Contact Center Automation Guide: Definition, Benefits, Best Practices
- What Do We Mean by Contact Center Automation?
- A Nice-to-Have vs. A Necessity
- What Do You Get By Automating Your Contact Center?
- What Can You Automate?
- Key Considerations for a Successful Automation Deployment
- The Bottom Line
Contact centers are all about customer satisfaction, experience, and issue resolution. Automation is all about optimizing and improving processes and interactions. Put them together and what do you get? The perfect power couple.
Automation offers empowering solutions for contact centers to deliver better and faster customer service. And with global digital transformation that keeps reaching new heights of innovation, embracing automation to augment operations and improve performance is a strategic priority. Here’s the big picture on contact center automation, expanding possibilities and tools for success.
What Do We Mean by Contact Center Automation?
Automation is the key to successfully handling some customer-facing interactions without human intervention and enhancing decision support tools for agents.
Digital-first interaction has become the preference. For call centers, that means leveraging technology to put the customer first. An essential element of automation is to resolve customer pain points, focusing on ease of interaction to reduce customer effort and friction. Providing a seamless, easy digital customer journey is key to enhancing customer experience and loyalty.
Organizations are resolving more customer issues remotely and providing new service channels to boost overall effectiveness and improve customer experience. It’s next-level innovation, leveraging AI-driven automation to streamline and improve workflows and offload repetitive tasks, automation to empower agents, cut costs, and save time. Intelligent automation brings the capabilities of the “power couple” to the forefront – adding voice and visuals, self-service options incorporating remote visual guidance, AI-powered virtual agent support and chatbots, and an updated, accessible knowledge base for live agents.
A Nice-to-Have vs. A Necessity
The landscape of customer service and customer engagement is changing and evolving. Digital channels become a given and remote support the norm. New sustainability trends promote work from home options and the rise of a do-it-yourself and on-demand culture significantly contribute to changing expectations of employees and customers. These changes have led to the need for a shift in customer service strategy to create added value and provide the ability to navigate and synchronize multiple channels.
Contact center automation is accelerating. Once nice to have, it has become a necessity for increased operational efficiency and cost reduction. Customer-facing and behind-the-scenes, automation addresses the demand for convenience, value, and speed. Intelligent interaction of customer and technology, human agent alongside virtual agent. For example, AI-powered virtual agents can handle mundane activities and an infinite number of repetitive customer interactions, which can make up a whopping 60-80% of calls handled by call center agents. And that frees human agents up to take more complex, high-value calls, saving time and costs.
What Do You Get By Automating Your Contact Center?
By implementing call center automation, you enhance customer experience by providing more channels for engagement, delivering optimal service while increasing efficiency, success, and profitability. Quality of service directly impacts critical business areas, and automation will keep you ahead of the game and help maintain a competitive edge in a highly competitive industry. Automation offers more than one way to improve metrics and cut costs.
Intelligent call routing handles calls more efficiently for faster response, a key performance indicator for call centers. A report by Accenture indicates a time savings of up to 70 percent for clients with automation.
Shorter average handle time
Call automation reduces wait time, and virtual agents reduce talk time to a minimum, both shortening the interaction from initial customer call to resolution. Higher FCR cuts costs, improves customer experience and reduces customer churn, and minimizes revenue loss.
Employees with automated tools and knowledge base can provide better, more personalized customer service and be more productive. That’s good for business, and good for employee retention. Reducing the number of rote calls and repetitive tasks and providing better decision-making tools enables live agents to use their skills to solve more complex customer issues, for a greater sense of job satisfaction.
Automation cuts response time and increases efficiency, for a better customer experience. Successfully managing customer expectations and rapid issue resolution increases customer retention – an average of 66% of consumers say that poor customer service led to terminating their relationship with a company.
Frictionless customer experience
Customers want easy and hassle-free interactions. Automation creates a seamless customer experience in every channel of engagement, removing obstacles and eliminating any problems that a customer might encounter while interacting with the company, saving time and effort and improving customer retention.
Reduced customer effort
Interactions that require effort can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and increased customer churn. Automated tools and processes enable more rapid response and simplified interactions, making it easy for customers to access information and receive support, and avoid the need for customers to repeat themselves.
What Can You Automate?
Automation can improve a wide range of processes and provide important information. Here are some contact center automation trends:
Automation eliminates the need for repetitious, manual data entry, a powerful tool to reduce errors and enhance efficiency and consistency. Reducing the burden on agents leaves more time for direct engagement with customers.
Transfer of Calls
Automation helps to optimize routing, directing calls to digital and self-service channels immediately and transferring to a live agent when needed. With an automated system, live agents can quickly transfer calls to another agent or expert without the customer having to repeat the conversation, enabling a more responsive, personalized, and effortless customer experience.
Automated approval and job verification between field service and call agent with intelligent visual guidance. Provide effective decision support with the ability to transmit images and video of technical issues or validation of an object with a remote expert. Automated scheduling saves time and costs and ensures optimal staffing levels for better customer service.
An automated, updated online knowledge base, chatbots and virtual assistants empower customers to solve their own issues and quickly find answers to their questions without having to communicate with a live agent.
Gather real-time, accurate and integrated customer and performance data and use advanced analytics to generate actionable insights that align with business goals and strategy. Improve KPIs, customer satisfaction and employee engagement while reducing costs.
Key Considerations for a Successful Automation Deployment
Automation has exceptional business value, streamlining processes to cut costs, keeping interactions flowing smoothly, driving speed and scalability, and improving performance metrics.
Keep the Customers’ Needs in Mind
While the bottom line may be your top priority, it’s important to find the right balance to optimize virtual processes and augment live agents for effective collaboration.
Partnering with the Right Solution
A solution provider drives added value and generates growth with innovative and intuitive tools, enabling effective system integration to manage and improve customer and employee engagement, drive productivity, and reduce operational costs.
Deliver a Continuous User Experience
Omnichannel customer support in an integrated system provides a consistent, effective, real-time and reliable experience across all channels.
Support Your Staff
Agent guidance and training with real-time assistance empowers agents to handle customer-facing interactions and ensures compliance with processes and procedures. Proper training on automated processes optimizes performance, improving agent productivity and engagement.
Understand Your Clients’ Needs
Gather client feedback to identify areas that need improvement in automation strategy and critical touchpoints, and to help create the right balance between automation and human interaction.
The Bottom Line
Automation enables contact centers to focus on offering a seamless, effortless customer journey, handling requests without wasting time or sacrificing the personal touch when needed, from first interaction to issue resolution. In addition to enhancing user experience, automation in the call center is a driver of collaboration and will redefine agents’ roles.