10 Challenges Contact Centers Can Navigate With Automation

Contact Center Automation Is Built for Today’s Challenges

As customer service and support organizations look to accelerate their digital transformations, there are many questions they’ll need to work through. 

At the beginning of 2021, Gartner identified that, “The customer service and support function will see radical changes in 2021 in an ongoing response to the effects of the pandemic. These changes will force service organizations to face multiple dilemmas around customers, strategy, organization and technology.”

“However, overcoming these dilemmas will prompt service to transform from a cost center to a relationship-oriented profit center.”

As the world’s leading Contact Center Automation solution, Replicant has helped customers design to, and meet, the evolving needs of contact centers throughout the pandemic and ensuing great resignation. 

Here’s how Replicant helps contact centers navigate 10 dilemmas so they can play a larger role in owning the customer relationship and driving business growth.

1. Human and machine customers

In the future, your customer may not always be human. The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled devices to collect data and communicate with each other. Automated outbound conversations are already performing scheduling, ordering, and dispatch tasks for customers across many industries

Regardless of the type of customer you’re serving, Replicant’s Thinking Machine is able to communicate with both humans and machines. Via chat, SMS or voice, Replicant’s conversational AI acts as a universal language across humans and machines. If a device isn’t able to verbally communicate with the Thinking Machine, Replicant can easily integrate with other systems through APIs.

When both humans and machines are customers, contact centers also need to be prepared to handle an increase in customer requests. Using AI, Replicant enables contact centers to infinitely scale their customer service capacity alongside demand. Whether you’re receiving thousands or millions of calls a day, the Thinking Machine will respond to all of them immediately.

2. Service journey and/or life journey

Instead of focusing on just the customer service journey, organizations are starting to play a role in the customer’s entire journey. By connecting service, sales, and marketing, companies can become a part of a customer’s life. Companies that take this approach are positioned to create more revenue and customer loyalty by being there when customers need them, even after long pauses in engagement. 

There are many possibilities for how companies can leverage Contact Center Automation to engage with customers outside of the customer service interaction and make their lives easier. 

The Thinking Machine doesn’t just resolve inbound customer questions and issues. It can upsell and cross-sell, giving customers a personalized sales experience and enabling you to capture more of your customer’s business. 

The Thinking Machine can even execute outbound conversations, giving you the ability to proactively engage and share information with customers. Lastly, Replicant automatically transcribes and tags calls to turn unstructured conversation data into actionable insights. You can now understand what customers ask about most or have the greatest number of issues with and use that to shape your product or service.

3. Service channels and omnichannel experiences

Customers expect to be able to interact with a brand across physical and digital properties. Brands should remember them, know their customer history, and continue conversations across channels. This shift in how companies think about interacting with customers will result in a consistent customer experience across all modalities and devices and higher customer satisfaction.

Replicant gives you a head start with crafting an omnichannel experience. Aside from voice, you’ll also be able to service your customers through SMS, chat, and other digital channels. A customer interaction that starts on the phone can end over text and be just as accurate and effective. Having these different methods of engagement enables customers to seamlessly move from one modality or device to another.

4. Reactive and/or proactive service

Contact Center Automation enables companies to do more with the same or fewer amount of agents. By collecting and analyzing conversation data, companies can identify times when customers are likely to contact them and proactively reach out. When you’re anticipating customer needs and meeting them before they contact you, companies will be able to reduce contact volume and increase customers’ appreciation toward the brand.

Replicant automates outbound conversations, which makes it possible for companies to proactively communicate with customers at scale. You can easily and efficiently share updates and important information. For example, telecommunications providers can let customers know when service has been restored after an outage, or a product is back in stock.

5. Assisted service and/or self-service

Although companies have invested in self-service, customers continue to contact companies through live channels. This could be because it’s difficult to locate the self-service options, or customers find that the options in the knowledge library, for example, don’t meet their unique situation. There’s also still a long way for self-service channels to go in order to be truly effective.

“Migrating contact volume from assisted to self-service channels, upgrading legacy contact center technology and automating customer service processes — all of which fall under digital channels and capabilities were rated the top three most important priorities in 2021,” as surveyed by Gartner

As companies make this transition, it’s important to understand the types of interactions and customers that best fit each channel. This will help you strike a balance between these two types of channels and ensure they’re used effectively.

Voice remains a primary customer service channel, with 57% of customers ranking call support as their initial channel preference. Many companies use IVRs to offer self-service over the phone. Unfortunately, IVRs create a poor customer experience and even cause companies to lose business.

