Contact Center Automation: Best Practises
Is the word ‘instant’ synonymous with user satisfaction?
When a person orders food online, they expect fast delivery at 15 minutes tops. People scan QR codes to save themselves the trouble of falling in line when making appointments or registering during events. Even replying to customer queries as simple as “Where are you located?” or concerns as complex as refund requests should only take less than five minutes.
In short, instant service defines the very moment a customer decides whether to continue purchasing from your business or move on to another brand.
So how can you be the best at providing lightning fast assistance at all times?The answer is simple: contact center automation.
What Is Contact Center Automation
First things first, what is a contact center?
A contact center is a business’s middle ground or headquarters for multiple channels used to connect with customers and vice-versa. It is covered by a multitude of software or platforms designed mainly for communication, including instant messaging, social media, SMS, and email.
Automating your contact center entails combining the power of technology with the tested-and-proven customer service chops of your in-house workforce. Admit it—human capacities are limited when faced with increasing competition among businesses.
Over the years, business owners realized that there is more to engaging customers via phone call than simply yielding an answer to what they ask. It was a focal point and a catalyst for garnering more word-of-mouth recommendations and earning the loyalty of customers. People are no longer staying within a single dimension of the internet to find services and identify brands that could meet their preferences for a particular product.
Seeing as how end-users have the capacity to dig out any information they need about a brand, the automation of call center operations sprung to life and reformed customer support into the intricate mechanism we know today.
Call it call center robotic automation if you want, but combining your existing team of support reps with AI is the practical way to go about meeting today’s market demands.
Contact Center Automation Best Practices
You’ll be surprised to know that the secret behind unlocking a seamless UX and delivering highly commendable service doesn’t take dramatic restructuring. It does not even require spending more than half of your budget.
There are currently existing contact center automation trends that you can use as your guide for assimilating bots into your customer service HQ, namely:
1. IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
The practice involves a combination of three phone innovations: Text-to-speech, DTMF (Dual-Tone-Multi-Frequency), and pre-documented messages. If you’ve ever called a company’s customer support hotline and were presented with options such as, “Press 1 to check payment options” or “Press 2 to speak to a representative”, that is how IVR operates.
It uses integrated information about your services to deliver human-like assistance to customers who dial your user support hotline to express their concerns. It has the capacity to handle user queries independently and redirect callers to a suitable personnel from your office for efficient assistance. IVR comes in handy whenever your office receives calls beyond your business hours, or if you have limited agents at the moment.
There are two ways you can integrate Interactive Voice Response. One, activate the use of keypads or touch-tone technology to help the software understand more accurately where a customer may be in need of assistance. In other words, use the different number pads on the telephone so that it corresponds to a specific detail about your business. Another way to implement IVP is to program your voice AI to address concerns based on a set of keywords or verbal clues within a caller’s response. If a customer asks about their billing statement, then the system may provide options or answers using the phrase “billing statement” as their cue.
The use of chatbots is perhaps the most well-known example of contact center automation meaning that it has already been helping generate feasible results for a long time. Bots help send automated responses to visitors and shoppers on your app or site. Here are some ways you can use this messaging software:
- Have a pop-up message programmed to appear once a customer browses a specific page for more than 3 minutes. It is also applicable for when a shopper adds an item to their cart or checks out listings for similar items. In this scenario, your chatbot should prompt questions that go along the lines of, “Looking for something else?”, “Since you recently browsed (name of product), check out these items”, or “Ready to checkout? Let us know!”
- Feed your AI with the fundamental details of your business, products, and services so you can program bots to answer FAQs. Doing so saves your representatives the trouble of responding to the same basic questions 10-20 times in a row.
- Use chatbots to welcome visitors the moment they go to your website or check out your app. A warm introduction initiates rapport and makes people instantly feel at ease.
3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
One of the reasons behind the declining quality of customer care service is agents have too much work on their daily schedule. When your agents are swamped with repetitive tasks, it takes away their concentration from lending an open and undistracted ear to your customers.
