There is no shortage of hyped up contact center technologies making the rounds to rescue customer experience leaders from the doldrums of this pandemic.
The pitch goes…”What if you could have ‘AI’ listen to the phone conversation between your customers and your agents, and assist your agents on how they should manage the customer interaction in real-time?”
The speech-based agent assistant is a fantastic enabler in a variety of contexts. That said, in this post, we’d like to offer a more comprehensive view of agent-oriented technologies that you should invest in.
According to Gartner, contact centers have experienced an enormous amount of disruption and upheaval since 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changing the way agents go about their work. Remote work has become the norm — even if only temporarily so — and contact center leaders are faced with the tall task of managing a mix of on-site and remote employees while still maintaining a high standard of customer service.
Looking ahead, the same external forces that altered the contact center landscape in 2020 and 2021 will still be active, forcing businesses to rethink their long-term customer service strategies. Regardless of what the future has in store for contact centers, customer experience will continue to be a major priority. With PwC reporting that 32% of consumers will drop a brand they used to love after only a single bad experience, the stakes for delivering good customer service and support have never been higher.
Juggling the various demands heaped upon contact center leaders — providing a great customer experience, managing hybrid workforces, and keeping costs down, to name a few — may appear to be an insurmountable challenge. The latest contact center technology, however, can help businesses navigate whatever operational obstacles lie ahead of them and continue delivering excellent customer support. Look to these seven contact center tools, in particular, to give your contact center a boost in the years ahead.
With so many contact center agents, back-office support staff, and other key employees working remotely, organizations need to figure out a way to facilitate communication and collaboration across their entire workforce. Thanks to cloud-based solutions, there are numerous collaboration tools that can help connect employees regardless of their location.
To take it one step further, you can eliminate agents’ reliance on collaboration to some extent, by using agent assist tools that remove friction. For instance, if a junior contact center agent runs into a problem they can’t solve on their own, they would normally need to turn to a more experienced staff member for guidance. Automated agent support tools could dynamically pull up suggested next steps and shared knowledge depending on the context of the situation, preempting the junior employee’s need for veteran support.
#2. Robotic Process Automation(RPA)
Advanced automation solutions, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), have tons of applications in the modern contact center, especially now that so many are relying on remote or mixed workforces. A 2020 Cisco survey found that 80% decision-makers view software robots and artificial intelligence-enabled automation as important components of their contact centers.
RPA bots can automate everything from password management to post-call reporting tasks, allowing agents to work faster and more efficiently than ever. By automating time-consuming jobs, contact centers can give employees more time and bandwidth to focus on delivering a positive customer experience at all times.
#3. Real-time Process Guidance
At some time or another, every contact center agent has run into a question or problem that they didn’t know how to solve. Taking a lot of time to track down an answer can hurt the customer experience, even if the interaction does produce a resolution. Guided workflow tools can provide agents with the best course of action for virtually any scenario, and deliver those recommendations in real-time. Customer support representatives don’t need to put people on hold because all the information they need is delivered right to their console. That means faster and better support for the customer and fewer headaches for the agent.
#4. Systems Monitoring
Contact center leaders know how important real-time visibility is today, but if you can’t put those insights to use, then you’re only scratching the surface of what systems monitoring solutions can do. Organizations need to take full advantage of those tools to continually improve contact center operations and respond to shifting conditions. The rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on call centers highlighted just how critical it is that businesses have the visibility and agility to pivot when needed.
Contact centers can’t afford to wait weeks or months to fix a broken or flawed process that’s actively hurting the customer experience. Low code automation makes it easier to respond to changing needs as they develop, empowering operations teams to complete in days or even hours what would have taken weeks to finish.
#5. Speech Analytics
Speech analytics tools have been around for years, helping contact center leaders review call transcripts and assess agent performance. Businesses need to apply speech analytics solutions to the entire user journey to fully understand where their customer experience strategies should be tweaked in the digital age. Contact centers should target every major touchpoint and experiential factor, including:
- Supporting digital self-service.
- Facilitating multimodal channel switching.
- Matching customers to the right agent and platform.
- Knowing when to bring in a live agent for support.
- Identify agent guidance and automation opportunities in real-time.
The customer journey is much more complex today, and speech analytics tools can provide the in-depth insights needed to improve every interaction, regardless of where it occurs.
With so many call center agents working remotely, team leaders may have trouble motivating staff members and keeping them engaged. Gamification presents numerous opportunities to challenge agents through friendly competition to be more productive and hit various performance benchmarks. It’s important to tie gamification strategies to key performance indicators (KPIs) like first-call resolution, customer satisfaction and call quality metrics to ensure your staff is working better, not just faster.
#7. Intraday Management
Agent workloads can shift from day to day, making it difficult for contact centers to anticipate the best way to divvy up tasks in a fair and equitable manner. Intraday management tools respond to changes in personnel and resources — an agent taking a sick day, for instance — as soon as they occur to map out their impact to workloads across every channel. Some disruptions are unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean contact centers are helpless to plan around them.
Agent Assist with an Automation-First Mindset
The must-have capabilities discussed here cover a lot of ground, and each one is important to contact center operations in its own way. The truth is, there’s no single solution — whether it’s moving to the cloud, upgrading your customer relationship management platform or incorporating advanced AI tools — that will address every challenge the future holds for contact centers.
As contact centers’ technology environments become more complex, it will be essential that orgaizations are able to harmonize their entire tech stack and seamlessly integrate new platforms and solutions. Taking an automation-first mindset will enable contact centers to become more nimble and agile, capable of incorporating the latest tools and continually refining their processes to deliver a better customer experience. Contact Uniphore today to learn more.