Replicant provides a self-service solution that uses conversational AI as the automation engine to fully resolve — not deflect — 100% of tier 1 issues without agent intervention. Unlike most automated service options, Replicant doesn’t require humans to learn how to use it or to respond in “robotic” ways. Customers truly get resolution on their own by speaking with the Thinking Machine as they normally would a human.

6. Service cost center and/or relationship profit center

In order to gain a competitive advantage as well as benefit businesses more, contact centers are starting to move from being a cost center to a profit center. With more customers moving to digital and self-service channels, customer growth and retention can increasingly be driven by customer service. 

Gartner anticipates that, “By 2025, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement.”

Promoting products, services, and upgrades no longer relies on a live agent. Replicant’s Thinking Machine can intelligently suggest related products and add-ons to customers. If customers aren’t interested, they can easily decline. But if customers are interested, you’ve just earned more revenue without lifting a finger.

7. Service department and customer teams

As more routine and transactional tasks are automated, agents are afforded more opportunities to level up their skills and expertise to execute more complicated tasks. To achieve this, customer service organizations need to restructure their teams for even greater efficiency. You’ll need to bring together cross-functional teams that work on customer well-being across different segments, like industry or product type.

You can accelerate your move toward all-encompassing customer teams by automating high-volume, repetitive customer conversations with Replicant. It takes just a few weeks to implement Replicant start automating tier 1 requests across every channel with the Thinking Machine.

8. Work from anywhere and distributed workforces

The pandemic forced companies to challenge the contact center model. Companies realized the benefits of remote work and proved customer service could still run smoothly without a physical office. Knowing contact centers no longer rely on agents coming into a physical office, customer service leaders need to consider whether they want to continue with a 100% work from anywhere model, a 100% contact center model, or a hybrid.

While it’s been proven that contact centers can successfully operate without a brick-and-mortar location, relying entirely on human agents still leaves contact centers susceptible to not having enough agent capacity. Agents might call out sick or quit suddenly, and there will always be unanticipated spikes in call volume.

When contact centers use both Replicant and live agents, they can flexibly adjust customer service capacity as demand increases or decreases. With the Thinking Machine acting as the first line of defense for all inbound requests, customers won’t experience a wait time — even when you don’t have enough agents or experience a surge in customer issues. Plus, harnessing the power of humans and AI enables contact centers to scale more efficiently and at lower costs.

9. Employee and/or freelance/flex

There’s more channels than ever for customers to receive help and find information. As more customers choose to self-assist, they’re turning to independent experts and channels. For example, customers might go to Google or YouTube first to get help, instead of your website. 

Gartner predicts that, “By 2025, customers will pay a freelance customer service expert to resolve 75% of their customer service issues.”

As more customers seek out help from independent experts and channels, you’ll receive fewer customer service inquiries. However, companies lose a customer touchpoint and control over their brand and customer experience.

With more employees wanting flexibility with when and where they work, companies also have to consider if and how they’ll support this.

Companies get the best of both worlds when leveraging Contact Center Automation. They can maintain control over the customer experience while decreasing the amount of inquiries agents have to handle. As more people use self-service to get help, you can ensure customers get the correct information about your products and accurate troubleshooting by deploying a Thinking Machine custom-built for your brand that can be activated through any channel.

10. Best-in-class customer service suite

Customer service organizations have been using disparate systems for years. This has created disjointed customer experiences, inconsistent data, and integration issues. Gartner recommends shifting to a suite of composable applications to create an integrated and personalized customer experience. Composable applications also enable organizations to quickly adapt and innovate.

Replicant is the leader in Contact Center Automation, powering millions of fast, natural, and contextual customer conversations each month for some of the world’s most trusted brands. 

While you get the best automation solution with Replicant, you also achieve a horizontal solution that integrates with any CCaaS platform, CRM, and custom internal systems to access and update data. This ensures you’ll create a seamless customer experience across voice and other channels.

To keep up with rapidly changing customer behaviors, it’s imperative that contact centers overcome these 10 challenges. It’s precisely why Replicant was created. By incorporating Replicant into your customer service strategy, you’ll set up your contact center to succeed well into the future. 

Learn more about Replicant’s Contact Center Automation solution and how it can fit into your roadmap and start returning value sooner than you think.

Download The Great Resignation: Why Your Contact Center Won't Survive Without Automation

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