Every day, we allow technology to take the reigns in the most monotonous of tasks. From the alarm that wakes us up, reminders on our daily appointments, checking out the latest news, to interacting with our peers online, we depend on the ease and availability from smartphones, mobile apps, and constant connectivity. Automation is one major upgrade that has changed how we book hotel rooms, flights, and even ordering our food. It’s only inevitable that automation has become the disruptor to call center services.
The Inevitability of Automation
Right now, the call center industry is still employing analog systems and interactive voice responses despite the increasing dependence on digital solutions. Call centers will have to eventually upgrade as millennials, the world’s largest market, prefer self-service options over human interaction. One study showed that 72% of millennials believe a phone call isn’t the best way to resolve a customer service problem. Instead, they would opt to read FAQs, online forums, or engage in chat or bot services. This generation is much more self-reliant, removing the likelihood of more individuals requiring interactive customer service. With customers only opting to call customer service agents after or if self-service options did not provide a solution, it is the job of a call center agent to retain the customer rather than service them. Thus it’s only practical for call centers to upgrade and invest in the digital interactions that millennials prefer.
The main automation disruptors come in the form of AI and cognitive technologies. As indicated earlier, customers would prefer to discuss their issues with chatbot technologies. But apart from the customer preference for these technologies, the automated solutions are also able to keep up with the customer’s demands. A small 36% of contact centers are capable of tracking a customer’s queries across multiple channels. An even smaller percentage at 17% can easily locate the problems that lead to a negative customer experience. It would be much faster and more practical for call centers to make the most out of user-friendly online customer experiences. In fact, there is a predicted increase in the following platforms for digital channel planning this year alone: web chat going from 44.3% to 81.1%, social media increasing to 76.1%, and mobile apps rising up from 41.6% to 75.45%.
The Financial Impact
Customer satisfaction isn’t the only benefit to upgrading and opting for more automated call center services. There is still a high turnover rate within customer care centers, estimated between 30 to 45%. A single turnover comes at a minimum cost of $6,440. Other costs include recruiting new hires at $4000 up and training these agents at around $4800 or more. These costs would also rise over time and cause a serious dent on the company’s finances. Automated customer service solutions bear controlled costs. There’s no need to re-train different individuals, just simply upgrade or re-configure the software according to any new need that arises.
Addressing Customer Issues Before They Happen
Unlike current and outdated call center interactions, automation can provide an advanced level of responsiveness. One form of automation would provide pre-emptive customer services that can anticipate the needs of customers through context, preferences, and prior queries, says the 2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic Forrester report. Artificial intelligence agents would be the main technology behind this service, adding conversational interfaces to static self-service content, the report describes. The AI would monitor potential issues through the company’s website, checking for any distress indicators and identifying customer experience issues. At the same time, the system would respond as either virtual service agents in different platforms or through real-time support via FAQs.
Immediately resolving customer service problems even before they occur won’t just improve the company’s reputation and increase customer satisfaction. It would also lower customer abandonment rates during that purchasing cycle and reduce the complaints the call center would have to deal with.
Unlike human call center agents, an automated service will still be present and more than ready to take on requests and queries during holidays and extremely late hours. Your company doesn’t have to worry about having dissatisfied customers come Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Continuing to provide these services even at such odd hours and “dead” days can level up your brand’s reputation. At the same time, you give all your employees the break they need and have them return with a refreshed mindset after the long holiday.
Working Hand in Hand with Human Agents
AIs, however, won’t provide all the solutions for better and improved customer service. Call centers employ the Hybrid AI or the Agent Assist, where in a bot gets information from the customer before turning over more complex concerns to the human agent. It should be noted that majority of automated technology is still being developed and that bots have yet to achieve the empathy levels of humans. The AI would take care of simple and frequently asked questions but more complex, multi-level and situation-specific queries would still require the human agent.
Collecting Valuable Information
While a call center’s human employees are focused on empathic and complex servicing situations, the AI will also be responsible for analyzing the data gathered from all those calls and other interactions. The technology will be able to sift through all that data and see how else the call center can improve its customer interaction. The main goal of data analytics would be to see how the data can improve the company’s personalization, particularly in the products they are using or consume and how else the brand can recommend the rest of its services. Having automated technologies in your call center doesn’t just improve customer service but also helps in building the rest of your business.
Understanding What Else Automation Could Provide
The customer service industry is an entirely separate entity that most businesses outsource to save on costs. If your company wants to understand more about automation and how this disruptor can improve your business, it’s best to tap experts in both outsourcing and contact services such as Infinit Contact. Our experience includes call center and customer service outsourcing, along with social media and tech support outsourcing.