What is call center automation?
Call center automation is the use of technological systems to complete repetitive tasks without the need for human agents to intervene.
Rather than employees spending time completing time-consuming tasks, contact center automation can take on this burden and free up your staff’s time to spend on more important actions. It can help to improve call center metrics results, such as first call resolution rates, speed to answer and more.
Done right, call center automation can revolutionize your call center processes and streamline your customer experience. Contact center automation can be powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive continuous adaptation to call center and customer needs, helping your team to dedicate their time to what matters most.
Read on to understand why implementing call center automation software has a high ROI for both your business and your customers.
What are the benefits of call center automation?
It makes call centers more capable
Instead of staffing a call center 24/7, you can implement call center automation software that covers the hours your employees aren’t working. You can also automatically engage on channels that are harder to cover all the time, such as social media channels. With 33% of consumers preferring to get customer service through social media than by phone, having omnichannel coverage is vital.
It makes call centers more efficient and productive
Not only that, but you can better avoid mistakes when your employees are inputting data, making your contact center more efficient. When you automate post-call admin, for example, your software won’t be in a rush as your employees might – it can automatically input the right information.
It reduces the cost to serve
If your customers are automatically being redirected to resources other than your call center that don’t cost as much to maintain, such as FAQs or chatbots, you can reduce your cost to serve each customer. With your employees’ time better spent on how to solve complex customer issues rather than on post-call admin, you also reduce contact center costs.
It improves employee experience
High turnover can be a common problem in contact centers. With a reduction in time-consuming, repetitive and often uninteresting tasks, automation can make your employees’ work more pleasant and interesting. They can also benefit from automated insights based on customer data that make their jobs easier, such as suggestions for upselling or for resolving issues delivered in real time.
Engaged, satisfied contact center employees are 8.5 times more likely to stay than leave in 12 months, and 16 times more likely to recommend your brand to friends. Increased employee satisfaction means less money spent on recruiting new customer service agents and likely a better company culture.
It improves contact center metrics
With automation, you can respond faster to your customers and direct them to resources that have more relevance. First contact resolution (FCR) scores and other vital metrics results can be improved as employees focus on satisfaction and your technology focuses on speed and efficiency.
It’s becoming the norm
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many businesses’ adoptions of automation. Nearly three-quarters of executives (74%) believe that artificial intelligence will make business processes more efficient, as well as forge new business models (55%) and enable the development of new products and services (54%). Keeping up with the competition and gaining an edge may likely depend on contact center automation in future.
Why call center automation is the future of customer satisfaction
Perhaps the most significant metric to work on with the support of call center automation is customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is key for your business’ growth and revenue generation.
Contact center automation is proven to help improve customer sentiment. Customer sentiment ratings rose by 57.3% among brands using artificial intelligence to support their customer experience provision. Call center automation can help your agents to quickly identify a customer’s identity and past customer interactions with the brand, their emotions, tone, sentiment and more to help them provide the best customer experience possible.
With poor experiences risking 6.7% of business revenue on average – the equivalent of $3.1 trillion – it’s key to ensure your customer service channels are performing above expectation for the greatest customer satisfaction.
Most importantly, customer satisfaction leads to financial benefits for your brand. We’ve found that customers who rate an experience 5/5 stars are over twice as likely to purchase again, with 80% of satisfied consumers spending more with your brand.
How does call center automation work?
In essence, call center automation uses software integrations, machine learning and artificial intelligence to automatically replace the work needed by human agents.
Using data from various sources, such as your operations, finances, customer feedback and more, your call center automation software can design workflows and processes to reduce administrative hassle.
This automation can be as simple as sending a post-call survey, or it can be as complex as identifying a customer’s emotive language in a text-based message sent on social media and suggesting actions to take.
What are the challenges of implementing call center automation?
On the customer side, there is a balance to be struck with providing customers with the experience they’re looking for, as well as making your processes more efficient and driving ROI. However, the right contact center automation software won’t feel as though you’re replacing human contact with a robotic process. Automation should feel more like customer needs being met faster and human interactions being saved for the critical issues, rather than ruining customer relationships.
On the employee side, often contact center staff can feel as though automation might replace them entirely – but really, contact center automation software can just eliminate the more grating aspects of admin and free up agents’ time to help customers, human to human. By removing the need to input the minutiae of customer data and automatically providing agents with helpful information, automation software can actually augment the agent experience.
Examples of contact center automation
There are thousands of ways that contact center automation can be implemented in your operational model – but there are some common ones that are easier to start with for quick business wins.
