Automating processes within your contact center is a crucial step towards optimizing customer experience and increasing overall team efficiency. Reducing the number of redundant processes within your organization saves time and money, while also freeing up humans to do what they do best — solving complex problems that machines simply don’t have the finesse to appropriately handle.
There are several types of technology platforms designed specifically to help contact centers automate redundant tasks:
Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) allows contact centers to automate small and repetitive tasks. These tasks may include opening and closing cases or checking the status of orders. Despite focusing on what may appear to be somewhat miniscule tasks, RPA can be lead to substantial productivity improvements. In fact, Leslie Willcocks, a professor at the London School of Economics’ Department of Management, found that return on investment of RPA implementations reached between 30 and 200 percent within the first year.
Chatbots are an example of RPA technology that is quickly gaining traction. Chatbots are virtual assistants that can replicate the experience of instant messaging with a real support agent. These virtual assistant scan provide fast, scalable and human-like customer service using Natural Language Understanding (“NLU”), a branch of artificial intelligence.
NLU is already used in many services that we are familiar with. For example, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa perform NLU to understand what users are saying and to decipher how to respond. Chatbots can be implemented across a wide range of interfaces including voice, mobile and messaging apps, SMS, and chat pop-ups implemented directly on your company website.
Market-leading customer support platform, Zendesk, found that live chat received a 92% satisfaction rating by customers, higher than other traditional forms of customer communication such as voice or email. Reliance on the customer support agent in live chats can be reduced by the use of chatbots, which can handle the case up until the point where human intervention is necessary. According to IBM, up to 80% of routine customer service questions can be answered by a chatbot.
Despite all of their benefits, it’s important to keep in mind that chatbots offer a limited vocabulary of available responses and are not replacements for actual, trained agents. Additionally, behind every chatbot is a live person responsible for maintaining the chatbots scripts and rules, making complex chatbots nearly as costly as an actual agent in some cases.
Interactive Voice Response (“IVR”) is an automated system that interacts with callers to route their call to the appropriate agent at your contact center. This is a common system that customers are now mostly familiar with. Using commands such as “Press 1 to track your delivery, press 2 to cancel your delivery…”, IVR has long been used to handle incoming tools more efficiently.
Effective IVR implementation ensures that your phone traffic flows correctly, as nothing slows down a contact center more than poor call distribution (like sending customers that have a billing question to the technical support team). OptimalIVR implementations also ensure that the customer is matched with the most knowledgeable and best-suited agent for each case.
In recent years, “Visual IVR” has started to gain momentum. Like traditional IVR, Visual IVR also routes the caller’s call, but offers visual buttons for the caller to select, rather than requiring the caller to listen to the various options being read out over the phone. By logging on to the company website or mobile app, customers can access a visual menu interface to see the different support options available for them, such as the different departments and the hold times to speak to an agent. Visual IVR offers the potential of a truly digital self-service experience.
Don’t forget you can also reduce the unnecessary use of agents’ time by taking advantage of interactive decision trees which can help customers self-solve, avoiding the customer care call altogether. Plus, with Zingtree’s Agent Scripting App, your agents can be supported with interactive scripts that ensure that every call is as quick and effective as it can be.