During the pandemic, in-person restrictions forced consumers to interact with companies through remote channels in record numbers. Thankfully, automation in contact centers technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. As a result, confusing phone menus and agonizing hold music are officially outdated, evolving into AI-enhanced chatbots that comprehend complete sentences.
From banking and finance to travel and healthcare, many industries have realized automation can rapidly increase call-center efficiency and reduce hold times. But the latest automation technology can do even more, improving everything from quality assurance to employee training.
At qBotica, we aim to uncover innovative intelligent automation solutions to help your business grow. So today, let’s look at how contact centers can take your customer and employee experiences to new heights.
Automation refers to processes where software bots handle tasks previously performed by humans. Contact centers increasingly use automation to improve efficiency and help customers resolve issues through self-service methods.
Here are a few key automation features that can transform your contact center.
- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are automated phone-answering systems that route calls and allow customers to interact with a computer before connecting to a representative. IVR gives customers an opportunity to self-serve and find the correct department or even solve their issue, which reduces the average handle time (AHT)—a vital metric in customer satisfaction.
- Natural language processing (NLP) refers to the ability of computer software to understand human language as it is spoken and written, allowing customers to state their demands in plain language without using a touch-tone menu.
- Automatic speech recognition (ASR) and speech-enabled IVR use natural language processing (NLP) to transform the way customers interact with IVR systems, enabling a more personal experience similar to asking Siri to add an event to your phone’s calendar.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) uses computer chatbots to assist customers directly with their issues. AI-powered bots can also help contact center agents by suggesting solutions and recommending responses as the agents interact with customers via the phone or chat.
Automated contact centers help customer service agents work more efficiently to improve the client experience and help more people throughout the day.
1.Improves customer and employee satisfaction
Nobody likes to wait on the phone to talk with customer service. However, 90% of people still prefer to speak with live agents rather than navigate phone menus or wait for an email response. As a result, contact center agents take up to 50 calls a day, many with issues that require follow-ups. This call volume challenges reps to manage their open cases efficiently and provide timely updates.
Using automation technology like IVR and AI, research shows businesses can reduce average handle time (AHT) by 25% by 2022 and up to 40% by 2027. Shorter wait times and faster solutions make customers happy and relieve pressure from employees who can work smarter and deliver better outcomes. In a Harvard Business Review survey, 90% of consumers said that a good experience with a contact center strengthens their brand loyalty.
2. Collects more data to assist with quality assurance
As call volumes increase, quality assurance (QA) representatives have more to do in a limited time. Automation and AI tools mitigate that challenge by collecting an astounding amount of customer data through voice-analytics technology.
This AI tool quickly picks up and sorts customer call data that human QA analysts might have missed. On top of that, such AI-powered automation technology can analyze a call for context and sentiment, allowing businesses to customize the experience for different customer types. For example, a multinational service provider that used these tactics prevented a whopping $6 million in lost sales by recognizing clients who showed signs of leaving and giving employees the chance to retain their business.
3. Helps managers provide better coaching and training
Contact centers often analyze customer feedback surveys to understand why some interactions leave callers dissatisfied. The managers must then manually coordinate review and training sessions with agents to improve their performance. However, managing hundreds of employees this way is highly cumbersome.
Managers can spend more time coaching and less time on administrative tasks by using automated software robots to search, schedule, and perform most of the necessary keystrokes. Beyond saving time, these software bots have evolved to analyze calls and make training suggestions. This additional feedback can have a broader impact on the entire customer experience, helping businesses turn each call into an opportunity to build lasting relationships.
What are some of the top trends in contact center automation?
Automation technology keeps expanding every day, and there are numerous developments your business can implement right now.
Here are five trends to keep on your radar:
1. Low-code automation software
Many contact center organizations see the value of automation technology, but barriers such as budget constraints and IT staffing requirements hold them back. Fortunately, contact center automation software can help businesses implement this technology with minimal investment.
For example, qBotica’s DoqumentAI software is ready to use out of the box. It extracts and processes complex data from all documents—even ones it has never seen before—without necessary coding or IT development. This automation eliminates mundane and repetitive work hours in contact centers, saving valuable time while providing unique business insights. DoqumentAI software can also collect caller data, analyze detailed customer profiles, and help employees connect with customers in more personalized ways.
2. Conversational AI replacing phone menus
A survey two years ago showed that 97% of Americans have become frustrated with phone menus, especially when they have to repeat themselves. Fortunately, phone menus have come a long way from presenting callers with a series of options that keep them stuck in a loop before routing them to the correct department. Today, interactive voice response (IVR) systems better understand human language, providing quick and clear options before connecting callers with a live agent.
Major tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft have invested heavily in natural language generation to automate computer bot conversations and make them sound more natural. Common examples of conversational AI technology include chatbots on websites to ask FAQs and virtual phone or home assistants like Alexa and Siri. The rise of conversational AI has consumers expecting even more from IVR systems.
3. RPA integrating with chatbots
Robotic process automation (RPA) teaches computer software to perform repetitive, everyday tasks, such as opening customer tickets, checking order statuses, and updating records. Integrating RPA with existing chatbots allows the bots to understand higher levels of customer needs and effectively route them to a solution. Adding conversational AI technology to the mix can further enhance RPA workflows, driving exponential improvements in productivity and customer experiences.
4. Proactive digital customer service
In contact centers today, customer service agents often file queries as “tickets” because they can’t resolve the issue over the call. That means they must spend significant time afterward following up. However, with automated software technology, customers can often answer their own questions without ever needing to speak to a representative. For example, bots can proactively alert customers about outages, refer them to a knowledge base section of a website, or answer frequently asked questions. Netflix uses proactive digital service bots to release statements when streaming issues occur and automatically credits user accounts to compensate for the lost time.
5. Agent assistants and real-time guidance
RPA processes can act as contact center agents’ digital assistants by automatically creating a schedule of their daily tasks and then queuing up necessary programs. This desktop automation blends disparate applications into one user-friendly workflow, empowering agents to focus on customer service instead of wasting time with system navigation and data entry. On top of that, real-time guidance through AI technology can recommend the best actions to agents and tee up workflows and scripts.
Contact centers have made great strides in improving the customer experience as automation technology evolves. Taking chatbots to the next level of human interaction with conversational AI, creating employee-friendly workflows with RPA, and easily implementing low-code automation software are just a few new developments businesses must consider today.
If you’re ready to craft your company’s future and start “thinking inside the bots,” contact our automation specialists at qBotica to schedule a discovery call.