Virtual assistants and chatbots
Virtual assistants and chatbots can automatically initiate a customer conversation based on browsing behavior and start a dialogue with your audience. This type of automation software can be installed across brand websites, messaging platforms such as SMS, social media channels, mobile apps and more. If needed, this technology can escalate an issue or query to a human agent, but it’s a great way to get the ball rolling and can quickly solve customer issues without a call being needed.
Giving your customers the opportunity to ask queries and get solutions from an AI-driven virtual assistant or chatbot can help your contact center to be omnipresent. Rather than waiting for customers to call into your customer service team, you can provide them with help on specific pages and answer queries faster.
Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)
Powered by artificial intelligence, automatic speech recognition tools can allow your contact center software to “listen” to verbal responses from customers on phone calls to your customer service team. When paired with interactive voice response, it’s a powerful tool for directing calls and gathering customer information without a human needing to be involved at all.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Contact centers often use automated systems such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to help guide customers to the right team without needing a human on the other end of the call. An automated recording, plus automatic speech recognition software, is able to “listen” to customers’ responses to statements and queries and direct the call accordingly.
It helps you to keep customers on the line for longer and manage the virtual queue more effectively, reducing repeat customer calls. It can also collect basic information on customers to add to your database, such as the languages the customer uses, customer names, account details and more, as well as log simple details on the subject of their call.
Rather than filling in the sometimes tedious post-call forms and other administrative information, call center software can automatically fill in details of calls made to add to your knowledge base on each customer. That way, your agents’ time is freed up for more calls, instead of being spent on generating documents, amending customer data, tracking orders or managing caseloads.
Automated Agent Guidance
With automation driven by AI analytics, you can uncover opportunities to coach your call center agents. Contact center agents must continually be aware of your brand’s approach to customer service as well as being mindful of legal compliance at the same time.
Automated Agent Guidance gives real-time updates and insights to your agents to help them remember all they need to and provide the best service possible to your customers. This automation can be in the form of alert prompts or chatbots to help them focus on key areas of improvement in real time.
With customer feedback built in and compliance consistently monitored, you can design ongoing coaching plans that are accurate enough to improve agent performance and reduce employee churn.
When issues are flagged to customer service, sometimes customer feedback can get lost on its way to your product development team and other departments in your business. With workflow automations, everyone who needs to take action following a customer call will be notified of what they need to do. This helps to close the loop faster with customers and continuously improve your brand.
Automated scheduling and prediction-based software
Scheduling can be time-consuming, and can prevent call center team leaders from spending their time on more effective training and more. An adaptable automated schedule can quickly assign agents where and when they’re needed without needing supervision, taking into account demand and agents’ particular skill sets.
Similarly, prediction-based software can help read trends in past data (such as customer interest peaks) and make predictions automatically for future demand. This can help your call center to operate more efficiently with more agents assigned automatically to times of greater need.
What to look for in call center automation software
Text and voice analytics
Real-time call analytics that can track customer emotion, sentiment, and trending topics through natural language processing helps your customer service agents to understand each customer’s experience completely. With speech analytics and text analytics using natural language processing to work in tandem on calls and post-call feedback, you’re able to pinpoint drivers of customer calls and experiences.
Integrations with existing software
To ensure there’s no interruption to current customer service and that the technology that already works for you is kept in place, your call center software should be able to integrate smoothly with other software.
Automatic survey generation for better-closed loops
Ensure you capture the voice of the customer on every channel with automatic post-contact survey generation, helping you to close the loop faster with customers.
Powerful analytics built-in
Contact centers are treasure troves of insights on customer behavior, sentiment and more. Pulling out those insights from the often expansive sets of data a call center amasses requires the right technology.
Connecting your operational data and your experience data through your contact center software means you can optimize your approach to customer retention and better support agent activity. When analytics are built-in, you’re able to consistently add to your customer database of information and send insights to the right people, instantly.
Customizable automatic alerts
Alerts on customer actions, trends and call feedback should be automatically delivered in a customizable way to your agents and managers. Department silos can be broken down more effectively with one comprehensive system for delivering key information.
Real-time quality management
Often, customer service agents’ performance reviews are based on a small sample of calls that are listened to by a superior. A more fair way to monitor quality in agents’ performance is to automatically evaluate all their calls, using text and speech analytics alongside operational data to draw conclusions on quality. This helps you to meet legal requirements for compliance more consistently, as well as giving agents more accurate evaluations of quality.
Use Qualtrics to power your call center automation
Support your contact center’s ability to effectively retain customers and streamline workflows with Qualtrics’ contact center solution.
Create positive experiences to increase customer loyalty and empower your customer service agents with real-time insights into responsive action. Using complex analytics driven by your data, exceed your customers’ expectations for your call centers and increase your revenue as a result.
Don’t fall behind your competitors with slow processes – automate your call center workflows for greater efficiency and better customer experiences.