systems, and often left customers frustrated and angry by the time they reached a live human being.

Advances in artificial intelligence are yielding significant benefits for organizations that deploy the technology in their call centers. Indeed, rather than simply being used to replace contact center workers, artificial intelligence (Al)-based technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and even sentiment analysis, are being strategically deployed to improve the overall customer experience by providing functionality that would be too time-consuming or expensive to do manually.


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