Are Automation and AI the Same Thing in the Contact Center?

Are Automation and AI the Same Thing in the Contact Center?

If you received a penny for every time you heard “automation” or “AI” in the contact center, you could pay off the national debt in about a month. These terms are thrown around and used interchangeably. However, understanding the differences between these technologies is crucial for any organization striving to optimize operations in its contact center.

We will examine how automation and AI are not the same in the context of the contact center, that automation can contain AI and AI can utilize automation. However, what the goal should be is determining how you can elevate the customer experience in your contact center utilizing automation, AI, and all resources available to you.

Contact Centers and Industry Thought Leaders Are Not on The Same Page

Tell us if this feels familiar to you: all the information about AI and Automation in the contact center paints the picture that everyone is already at a 301 level and is revolutionizing the contact center of the future.

Familiar? We have found that there are far more contact centers needing help with where to start and creating a strategy than there are businesses that are humming along with AI. Implementation takes time, and change is difficult to manage. This is why we pride ourselves on being from the contact center.

We understand that integrating a new solution, whether that is AI, a point solution, an IVR, or anything else, is not an easy process. There is stakeholder buy-in, budgeting, creating a business case, outlining ROI on the solution and so much more. Just know before we dive in that you are not alone, and we help you navigate all the above and then some.

Automation without AI in Contact Centers

It’s important to note that not all automation involves AI. Basic automated tasks, such as call distribution based on predefined rules, do not require the advanced capabilities of AI. These systems can still offer significant benefits, such as reducing wait times and ensuring customers are directed to the appropriate department.

Automation in contact centers refers to the use of technology to perform repetitive tasks without human intervention. Automation has been a part of the contact center for decades, even pre-internet times. Call routing, interactive voice response and voice-based chatbots are a few examples of that technology.

Automation for a long time required programming. Entire teams were dedicated to writing code, prompts, and logic to make these systems work. This is where automation that is fueled by AI can save time and resources.

Chances are you have most of the information on your website, training manuals, FAQs, or another source. Let’s take modern chatbots for example. You can program them or simply have them fetch the data to implement in your contact center. This is an example of static data.

Where AI can help your self-service option is by learning from customer inquiries as you go. Where automation would not be able to find the answer, AI can use logic, machine learning, and more to evolve and answer nuanced questions.

Exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Contact Centers

The best starting point for AI in the contact center is gathering data. Possibly you have customer and conversational data already. If that is true, there is an opportunity for some quick wins based on what that data is telling your team.

If you do not have a large amount of data based on frequently asked questions, peak times, peak time questions, seasonality, etc. then implementing a data gathering tool like or Call Journey is a good first step.  These are great analytics tools that help you understand the intent of your customer and more.

AI can analyze customer data so that you can understand your customer, their challenges, how they utilize your product, and even uncover opportunities for additional sales opportunities. This is how you create a culture of data-driven and curiosity in your contact center.

Taking that data, you can then make better-informed decisions to implement solutions that understand natural language, and customer intent, and anticipate customer needs. This level of sophistication enables personalized customer interactions and predictive insights, enhancing the overall customer experience.

This leads to generative or conversational AI solutions that offer the best in self-service like Five9,, and others. You have probably heard of virtual agents in some capacity, generative AI is the logic and fuel behind IVA’s.

Why “You Need AI In Your Contact Center” Is Terrible Advice

Of course, you do need AI in your contact center, however, that is like saying you need to eat right to be healthy. That is way too broad of a stroke for action to be taken, and just like every person has the foods that work for them, every contact center is a bit different.

Where to start and taking that first step with AI in your contact center is the biggest and most important step to take. There are different benefits for different businesses, and the needs can fluctuate depending on a lot of factors. That is why a conversation with our team can bring clarity, direction, and cost savings to your business.

InflowCX Is Leading the Way in AI and Automated Solutions

Whether it is AI, Automation, Automation powered by AI, or any combination of today’s solutions, we are helping businesses like yours lead the way in their industry. While it is true that the contact center industry paints a picture that companies are light years ahead of where most businesses find themselves.  Time is still of the essence to maximize the competitive advantage that AI and automation present.

Contact us today to help you foster deeper relationships with your agents and customers while elevating the customer experience in your business. We have helped companies in all industries understand where they are today, optimize their technology, and become CX leaders. We would welcome the opportunity to do the same for you!