Conversational Analytics / 29.07.2014

Automation tools for Next Generation Contact Centers – Part I

Automation tools for contact centers - Speech recognitionThat moment when someone says ‘Contact Center’, we tend to think of people neatly organized in a row, sitting beside their phones, answering customer calls. Is this the real image of a contact center? No! Contact centers are more than the image of head-set wearing agents who communicate in a scripted approach to customers. Almost all industries – Airline, Banking, Insurance, Lending, Telecom, Healthcare, and Utilities are reliant on contact centers to service their customers and improve their customer relationship. To an organization, contact centers’ matters a lot, they view contact centers as extended arms of their organization that helps to:

  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve business process efficiency
  • Increase revenues
  • Reduce customer relationship management costs
  • Improve partner channel management
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduce risks

These contact centers (generally referred as call centers) has a history of over 60 years that goes back to 1950s, when the first Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) systems are launched to handle enquiries at the main telephone companies. Ever since, contact centers has consistently evolved from a call distributor to an inbound call center, and to an inbound & outbound contact center, further into a modern customer self-service contact center.

Today, with or without our knowledge, these modern contact centers are increasingly becoming a part of our day-to-day activities. More than a query-handling caller service, customers look at these modern contact centers as relationship platforms because they lie close to them with just a call (in many cases a free call) away. Many organizations fail to take a look at this in a customer point of view and end-up providing frustrating customer service which in-turn creates a dissatisfied customer circle.

The following customer survey graph shows the most important factors that frustrate customers in a contact center support:

Source: Social Media for Customer Service Survey by Clickfox (web.clickfox.com)

Almost half of the participants indicate that repeating the dilemma to different contact center agents again and again is frustrating them most. This is so true, that each one of us would have faced the same scenario when speaking to a customer contact center.

How does a poor customer contact service impact an organization?

According to the same customer survey, 52% of the customers who experience bad customer service tell their family, friends and peers about their experience and spread negative words about the product/service. This proves that the primary reason of engaging a contact center i.e. addressing customer queries has been compromised and on top of that contact centers become one of the reasons to stop doing business with the organization.

How can organizations transform their contact centers and gain efficiencies?

To end this customer attrition, organizations has to re-invent the contact center approaches by leveraging latest technologies. In any case, the stakeholders can’t be changed – both the customers and customer service agents, but the problem can be solved by introducing a robust middle-man, an intelligent speech recognition system.

How can speech recognition technologies improve customer service in a contact center?

Customer contact centers can now offer Natural, Intuitive Self-Service Interactions through enhanced speech recognition solution. With speech recognition solution on-board, a real-time scenario of a contact center would be as simple as the one below:

  • Customer calls the contact center support
  • System asks him/her to speak their query
  • Customer wants to check the due date to pay his/her bills
  • System checks the customer data and provide the information
  • Customer wants to migrate to a different plan
  • System understands the query and connects the customer to a caller agent
  • System also notifies the caller agent about the customer’s query

By embracing speech recognition technologies, contact centers can:

  • Automate response for 40% to 80% of the frequently asked queries
  • Offer natural, self-service interactions rather than clumsy IVR led dial-pad based interactions
  • Reduce customer query resolution time by 50%
  • Improve customer service agents quality by effective call monitoring
  • Improve customer service efficiency by 100%
  • Increase first call resolution by 50%

By understanding these business benefits, Uniphore has developed contact center automation solutions that helps contact centers across industries to reduce their operational costs by 30% and enhance customer satisfaction (CSAT) by 100%.

Thus speech recognition is turning out to be a key automation tool in the back-pack of a next generation contact center. In part 2 of this series, I’d be writing on how speech analytics/audio mining is helping next generation contact center to fortify fraud detection and improve process compliance. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject, please share your comments below or mail me at kaviarasan@uniphore.com.

About Uniphore: Uniphore Software Systems is the leader in Multi lingual speech-based software solutions. Uniphore’s solutions allow any machine to understand and respond to natural human speech, thus enabling humans to use the most natural of communication modes, speech, to engage and instruct machines. Uniphore operates from its corporate headquarters at IIT Madras Research Park, Chennai, India and has sales offices in Middle East (Dubai, UAE) as well as in Manila, Philippines.