How do you lower call center costs once all the low-hanging fruit has been picked clean? That’s the question call center leaders across the world have to wrestle with today, as fallout from the COVID-19 crisis forces organizations to do more with less.
These days, automation is promptly prescribed in the recipe for resilience. The call center has, for a long time, been in dire need of such transformation. Before we can conclude with a fairy tale ending, it’s imperative that customer operations leaders avoid costly mistakes and learn how to build reliable models to assess the ROI for call center automation.
The truth is call centers don’t need to sacrifice customer experience or service quality in order to cut back on costs. Using the latest call center tech, like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), call centers have an incredible opportunity to reduce operational costs, streamline the call center experience and boost employee productivity.
If you’ve already exhausted all of the usual cost-efficiency suspects, consider how innovative technology can help drive better outcomes within the call center.
How to Run a Kickass Call Center Powered by AI and RPAThanks to the emergence of AI and RPA, call centers have the tools they need to fundamentally change the way their internal workflows run. With their abundance of manual and time-consuming tasks, contact centers are ideal environments to incorporate AI-enabled automation into everyday processes. According to Forrester, more than 44% of organizations are already using RPA in some capacity. But there are always opportunities to expand the use of RPA and find new applications for this technology. RPA can take care of the burdensome work that bogs down contact center agents and extends the length of customer calls. Here are a few ways to take advantage of AI and RPA and run a leaner, meaner call center:
Don’t Let Your IVR Limit Your Self-Service
It’s difficult to imagine how today’s call centers would operate without interactive voice response (IVR). These automated systems field incoming calls and help guide customers to the right customer service agent who can address their concerns. That often involves the caller wading through phone trees, answering a series of clarifying questions and providing background information regarding their particular issue.
Ideally, IVR systems give agents all the context they need to quickly resolve customer issues and move on to the next caller. Reality doesn’t always play out as seamlessly as that, however. Callers are often asked to repeat information they have already provided through IVR systems, and that does not bode well for the customer experience. More than 52% of respondents who participated in a 2018 Harris Poll survey said they get frustrated when they have to repeat themselves to customer service representatives.
Enrich your contact center with multiexperience capabilities to engage callers how they prefer, on any modality, at any touchpoint. Offer customers self-service tools to explore available support options and choose the right path for themselves. For instance, visual IVR serves up on-screen customer support when the voice modality isn’t capable of delighting the customer and boosting self-service at the same time. Customers have the freedom to find quick answers to any questions they have and provide more context to problems before speaking to a call center representative. RPA bots seamlessly upload that information directly to an agent’s screen so they can jump right in and solve whatever issue a caller has. It’s simple, it’s fast and it’s easy – everything your customer service should strive to be.
Replace Hold Music With the Sound of Awesome Customer Service
Hold music is something of a necessary evil for call centers. On one hand, hold music fills the silence that would otherwise leave a caller placed on hold wondering if their call has been disconnected. Hearing the same recording over and over again can be grating, and even the best music can wear out its welcome after repeated listens in a short span of time. According to a 2020 Genesys survey, 27% of respondents say listening to “annoying messages music and repeated messages” is one of the most irritating parts of customer service today.
Robotic desktop automation, also known as Attended RPA, streamlines call center workflows so customers aren’t left on hold listening to the same recording over and over again. RPA bots accelerate, simplify and improve a wide variety of call center processes:
- Transfer customer-provided information directly to agents so callers aren’t asked to repeat themselves.
- Automate decision trees and simplify the day-to-day workflows agents manage.
- Monitor agent activity to spot decisions that veer away from best practices and may not serve the client’s best interests.
- Detect the customer’s intent in real-time even as their conversation with the agent evolves over the chat channel or the voice channel.
- Deliver actionable guidance to agents and automate manual tasks proactively, by leveraging real-time intent from advanced real-time speech to intent analytics and applying real-time attended automation on the agent desktop to provide quicker and more effective support.
Make After Call Work a Thing of the PastAgents can spend a lot of time creating summaries of their calls to document specific interactions, customer feedback and other important details that might not come through in transcription software. Although necessary for creating the best customer experience possible, this kind of after call work is extremely time-consuming, burdening stressed-out call center representatives who are already under a lot of pressure.
Demystify the ROI for Call Center Automation
The typical call center has an enormous amount of waste and inefficiency lurking below the surface, leading to long handle times, excessive error rates and higher operating costs. Bolstered by RPA and AI, sophisticated call center automation cuts down on unnecessary tasks and processes that make the customer experience feel like a long slog through endless menus and deja vu-tinged conversations.
After implementing our call center automation tools, our customers were able to lower the average call time from nearly 8 minutes to just over 5 minutes, while bringing their agent error rate down to 1%. Between the reduced call deflection rates, average handle times, error rates and agent training demands, those customers improved operational efficiency by at least 30%. In terms of dollars and cents, a contact center with 1,000 agents can expect to save $18 million a year from those efficiency gains.
To learn more about the cost-saving opportunities that call center automation offers and to build a reliable ROI for call center automation, register for our new webinar today.