Over the last few years, call centers have changed significantly. With the rapid advancement of technology, brands have started to rethink how they deliver exceptional customer service.
New technologies such as cloud-based virtual call centers, AI-driven chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR), and voice biometrics have all become integral components of many companies’ front-line customer service teams.
In a recent webinar, our Business Partner Replicant stated that 80% of customer interactions can be resolved by automation. What percentage of your call center operations are automated?
Whether you are looking to have a 24/7/365 call center or enhance and optimize your operations, with virtual agents working alongside human agents, there is significant potential to consistently solve various pain points and scale your business.
If your goal is to increase your live agents’ availability to handle the more complex, high-level, and emotional customer requests, then it makes sense to embrace automation and leave routine inquiries such as bill payments and address changes to the virtual agents.
However, when deciding how to merge automated virtual agents into your call center, how do you determine what exactly should be automated?
Let’s explore five ways to get started with optimizing your operations using contact center automation.
1. Be Clear About What You Want to Achieve
If you want to get off to a good start, it’s imperative to be very clear about what you’re trying to achieve with contact center automation. Are you looking to optimize tactical work or relationship-building work?
For some businesses, the goal may be higher quality with fewer costly mistakes in their process or on phone calls. For others, they might want to reduce costs, have production move faster, or give their employees more time on the phone to build relationships with customers. All these things are possible, however, the program you implement is going to be specific to your business and goals.
There are different aspects of AI that will provide different types of results. It’s important that you know what they all do, and what you can achieve with each of them. The fact of the matter is you may not need all these tools; you may only need one.
If you want a frame of reference of what’s possible before you start investing time and money, do your research, take the time to educate yourself and your team, and connect with people who are using the technology.
2. Start Small
The first step? Take a process that you have and break it down into its smallest parts–step one, step two, step three. For example, if you think of a phone call you’re taking from a customer, there are probably a few things you want to have happen during that call to consider it a success.
From hello to goodbye, if you broke down the process, you’d see that there’s potential to automate a particular step. To get started, you don’t need to solve the entire process or problem all at once. By taking small steps, you can start to reduce costs and see production gains by solving specific steps in a process with automation.
3. Get Started Now
Customer expectations only continue to rise and every month there are new advances in AI. The longer you wait to get involved, the easier it will be for competitors to bypass you. AI and the “thinking machine” have the power to level the playing field when it comes to keeping up with your competitors. You should at least start educating yourself and create a blueprint of what you’d like to tackle with automation so when you’re ready to begin you’ll be prepared.
4. Make the Technology Work for You
When you’re designing your AI program, you’ll be working with a team of designers and engineers that build this technology to make it work for you. However, they don’t know your business. You’ll need to educate them on the nuances of your industry and business.
Identify the subject experts within your organization and give them time to look over your operations and documentation regarding how the business is run. That way, when the information and instructions are handed over to the designers and engineers to build out your automated work processes, they will understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
5. It’s About Your Employees
While you may be focused on costs, production, quality, and speed, you should not forget about your employees and how the technology translates to them. Is it going to make their job easier?
If you’re thinking about automating to optimize your call center, the key is to educate not eliminate your workforce. Automation is new to many people, and it’s important to communicate the benefits to your front-line staff and explain how it can eliminate their pain points.
For instance, automation tools can handle tier-one support issues, allowing live agents to focus on what they do best—being human.
Are you actively exploring automated solutions? Have you implemented some automation within your organization? Or do you have a level of confidence in your contact center automation as it exists right now?
If you want to find out more about how to optimize and add value to your contact center operations with automation, tune in to this on-demand webinar: 7 Tips for Optimizing Operations Using Contact Center Automation.