AI-led Automation Transformed Contact Center Performance in 2023: Ozonetel Study 

With a 41% improvement in customer engagement and 20% higher agent efficiency, contact centers are vital in driving business growth.

Ozonetel, an omnichannel and AI-powered customer experience (CX) platform provider, conducted a comprehensive study, The State of Contact Center Report, that unveils compelling insights into customer experience and contact center performance across industry verticals. 

The study is an analysis of a sample of 10 million calls made on Ozonetel’s CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) platform by hundreds of thousands of agents across diverse industries like e-commerce, healthcare, education, insurance, fintech & NBFC, banking, real estate, and logistics.  

Customer Experience in 2023: Key Data Findings

  • Customer engagement has improved, with a 41% reduction in abandonment rates. 
  • Agents answered calls 10% faster, on average, than last year 
  • Customers were 15% more likely to answer calls from a business this year than last year  
  • Agents are, on average, 20% more efficient in handling inbound conversations 

After comparing performance trends over the past five years, the report highlights significant improvements in five key areas: 

  1. Decreased Abandon Rates Reflect Higher CX Standards. The Abandon Rate tells us how many calls went unanswered by agents because callers disconnected while in the call queue. For the first time, after four years of continual decline, abandon rates have significantly improved this year. On average, in 2023, only 20% of calls were disconnected by callers when in the queue, compared to 34% in 2022.  

INSIGHT: Being available for customers when it matters the most is a key business objective for contact centers and a critical CX metric for reducing customer churn and building loyalty. Historically, businesses have struggled to achieve this goal. But this year, many contact centers implemented intelligent automation and call routing to improve agent availability, helping businesses prioritize customer calls and subsequently reduce abandon rates.  

This positive change reflects an evolving customer experience landscape where voice interactions are reserved for more complex inquiries and escalations. In today’s world, customers tend to call only when they have a pressing need to speak with an agent, as many other channels are available for contacting businesses. Businesses are turning to chat and WhatsApp for simpler interactions, responding to customers’ desire for a seamless omnichannel experience. 

  1. Intelligent Automation Reduces Pickup Time. ‘Average Agent Speed of Answer’ or ‘Pickup Time’ is a contact center agent’s average time to answer inbound calls. This includes the duration for which the agent’s phone rings but does not include the time the caller spends in the IVR or waiting in a call queue. This metric has reduced to 6.9 seconds in 2023 from 7.7 seconds in 2022.  

INSIGHT: With a relaxation in DOT and TRAI regulations, more companies have implemented ‘webrtc’ calling and an auto answer feature, leading to improved pickup times. With this feature, calls automatically get connected to available agents without any downtime. This shift prioritizes efficiency and prompt customer service, acknowledging the value of customers’ time. 

  1. AI-Enabled Conversational Intelligence for Agents Reduces Talk Time: ‘Average Talk Time’ indicates an agent’s time talking to a caller. In 2023, this metric was reduced to 2.64 minutes compared to 3.7 minutes in 2022, a significant improvement from 2019 (4.3 minutes). 

INSIGHT: This shift is driven by implementing features such as smart agent assistance and deep CRM integrations. The study notes that smart suggestions and secure access to relevant customer data have helped agents resolve queries faster, leading to more effective and satisfying conversations.   

  1. Automated Call Dispositions Reduce Wrap Time: ‘Wrap Time’ (After Call Work) is the time the agent uses after the end of a call to complete administrative tasks like updating notes about the conversation, processing orders, etc. This year, wrap times reduced to 43.6 seconds from 47.4 seconds in 2022. 

INSIGHT: With AI providing automated call transcripts and insights, businesses are increasingly automating after-call work, significantly increasing agent efficiency and availability.  

  1. Improved Connection Rates Indicate Higher Customer Engagement: In outbound calls, many call to busy lines or go unanswered. ‘Average Contact Rates’ inform us how many calls contacts answer. This metric saw a drastic uptick this year, i.e., 45% compared to 39% in 2022. 

INSIGHT: This improvement reflects a larger trend where contact centers play a new role, strategically interacting with customers at key points in their journey and driving business growth. This approach is highly effective in sectors like banking, healthtech, diagnostics, and online pharma firms, where higher contact rates indicate that customers are receptive to calls from their dedicated relationship managers or service providers.  

In response, many companies are now embracing verified business IDs using Truecaller Integrations or WhatsApp Business Accounts. Strategically orchestrated, automated outbound calls from a familiar business number reduce cart abandonment, improve collections, encourage reorders, and increase customer lifetime value. 

The Vertical Report Card

Here is a list of industry verticals that outperformed and struggled under different parameters. Sectors like quick commerce, D2C, and banks have maintained high customer service standards through 2023. 

ParameterTop PerformersWorst Affected
Average Queue TimeInsurance
(21.5 seconds)
Logistics
(145.5 seconds)
Abandon RateE-commerce
(3%)
NBFC, Fintech
(44%)
Average Hold TimeBanks
(0 seconds)
Insurance
(154 seconds)
Average Pick-up TimeHealthtech & Diagnostics 
(2.5 seconds)
Logistics
(13 seconds)
Wrap Time/ACWE-commerce
(19.8 Seconds)
NBFC, Fintech
(81.0 seconds)
Average Agent Talk Time/AHT (inbound)Banks
(2 minutes)
Insurance
(5 minutes)
Average Agent Talk Time/AHT (outbound)Insurance
(9.5 minutes)
Real Estate
(0.5 minutes)
Contact Rate (outbound)Healthtech & Diagnostics (80%)Logistics
(20%)

Speaking about the CX metrics this year, Prashanth Kancherla, Chief Product Officer at Ozonetel, stated, The 2023 Contact Center Report reveals advancements in customer experience and reflects the evolving role of contact centers across the customer journey. The impact of AI is visible with an improvement in all efficiency metrics. In 2024, AI will take things to the next level. It will free up agents for high-value conversations at strategic points in the customer journey while equipping them with the right knowledge to deepen customer relationships and drive business growth”.