Contact Center Automation – How to Improve Your Customer Experience?
Every organization will gain from providing an exceptional customer experience. After all, customers are the lifeline of any business, and improving customer experience helps you gain much-needed loyalty and improved lifetime value.
How do you go about providing exceptional customer experiences?
You can provide exceptional customer experiences by offering omnichannel capabilities. This would allow your agents to have a single view of your customers across all channels.
Besides, you will have to automate your contact center operations, which would allow your customers to get their queries resolved faster than ever.
What is Contact Center Automation?
Contact center automation in the initial days focused on reducing the Average Handling Time (AHT). Over some time, people started moving away from AHT and started looking at metrics like First Call Resolution (FCR) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) to figure out how well their customer experience function is performing.
Contact center automation entails utilizing technology to automate different functions and procedures in a contact center setting.
It enables companies to minimize the requirement for human agents to deal with regular inquiries and duties, freeing them up to concentrate on more intricate and high-value interactions.
In this article, let us look at how contact center automation can help in improving customer experience.
Use Cases of Contact Center Automation
Let us look at everything that makes up contact center automation
The very first step to automation is to pull together every customer-facing application and integrate them with the contact center platform. Your ERP, CRM, inventory, shipping, helpdesk, website, mobile apps, chatbots, and social – all integrated with your contact center platform.
With this integration, you can capture every customer interaction irrespective of how they choose to interact with you. This would allow you to provide a single view of your customers, and they don’t have to repeat themselves.
Besides, the agent’s knowledge of the interactions would allow them to delight your customers and cross-sell and upsell your other offerings.
Let me give you an example.
I was moderating a panel discussion recently, and one of the panelists shared this scenario with us during the session.
He booked a hotel for a 4-night stay in Gurugram using an Online Travel Agency. It was a non-refundable booking. When he checked in, he somehow did not like the hotel, and he expressed that to the hotel staff. The hotel staff apologized and suggested upgrading him to the suite room.
He wasn’t convinced, and he decided to shift to a better hotel.
So, he called the Online Travel Agency and told them that he had booked this hotel and wasn’t comfortable staying there. The agent said he would figure out if something can be done while listening to this.
If he had to follow the Standard Operating Procedures, the agent would have said, “We are sorry about the fact that you don’t’ like the hotel, but since it is a non-refundable booking, we are not in a position to help you.”
However, this agent took this up with the higher-ups within the online travel agency, made sure that he got the refund, booked him in another hotel, and helped him with the process of checking in. The agent even checked whether he was comfortable with the new place.
What happened here?
The agent had enough data to know that ‘So and So’ has booked more than 500 nights through their portal in the last ten years. The agent knows that he is a loyal customer of the portal because of an integrated system they had. He was empowered to decide to push for a refund of a non-refundable booking by going against the SOPs.
The agent ensured that the customer’s lifetime value only increased with this phenomenal customer experience.
2. Self-Service Capabilities
Provide your customers with FAQs and knowledge bases on your website and product pages to resolve most queries of theirs. Also, offer them conversational AI chatbots that can pour through an enormous amount of data and provide the customers with the most appropriate answer to their queries.
At any point in time, provide the option for the customers to opt to talk to a human agent while interacting with your self-service tools.
This would help your customers resolve their queries faster while allowing them to reach an agent anytime.
3. AI and Machine Learning
These in today’s day are used to complement and support the human agents, and not to replace them.
For instance, voice analytics, sentiment analysis, suggesting the next best action, email triage, and classification can be done phenomenally faster by AI and ML engines compared to human beings.
It can assist in improving self-service capabilities as well as in understanding the voice of the customer.
This would undoubtedly assist the human agents in providing better resolutions to customers, thereby improving the customer experience.
4. Workforce Management
Workforce management (WFM) has been the Achille’s heel of most contact centers. Every contact center is trying to get its WFM strategy right to improve employee and organizational efficiency and decrease operational costs by leveraging data.
With WFM, you can create agent schedules that account for work preferences, skill levels, and forecasted call volumes. In addition, features like omnichannel recording, recording multiple monitors, speech analytics, and onboarding tools to ramp agents, gamification, forecasting & scheduling would ensure superior customer experiences.
5. List Management Services
List management services (LMS) help you massage and mine the data from various sources. You can sort, filter, review, enrich the data, and make it actionable for your stakeholders.
For instance, any cold lead will have to be qualified before it can make sense to your sales. LMS helps you sort through these leads, analyze the interactions based on your cadence program and sort them as high or low priority.
Any contact from customer referrals, website inquiries, customer support, email campaigns, and inbound queries would be categorized as warm leads. LMS would assign a high priority to these – identify the lead source, dissect all the customer interactions, and add any intelligence available in the CRM to help sales move the lead towards a deal or a relationship.
6. Voice Analytics
Voice is the primary form of communication in a call center. With customer experience becoming the key competitive differentiator, every organization stands to gain from the voice interactions that customers have with their agents. There are a whole bunch of learnings that can come from voice.
For instance, the agent may not be aware of the growing ire of the customer, but the computer recording the call would. It can even analyze if a customer is irritated, stressed, or plain disappointed with the interaction that they had with your organization.
Using big data techniques combined with voice analysis, an organization can get important business insights by analyzing a huge volume of call data.
Its features include advanced search and filtering, enterprise-grade speech recognition and transcription, contextual call playback data, tagging and commenting, transcript visualization, and full PCI redaction.
The search works in a custom fashion. It includes a highly flexible search engine for quickly and easily finding and retrieving calls through free-form combination of keywords, phrases, acoustic measures, filler words, and call metadata.
It will allow you to identify self-service options, training needs of your contact center, and compliance issues easily.
Do you know that only 2% of the call recordings are listened to in a contact center? The remaining 98% lies on the storage servers with so much insights, but very little analysis.
With a voice analytics platform, you would be able to mine this data for the benefit of your contact center, in turn, enhance your customer experience.
7. Screen Recording
An aged customer who is not digitally savvy clicks on a link sent by your organization and subscribes to an annual service unknowingly. It gets added to his subsequent months’ bill. When he receives the bill, he understands that something is amiss.
He calls up your contact center.
One of your agents picks the call and flatly refuses to entertain his request stating that he doesn’t know that he has subscribed to a service, and he has never used that service. The screen recording shows the information that the agent accessed before responding to the customer.
It shows that he didn’t spend time checking the customer’s usage of the subscribed service from the date it was subscribed.
These recordings help you assess the quality of your operations apart from providing inputs on what information needs to be accessed.
Also read our article on Latest Contact Center Trends
With this automation, you would be able to improve your customer experience by:
- Empowering your customers to self-serve
- Empowering your agents to provide a personalized experience
- Improving efficiency across your customer experience channels and functions
This would allow you to reduce AHTs and improve customer satisfaction and FCR while decreasing your agents’ onboarding and training costs.