How many of us call the toll-free numbers to get our queries resolved? Or pick up calls from unknown numbers (tagged spam)? The old call centers are as good as dead and the future lies in automation. Faster and more efficient processes are what define contact center competencies in today’s world and automation is the way to ensure that.
Contact center automation refers to the process of letting technology take over repetitive and manual tasks. Ranging from RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to conversational (voice and chatbot) assistants, the whole landscape of contact center processes is getting transformed. It helps to streamline the routine processes, save time, minimize human involvement and reduce operational costs.
Why does call center automation matter?
Running a contact center can turn out to be expensive. Management is always looking at performance of call center agents to optimize costs. The automation process can help improve key call center metrics along with performance while also reducing costs. Here’s how:
- Reduce human errors
By automating the contact center workflows, the need for repetitive data inputs gets eliminated. This not only enhances communication across departments and improves data exchange between various tools, but also keeps everyone updated and consistent with the data. From improving the efficiency of information access, it also results in more fulfilling client encounters.
- Increase agents work efficiency
The work of agents expands beyond addressing client queries. The after-hour work can take up a major chunk of the agent’s workload. Thus, to reduce inefficiencies in tasks prone to human mistakes such as reporting, updating, sending emails etc, automation can be pivotal in reducing such responsibilities and allow them to address customers’ concerns in a prompt manner.
- Keep everyone updated
Missing reminders has become a thing of the past with automation!
With contact center automation, reminders, alerts and notifications are automated, offering more insights into the contact center’s operations and helps keep agents and supervisors on track by keeping them informed.
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10 Ways in which Contact Center Automation increases Agent Productivity
Here are ten ways why contact center automation merits our attention and has proven itself to be the future of contact center customer communication:
- Leveraging self-service channels
- Routing calls to appropriate agents
- Enabling contextual conversations
- Improving internal communication
- Increasing First Call Resolution Rates
- Automating manual and repetitive tasks
- Ensure Omnichannel experience
- Optimizing workforce management and planning
- Unified customer information
- Ensure smart monitoring & analytics
➤ Leveraging self-service channels
Report from Microsoft highlights that 90% of customers globally expect brands to have an online self-service portal.
Calling customer support is often associated with long wait times and call queues, ultimately making the customer feel more frustrated and suspicious towards customer service. The best way out of this conundrum is to divert callers to other channels. There is no denying the fact that some customers would always prefer talking to a live agent, a considerable number of them prefer to solve queries on their own.
With the help of an online knowledge library, customers can access answers for their queries without the need for an agent to intervene. Self-service options such as SMS, email, chat, virtual agents,etc can reduce call volumes and improve agent productivity.
|Also Read: 4 Smart Strategies to Improve Agent Productivity|
➤ Routing calls to appropriate agents
Don’t all contact centers want to improve FCR and reduce call transfers? Well, IVR systems have been transforming the automaton landscape for quite some time now by offering skills based routing. This, however, has failed to live up to expectations and many service leaders admit that IVR hurts customer experience. The unclear menus and disconnected flows have made customers navigate an endless abyss of options without getting a desirable solution.
The AI powered IVR systems have something new to offer, over and above the functionalities of the traditional IVR. From voice assistant, predictive analytics and biometric authentication, the AI driven IVR is all about making customer experience truly smooth and helping improve productivity metrics by really understanding customers.
➤ Enabling contextual conversations
If your agents have to constantly search for information through multiple systems, emailing, calling managers, or consulting colleagues to answer questions, therein lies the productivity rub!
Contrast this with the AI powered knowledge base, assisted by virtual agents to offer relevant and contextual information. Agents don’t feel lost while conversing with a customer and can pick up a conversation where another agent left it previously. This saves time because both the parties and agents don’t feel secluded from a previous interaction because now they have the contextual anchor to drive the conversation ahead and not back.
This is what a customer support automation tool does. By giving a unified view of the customer to the agents, not only does the average ticket handling time go down but also makes call handling processes simpler for live agents.
➤ Improving internal communication
Siloed communications in industries have plagued productivity for the longest time. When communication between departments is not concomitant, customer experience suffers a great deal. Agents have to put customers on hold to seek information from sales, billing and technical departments in order to address the query effectively. Not only the customer experience but the productivity of agents and the entire team suffers.