RPA takes care of routine undertakings in your contact center’s to-do list. From verifying orders to user account monitoring to organizing customer-generated data to preparing a seamless schedule for your workflow, all of these responsibilities are transferable to a trained and well-programmed AI.
4. Omnichannel Communication
Omnichannel means availability across multiple messaging platforms. It is a great opportunity to balance robotic functions with human-fueled skills. Specifically, you get to combine live chat messaging with voice support to accommodate more queries in real-time. Also, comparing and contrasting user responses across multiple channels based on AI-generated data analytics allows you to produce more carefully composed promotional email and SMS messages.
In short, it hits several key aspects of initiating and maintaining a fruitful connection with your desired audience.
5. Sales Guide and Presetting
Sometimes, customers can be pretty harsh. They can tell when a sales rep or a call center agent is new to the business and is still halfway through knowing the business by heart. Once they figure out that they are conversing with an inexperienced staff, they immediately end the conversation abruptly or behave in a not-so-favorable manner.
To be fair, processing and memorizing several pieces of information at once while responding to a variety of queries is no cakewalk. What you can do to make things easier for your staff is to prepare an automated and real-time operating guide that they can utilize as they probe deeper into each user’s concern. By typing keywords or phrases relayed by the customer, the program instantly searches and produces a set of appropriate solutions, helpful bits of info, as well as possible alternative steps that your agents can suggest to the customer.
As for presetting sales or purchases, it is typically done when tracking deliveries and shipment of orders, sending discount notifications, or offering exclusive deals and rewards.
Why Automation Is Needed in the Contact Center
Voice is no longer the dominant figure in addressing end-user queries.
The last thing you want to happen to your business is to meet an early end after relying on outdated and solitary communication pathways. Not all customers have access to a landline phone. At the same time, not everyone is comfortable communicating via voice call
Call center automation goes beyond B2C interaction. It influences and spurs fluidity and streamlining in your entire workflow. Best of all, taking advantage of technology’s versatility benefits not only large corporations, but SMEs and startups as well.
For a more accurate visualization of what your customer help desk might look like once combined with AI capabilities, check out the possible groundbreaking ripple effects below:
Speed up response time
The more contact channels you use, the faster you can reply to leads and customers in real-time. As you continue to grow your business and expand your reach, you must ensure that you are well-equipped for the coming influx of messages from interested and existing buyers. Automation allows you to be a step ahead of competitors and even your end-users.
Take the two scenarios, for instance:
A small, Mom & Pop shop decides to venture into online selling to keep the business afloat. They partner with a popular food delivery service app, and enable door-to-door delivery for their customers. Additionally, the shop owners created a Facebook page and opened an account on WhatsApp. Canned replies about their price range, store hours, meal servings, and discount offers have been programmed on their Facebook account and on their page on the food delivery app. Now, whenever there are new customers who need more details on their menu, they have the choice to reach out through social media or the messaging app and they are guaranteed an answer no matter which platform they choose. The only time they contact the establishment through phone call is if they have more specific concerns with their orders or if they encounter technical problems using the app. Consequently, the business tracks which food items in the menu are frequently ordered. Feedback from new and existing clients come by more easily, too.
In this example, you can clearly see how a little touch of prompted responses has significantly and effortlessly helped a small, humble shop cater to a fairly large number of customers in a matter of minutes.
An IT consulting firm decides to open two international branches. However, they are faced with the dilemma of limited manpower on both new offices, since the two branches have recently been opened. While they may still be in the process of hiring additional people, it did not shy away from the fact that their list of new clients is consistently booming.
Their solution—as you may have guessed—is to activate automatic handling of queries from their clientele. The firm then used chatbots to enable 24/7 assistance for globally based users, while a Visual IVR function has been programmed into the company website to highlight client independence and convenience.
Scenario B is a perfect exhibition of why technology is the missing piece you need to remain available to your target market regardless of location or differences in time zone.
