Future-proof your Contact Center

August 9, 2020

If you’ve been paying attention to the hype these past few years you’ve certainly noticed that everything is about artificial intelligence, automation and bots nowadays.  These terms all sound advanced and futuristic, but what do they all really mean?  Can a company really deflect 50% of their inbound calls by just deploying bots?  Is it really possible to automate your contact center agents and maximize efficiencies in your environment?  The short answer is an emphatic, yes.

In today’s technology-driven business environment, if you’re not looking at ways to deflect, optimize and automate your processes then the chances are good you’re already behind.  The most expensive resources in your contact center are people.  That doesn’t mean you need to find ways to get rid of your most valuable asset, just optimize the time they spend with your customers. 

Salesforce recently shared some interesting customer experience statistics.  Here are some of the most compelling ones:

  • The average customer uses 10 different communication channels – That’s tough to manage in your contact center so you need to optimize how you funnel them to your agents.
  • 93% of customers use the phone for customer service – Voice is really making a resurgence and with COVID it is likely to continue.
  • 80% of customers identify speed and convenience as most important to good service – This is not surprising as there are similar compelling stats shared every year. 
  • 56% of agents say they toggle between too many screens – Single panes of glass are essential to efficiency so evaluating your options no matter what solution will be key to optimizing your agents focus.
  • $75B of business is lost due to poor customer service – This tells us that even the most efficient contact centers can be improved.  Just to put this into context, the current cloud contact center market is valued at ~$15B.

So, what does this all mean? Essentially voice is making a comeback in customer experience, and the tea leaves are telling you it’s time to invest in technologies to maximize your agent’s time.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic many customers have interacted with businesses solely through their contact centers, so it is extremely critical for businesses to improve that customer experience. The good news is, this can be improved with automation.

Many contact centers experience productivity problems, which often result in long wait times, high call abandonment rates, and poor average handle times. As the Salesforce’s stats say, when customer experience goes wrong, consumers aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere. Another interesting stat shows that 76% of customers are willing to make a change based on their experience. So, if bad customer experience costs the US economy $75 billion a year, how can we use automation to help?

Process Automation

Many companies spend millions of hours on inbound calls updating end-customers on the status of their orders.  These are wasted minutes however, given you could either use self-service to deflect the call or proactively update the customer. 

One uses case OmniLegion recently worked on was with a company who wanted to integrate their contact center platform with their shipping carriers to automatically notify customers where the product was in its lifecycle.  Phase two of the project will add chatbots and sms-bots with Amazon Connect as the underlying platform, which will allow customers to proactively inquire on the status of their order.

Repeat data requests

How often do you get asked the same question in one call?  This is one of the more frustrating parts of working with contact centers.  These situations can frustrate your customer base and waste their time. By automating these repetitive tasks, you can eliminate wasted handle time and can let agents focus on what they were hired for: Being human, solving problems and showing empathy.

To assist in completing processes seamlessly, you can integrate automation into your current systems to assist in completing processes. One example could be leveraging automation to pull data from one system to another and activate it with the click of a button.

One use case for automating repetitive inquiries involves creating an appointment for onsite technical support. This process requires verifying an account, manually scheduling the appointment, and documenting the technical issue. You can then integrate your ITSM with an appointment scheduling system to eliminate added data entry.

Data sharing across applications using Robotic Process Automation

On average, agents work with 10 tools to complete customer requests. Moving between tools to copy and paste data requires unnecessary work ultimately lengthening handling time.

One solution involves using robotic process automation (RPA) to allow agents to easily transfer data between systems automatically.

As an example, your business could have a process where an agent works on calls for credit card fraud. To service a customer an agent needs to work within the financial system portal, CRM interface, and a card ordering system. RPA can integrate and auto-populate the data down to reason codes, card number, address, etc.

Automate and anticipate post-call work

Most incoming calls require after call work (ACW), a post-call state the agent spends completing account transactions and updating the customer profile.  This could include entering data into a CRM or ITSM for tracking and relationship purposes. This places your agents into an inactive state until the tasks are completed, making them unavailable to receive new calls ultimately increasing customer wait time.

Automation can drastically reduce ACW time by transcribing voice calls and attaching them to the CRM on behalf of the agent.  Automated processes can also trigger a specific action after a call requests is completed.  One way the new Salesforce / Amazon Connect partnership product, Service Cloud Voice, is helping here is transcribing the call and predicting what actions need to be performed, or which information should be sent. 

Many call centers send an email or letter when a customer purchases a new plan, or updates or cancels their service.  Automation could extract the information from the ITSM, identify the action needed, autofill it within the email / letter template and either send automatically or have a separate team validate and send in a separate process.

Why it matters

Satisfied customers contribute 2.6 times more revenue to the company than unsatisfied ones. This means that customers who have a positive experience are more loyal and are more likely to refer/recommend your business. Companies need to use customer experience as a key product differentiator so it is imperative that companies to get their contact centers operating efficiently.  Increased deflection and self-service, reduced call and wait times and maximizing the efficiency of every agent on staff will make customers stickier and draw new customers to your company. If done correctly, this makes your customer experience centers a key revenue driver and not a cost center.

Don’t miss out on optimizing your contact center and reach out to OmniLegion today to improve your experience and drive more revenue to your business with automation.

Sources

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