By strengthening the internal communication system, it becomes much easier and simpler for agents to get in touch with the internal technical team, their manager or even a colleague for that matter. The integration of unified communications (UC) with the contact center breaks down team barriers, improves effortless communication and promotes a customer-centric culture.
➤ Increasing First Call Resolution Rates
How high would an organization’s productivity be if customer issues were addressed around the first time they called? When concerns are addressed at first, the same customer doesn’t keep calling around, which impacts team productivity considerably. Also, not to forget that FCR is influenced by lack of access to customer information and systems data.
A disparate contact center where software is not integrated, agents struggle to find access to accurate information about their product/service and have to toggle across screens and consult various people. All the while keeping agents on hold. Automated integrated information via knowledge base and training helps to resolve customer issues in the very first attempt and reduces the chances of a customer calling back again and again.
|Also Read: 3 Ways to Boost FCR and Reduce Customer Churn|
➤ Automating manual and repetitive tasks
Agents are burdened with a lot of tasks in contact centers. When they have to deal with repetitive, manual, monotonous tasks, it doesn’t only impact agent productivity but also impacts agents motivation towards their job. Automation frees up agents to take care of more important issues while significantly reducing errors and keeping information up-to-date.
The automation of contact center processes streamlines operations and improve agents performances by:
- Call logging and recording calls
- Adding tickets
- Updating customer information on CRM
- Sensing order update messages to customers
➤ Ensure Omnichannel experience
Contact center automation can span across multiple touchpoints such as phone, SMS, messenger, website chatbot etc enabling a seamless switching between channels. One important requisite for a productive contact center is that customers obtain the answers they need, where, when and how they want it. For this recording conversations and documenting them later for synching is important. However, this activity is not real time and enhances the chances of errors manifold.
By automating your contact centers for customer support, conversations are automatically recorded, saved and synced with your CRM and other customer data platforms in real-time. The customers not only not only reach out to you across multiple platforms but their previous chats also get synchronized across these platforms. This truly ensures a delightful omnichannel experience in every sense of the term.
➤ Optimizing workforce management and planning
Fluctuations in the call volumes can impact call center productivity negatively. Nobody can know how many calls they would be expecting in a particular day or month. But you can hone your prediction based on historical data, marketing insights and thus help you to understand the number of agents required to handle the expected call traffic. This one step can help agents live up to the customers expectations and create a positive interaction atmosphere, as a result.
Contact center automation can help in optimization of staff scheduling, make it easier for agents and supervisors to share workload and reduce the time spent on allocating shifts to the team members. This way contact center industries can ensure that the right agents, with the right and requisite skills are available in a shift when they are needed most to address queries.
➤ Unified customer information
Equipping agents with the right customer data is important to ensure that agents do not toggle between screens while the customers keep waiting on the other end. This one reason can be attributed to the extended long time it takes to close a ticket. If agents are just left searching about the customer, when will they address their queries? This is a pertinent reason for loss of revenue and trust.
If all the customer data like chat/purchase history, customer’s location, communication platform etc. is displayed on a single screen, it also helps with customer profiling and gives an option of sending customized messages to customers. Not to mention that in the long run, this paves the way for streamlined interactions, better customer retention and optimized revenues. Thus, mobilizing agents with Unified Agent Desktop for a delightful CX is now easy.
➤ Ensure smart monitoring & analytics
Now more than ever, agents need to read between the lines while interacting with a customer. Modern automation tools aid in predictive analytics and help agents in determining the customer’s perspectives. By decoding the customer sentiments and deciphering their utterances, such tools can report on the emotional state of the person and help in maintaining a positive sentiment all through the interaction.
|Watch Video: How to enable effective monitoring & reporting with BI-enabled tools and gain deep insights into your key call center metrics.|
AI-driven bots, for example, can read into the customer’s sentiments based on their typed and spoken responses – words, expressions, punctuations, emojis and help agents to deliver empathetic answers that offer the best customer experience.
In the end, a contact center’s productivity mainly depends upon how quickly, easily and pleasantly customers react with the organizations. With contact center automation, agents are relieved of the extra manual burden, giving them space to grow productively and helping streamline processes while helping create valuable relations with customers.