Contact Center Automation: Built to Withstand
Over the past three years, contact centers have been faced with unprecedented challenges. From the pandemic, to agent shortages, to rising unpredictability in call volumes, there’s never been a more difficult time to manage a customer service organization.
Now, many leaders are preparing for yet another potential risk on the horizon: a recession. But whether or not the economic turmoil predicted by many experts ever comes to fruition, one thing is clear: the value of future-proofing your contact center is priceless.
For contact center leaders, becoming future-proof means being prepared for dramatic swings in customer demand, agent capacities, and global challenges like inflation – all without compromising costs, productivity or customer satisfaction.
Being future-proof goes beyond digital transformation. The latter is often a years-long process that involves several implementation cycles and sometimes hiring entire teams to build new solutions in-house. Instead, leaders are turning to Contact Center Automation, an emerging category in which companies automate their most common customer service calls while empowering agents to focus on more complex and nuanced customer challenges.
It quickly establishes modern processes that make it as simple as possible to achieve a few steadfast priorities associated with being future-proof, including customer loyalty, agent retention, customer satisfaction, and scale.
Here’s how Contact Center Automation strengthens brands’ position against economic challenges, technology challenges, and above all, the future:
Priorities for contact centers during the prospect of a recession
1. Decrease customer churn and increase loyalty
Consumer spending in 2022 may have already peaked following a strong streak of growth. But contact centers shouldn’t write off the value of customer relationships just because buyers may become more selective.
Even though a company’s first instinct in a downturn is often to cut contact center spending, doing so at the expense of excellent service decreases your chances of maintaining customer loyalty through the duration of a recession. According to Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%, and loyalty leaders grow revenues roughly 2.5 times as fast as their industry peers.
With Contact Center Automation, customer loyalty can be increased quicker than you might think. In one case, DoorDash partnered with Replicant to deploy a Thinking Machine to fulfill customer orders and prevent cancellations. In just three months, the Thinking Machine was 94% as effective as their previous offshore agents at fulfilling customer orders.
2. Increase agent retention
For contact centers, delivering loyalty-worthy service requires that human agents are in the loop for complex customer requests, or calls that require high empathy. However, despite a tightening economy, there is still a surplus of open jobs in the wake of the Great Resignation.
To prevent the attrition of even more talented agents, contact centers should focus on creating more engaged employees, which are 87% less likely to leave their organizations (it also costs $9,000 a year to keep a disengaged worker and up to $100,000 to replace them).
Contact Center Automation offers a hybrid approach to workforce management, where intelligent machines immediately resolve tier 1 issues, while handing off complex issues to agents. This can have a massive impact on employee retention rates by removing the need for agents to handle hundreds of repetitive calls a day, and empowering them to focus on calls that require creativity and critical thinking.
3. Improve CSAT while slashing costs
When contact centers prioritize customers and employees while preparing for an uncertain future, they can lower immediate and long-term costs without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
ECSI, the leading provider of accounts receivable management and campus-based student loan servicing, deployed Replicant for the two types of calls that caused the biggest seasonal spikes in call volume: Tax Information Questions and Payment Questions.
Replicant launched in ten weeks, and within three weeks scaled to handle 100% of the target volume of calls all while achieving a CSAT of 4.5 out of 5.0.
ECSI was able to handle call spikes during tax season seamlessly and without having to hire costly temporary workers. They also avoided requiring their agents to work overtime to manage increases in calls, which would have almost certainly led to more overworked and disengaged employees.
4. Surface new efficiency opportunities
It can be difficult to prioritize analytics in a non-stop contact center environment, let alone during a recession where costs and productivity are priorities 1A and 1B. But with Replicant, contact centers get access to real-time data and analytics for every customer interaction in a user-friendly dashboard.
In a contact center, the benefits of analytics include:
- 59.0% Reduction in operational costs
- 59.9% Increase in productivity
- 36.2% Better decision-making
By gaining access to automatically generated transcripts with auto-tagged customer dispositions and CSAT scores, contact center leaders can quickly edit automated scripts, perform A/B testing, and surface insights like unsupported flows through easy-to-read reports.
5. Scale service with demand and add flexibility
Recessions are inherently unpredictable, from beginning to middle to end. According to McKinsey, “Previous recessions aren’t necessarily a guide to future ones,” but “flexibility can make a notable difference by allowing managers to take advantage of the opportunities that the next recession might provide.”
For contact centers, the biggest key to being future-proof is having a high level of agility. Contact Center Automation provides a proven method for diversifying customer service methods. Replicant’s Thinking Machine can scale up or down instantly, which adds an unlimited capacity to tier 1 service never previously available and sets contact centers up for success, no matter what the future holds.
Learn more with our free guide: How Customer Service Can Thrive During an Economic Downturn