A Growing Need for Contact Center Automation
Balancing the need to improve efficiency, agent engagement and the customer experience is a tough act. Modern enterprise contact centers are turning to automation to support the various ways customers want to reach the contact center with the added ability to solve challenges as they arise.
This advanced real-time capability is essential in the dynamic contact center environment. And, a growing number of organizations that intend on taking center operations to the next level are leveraging real-time contact center technology.
With contact center automation as the foundation, many center leaders now report increasing value by impacting the following key productivity drivers.
Proactively Reduce Call Volume
Automation enables companies to reduce the number of calls into the contact center. In one use case, a leading retailer leveraged real-time automation to proactively make call-backs when volume was low.
The workforce management team identified a pattern: customers would make multiple calls to check on the delivery status of high-ticket items such as a furniture set. To solve this, the automation platform notified agents to make outbound calls confirming or updating customers on their estimated delivery time. This dramatically improved first call resolution (FCR) and decreased call volume.
Reduce Average Handle Time (AHT)
Companies can now reduce handle time in a number of ways. Managing adherence is one of the most prevalent challenges facing contact centers. We’ve learned from customers that agents may stay in After Call Work (ACW) status to avoid answering calls.
One Healthcare Insurance provider automated agent outlier management. After a predetermined duration in ACW, an on-screen prompt asks agents if they need help. If they are in ACW for a legitimate reason, they select “yes,” and the system automatically notifies their supervisor that the agent requested assistance. If not, they are advised to return to call handling. This real-time rule helped the company achieve a 50% reduction in ACW and subsequently reduced AHT.
Turn Shrinkage into Productive Agent Development Time
While shrinkage translates to unproductive time on paper, it’s essential to call center operations. This includes employee training and development, back-office work such as processing claims, and paid time off including lunch and shift breaks.
A true contact center automation platform constantly monitors stats from other key systems in the call center and uses that data to deliver actions much more quickly than manually scheduling. For example, if call volume is lower than expected, an on-screen prompt will offer a training session to individuals prioritized by predefined rules (i.e. those with low FCR scores or overdue compliance assignments).
Many companies find that leveraging automation for agent development not only increases training velocity, but the training itself is more effective. One case study found that prior to contact center automation, up to 30 minutes per agent was lost when agents walked to and from the classroom for a single training session.
In addition to dramatically eliminating shrinkage, dynamic training was easier to consume. Employees who received multiple lessons via five to ten-minute on-screen sessions retained the content better than those who received the same information in a traditional classroom. Companies that offer automated development report increased employee satisfaction levels. Optimizing how coaching and off-phone tasks are managed is a win-win for both the business and its employees.
Manually selecting staff for voluntary time off (VTO) is time consuming and inconsistent. Automation allows supervisors to automatically administer VTO leveraging and takes advantage of opportunities while balancing employee needs. Automating VTO improves WFM efficiency and cuts costs while maintaining service levels. A large communications company increased occupancy overall by .25%, with a 25% increase in VTO hours. Agent satisfaction improved after VTO was automated.
Finally, contact center automation streamlines omni-channel service delivery by automatically moving agents from one channel to another when volume peaks. Manually monitoring and managing this process is time consuming. Automation allows companies to dynamically associate agents to channels faster than otherwise possible, allowing centers to run more efficiently. One financial organization reduced the number of full-time staff needed by automating this process.
Providing a positive agent and customer experience while reducing costs can be a difficult goal to achieve for contact centers – as these goals are often at odds with each other. However, contact center automation has proven to effectively tackle this challenge and provide significant value for the organization.