What is call center automation?
In this first section, we’ll work to define the concept of contact center automation. Simply put, this involves integrating a variety of tools and technologies into a center to increase and enhance the level of service that is provided to partner firms and their customers. From a pre-recorded automated menu that customers are prompted with when contacting a call center to content resource management (CRM) systems, the utilization of call scripts, navigational tools and accessories, e-mail, live chat, and places to input and store customer data for future reference. The aforementioned are all examples of the tools that a call center may have at its disposal to truly automate operations.
But just because you can use intelligent automation in your call center doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. While it can be helpful in taking your operations to new levels of productivity, it’s important to know which ones make sense for your contact center. On this note, it’s important to carefully select what contact center automation tools you integrate based on your service goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ve identified. Below, we’ve covered some of the common trends in contact center automation technology:
Oftentimes, customers don’t need to speak with a live call center agent to have their problem resolved. More and more are turning to online chatbots that utilize natural language processing, or NLP, and natural language generation, or NLG, to help customers solve common problems. These chatbots can either exist online on a firm’s website or even serve customers over the phone. If these intelligent chatbots cannot resolve the issue at hand, they’re programmed to direct customers to a live representative for further assistance. Think of chatbots as a way to screen callers to see if any issue can be easily resolved without speaking to a live agent.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a somewhat broad term that can have a big payoff in a variety of settings, including contact center automation. One example is by utilizing statistical machine learning to help improve systems by mining data and unlocking patterns in activity and how issues are resolved. When this information is assessed and utilized correctly, it can go a long way toward improving a call center’s speed and efficiency. AI can also be used to help classify, learn and help agents improve conversations with callers.
Just because a call center traditionally encompasses the answering of phone calls doesn’t mean that these entities shouldn’t also have a wide range of additional tools at their disposal. Yes, having live agents on hand to help customers is essential, but contact center automation should also incorporate a variety of other platforms as well. Aside from just speech, a good call center service should also be integrating solutions for text, video, social media, and more. The way people communicate and access information continues to change, and call centers need to continue to change with it. And while there’s a human element behind any platform to engage and assist customers, an automated system can help streamline efforts and keep operations on track. For these reasons, omnichannel offerings are important.
The biggest reasons to use call center automation software are to improve a center’s productivity and compliance. Simply put, this intelligent automation software helps a call center streamline efficiency and serve as a complete solutions provider for the clients that it partners with.
Intelligent automation is a buzzword in many industries and markets today, but it’s perhaps most synonymous with manufacturing. In manufacturing environments, automation is loosely defined as using robots and advanced machinery to help perform tasks that were once only able to be performed by humans. When it comes to contact center automation, there’s still largely a human element to these operations, however, it’s a much more comprehensive suite of tools that permit centers to improve overall customer service while also controlling their overhead expenses. In the forthcoming sections of this whitepaper, we’ll continue to discuss the key benefits of automating call center operations and what impact it can also have on call centers themselves and not just the customers that they’re designed to serve.
When most people think of intelligent automation, as in the industrial robotics example that we discussed above, they picture a machine taking the place of a position that a human once held. That’s not necessarily the case when it comes to automating a call center’s efforts. Think of contact center automation more as a comprehensive suite of technologies that a human must still manage to do their jobs well. There’s still very much a human element involved, it’s just that this element takes on more of a behind-the-scenes role in that it can help prompt callers or website visitors with other potential sources of resolution before they are addressed by a live person. Automating optimizes workflow, helps agents access information and input data much more quickly and can also help manage any sales leads. While such technologies will involve agent training, the long-term benefits of adopting these tools are more than worth it in terms of increasing a call center’s competitive advantage and serving as an ideal provider for its clients.
The benefits of investing in intelligent automation at any call center are plentiful — and not just for the center itself, but for the partner firms that it works with. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits that can be realized when incorporating some or all of the automation technologies that we’ve discussed so far in this whitepaper:
- Increased analytics: Machine learning and AI can help a call center better identify patterns and how to solve common customer issues so that call centers can become an even more valuable extension of the firms that they partner with.
- Redefines success: Traditionally, a call center’s success was based on metrics that included things like call time, the number of calls received per hour, and more. By utilizing intelligent automation, the way success is measured essentially changes from a focus on operational metrics to more important metrics that might include customer satisfaction, data involved in first contact resolution, and how well the customer was served during their interaction with any of the tools at a call center’s disposal.
- The transformation from “call center” to “engagement center”: Delivering an exceptional customer experience with speed and efficiency — it’s what any good call center should strive for today. When the right tools and technologies are utilized, a call center isn’t just a “call center” any longer. It can transform its operations to serve as an engagement center for customers, providing a comprehensive one-stop solution that operates quickly, accurately, and to the satisfaction of those it serves.
As we noted in the previous section, embracing automation can have a number of positive effects on how call centers operate. Think of intelligent automation in the call center as a perfect blend of artificial intelligence and human interaction. This automation serves as a complement to any human activity, and when it’s utilized correctly it can greatly streamline efficiency and productivity to transform call centers into engagement centers, offering more value to partner firms and the customers that they’re designed to serve on a daily, around-the-clock basis.
If you’d like to learn more about call center automation, contact Intradiem today.