Centralize customer service ops
In every user support help desk, everything’s better with an integrated workflow. Particularly, it is instrumental in generating end-user data and monitoring interactions between your customer service reps and your customers. Once your contact center is fueled by both human and AI, your approaches to handling complex customer issues become more carefully strategized and you are also capable of offering more viable options to settle the matter.
Say, a customer demands a refund on a product they purchased two weeks ago. For pandemic reasons, you wouldn’t want the customer or your agents to leave the comforts of their homes and risk their safety in a bid to grant the request. Thus, your best course of action is to check online records of the customer’s latest purchase and verify the refund policies with the product in question. Simultaneously, your call center staff retraces previous call logs and chat history with the client while they engage the latter in a conversation via voice support.
Encourage customer and lead-initiated contact
Similar to a relationship, customers are drawn to a business that supports consistent and open communication. When you adjust your services to accommodate their distinct needs, you are indirectly prioritizing end-user satisfaction.
Not to mention, your business highlights the free will of potential leads. If they see that you are reachable through different modes of communication, and that you manage to leave a reply that won’t take days or weeks, then they will feel more comfortable establishing a connection.
Cold calling and hard selling for prospects are a thing of the past! Automated and centralized contact channels leverage your B2C relations. You don’t have to chase after your leads. Instead, your leads will come to you.
Consistently meet end-user expectations
With constant incoming messages from your target audience unlocked, you are also elevating the quality of assistance that people can gain by reaching out to you. How quickly can you provide a straightforward solution to their problem? How many users can you entertain in a given time frame? What specific alternatives will you offer to site visitors, shoppers, or customers experiencing technical difficulties while browsing your website, using your app, or clicking the “Checkout Button” on their carts?
More importantly, how can you foster trust and credibility if you can’t keep up with the tides of time and the newer generation of end-users? You can’t expect your in-house team to grow an extra pair of arms or produce more ears and mouths for the sake of assuring that every query is duly acknowledged. Conversely, you can definitely bet on the power of technology to maximize your resources and be more cost-effective.
Propel business for further advancements
The impressive scope of Artificial Intelligence has proven that a business’s size is not a defining factor for success. Even startups can aspire to be as efficient as their long-established counterparts in the market. The only factor they need to focus on is to have a good grasp of which technologies will benefit their operations best and how they can utilize it to its full capacity.
Pushing support services to advancement serves as your eyes and ears for upcoming changes and software updates that may prove useful in staying relevant and well-geared. The practice is a good start to implementing more innovative changes in your system.
Is expanding to a global audience the next step in your core objectives? Using natural language processing and APIs help you foresee specific buying behaviors and potential communication roadblocks involved in catering to an international market.
Are you planning to set up software for your services? An interlined response system comprised of live chat, email, and voice messaging keeps you well-engaged with customers and primes your business for helpful tips and suggestions from end-users. All these will help enhance their experience as they begin using your app.
Generate more sales and revenue
This is a no-brainer.
Universally available contact points mean more queries addressed and more satisfied users. The smoother the flow of communication with your business, the more you are encouraging leads to complete a purchase. Fret not about abandoned shopping carts because AI allows you to send personalized chats to guide your shoppers in choosing between products, comparing prices, and finally transferring the items in their carts into a signed, sealed, and delivered package.
There is no better way to drive people to support your products and services than to show them they are valued through the simplest things: Recognizing them through active, continuous, and polished conversations.
Automated contact center solutions are often misread as “replacing human-powered operations”. In reality, technology complements your staff in areas where they are lacking. People cannot work tirelessly 24/7, in the same way AI cannot function without the proper guidance and accurate programming of software developers. You need both to gain an edge and reach impressive feats in your chosen industry.Think you’re ready to take the first step in revamping your customer contact operations? Try contact center outsourcing from New Media Services! Our signature tailor-made solutions cover streamlining escalation, support ticket, and call center solutions, multilingual expertise, and even web and app development to meet your big and small business requirements!