Call centers have changed drastically, even over the last five years. As technology continues to advance rapidly, AI-driven chatbots, interactive voice response, cloud-based virtual call centers, and voice biometrics allow companies to provide exceptional customer service, an integral component of customer service teams which often serve as a businesses’ critical front-line.
Implementing these new technologies into the call center allows businesses to rethink their customer service delivery, making sure that they are providing optimal service while utilizing their resources—including their live agents—more efficiently. But when incorporating automation into your center, what should be automated?
When deciding how to merge automated virtual agents into your call center, you should consider this integration from three angles: the customer, the live agent, and the company. Let’s explore these key areas further.
How to Optimize Your Call Center with Automated Virtual Agents
When revamping your call center with automated virtual agents, you should consider which calls should be routed to virtual agents and which should be accelerated to human agents. In making this determination, you should consider the complexity, the urgency, and the emotionality of the customer’s request.
The more complex, urgent, and emotional a customer’s request, the more a human agent is required for hands-on creative problem-solving. However, for more routine inquiries, such as a change of address, bill payment, or balance inquiries, virtual agents are the perfect solution.
For example, if a customer calls your service center with food poisoning or a travel emergency, a virtual agent will frustrate the situation, as it cannot empathize with the customer or provide unique, creative solutions to the problem. Upon receiving a more sophisticated customer service call, the bot can detect the customer’s urgency through technologies such as artificial intelligence and natural speech recognition, quickly routing the call to a live agent.
For more routine and repetitive calls, the ones not requiring human creative problem solving, such as claims management, collections, and FAQs, route these calls to your automated virtual agents. Virtual agents can handle these calls faster than a human, while making fewer mistakes. Further, the virtual agent will not become frustrated with such routine, monotonous tasks. The virtual agent’s consistency in handling these requests will not only create more positive experiences for customers, but it will also produce shorter wait times and more resolved issues.
How to Enhance Your Agents’ Jobs
According to Gallup, only 34% of U.S workers are engaged in their jobs, meaning they are enthusiastic and committed to their work and employer. Although this is the highest engagement percentage since Gallup started reporting on this in 2000, that leaves 66% of the workforce unengaged, with 13% representing those with “miserable” work experiences. Some issues causing lack of engagement include poor relationships with managers, sub-standard benefits packages, and the absence of employee coaching. Additionally, employees who are tasked with monotonous, repetitive jobs, where they don’t have the opportunity to use their skills and strengths, also contribute to job dissatisfaction.
In call centers, repetitive, rote calls can cause live agents’ frustration and discord. Answering questions like a robot does not add to most people’s days. These are empty-calorie calls, leaving live agents with no leeway to use their talents and creativity in difficult problem-solving situations. Leave the robot questions to the machines.
By directing these routine calls to automated virtual agents, live agents can focus on empathetic, creative, high-level problem-solving. In a recent study, 100% of respondents stated that customer experience cannot be achieved without engaged employees. Live agents will feel a sense of well-being, knowing that their contributions to the customer experience are valuable, giving them a sense of ownership in their jobs.
Additionally, engaged employees contribute to the company’s bottom line. While boosting your company’s customer experience, you’re increasing your company’s profitability. With engaged live agents, Gallup found that companies experience 21% higher profitability, better retention, and better customer engagement.
How Your Company Benefits from an Optimized Call Center
With call centers serving as the primary means of communication between a customer and the business, companies need to enhance their customer service offerings continually. Today, customer service is experiencing a digital transformation, from merely inputting data into a computer to full customer experience management, with the ability to coordinate and personalize the end-to-end customer experience, at any time and on any channel.
In 2019, 80% of organizations plan to compete on customer experience. A frustrating, slow, or inattentive customer-service frontline detracts from the customer’s overall experience, causing more harm than good.
Give yourself the edge on industry competition by focusing on your call center. Companies that are customer experience-led see 1.9x return on spend, 1.9x higher average order value, 1.7x higher customer retention, 1.6 higher brand awareness, and 1.5x higher employee satisfaction.
With a customer experience-led call center incorporating automation, you’ll see higher consistency, better accuracy, more compliance, and faster resolution times. Virtual agents are better and quicker at sorting through data while recording it. Virtual agents are great with a script. Virtual agents will get a change of address, billing address, or shipping address right every time, by instantaneously running customer addresses through geo-databases for confirmation. Virtual agents come loaded with data and information and don’t have to open multiple computer windows or place the customer on hold to review and find relevant facts. And, virtual agents do not get offended or frustrated.
Machines cannot do everything humans can do, but they can help companies listen carefully, think quickly, take actions, and reply fast enough to be conversational and effective. Virtual agents can instantly process data while solving problems and reduce cost (since computers don’t need to be hired or on-boarded and never call in sick), while offering high-touch customer service.
Virtual agents working alongside human agents can help you scale your business, remain open 24/7/365, can solve problems more consistently and can make your customer’s efforts effortless. With the help of your tenacious human agent problem-solvers, you can enhance and optimize your call center. While your virtual agent handles routine calls quickly and effectively, your live agents are free to handle more complex customer roadblocks while approaching their jobs with more flexibility and creativity.
By training human employees to handle high-level customer service while having computers handle more routine (and let’s face it, boring) issues, companies can invest in the local workforce while providing a customer experience that keeps consumers coming back for more. If you want to find out more about how to strengthen and add value to your customer call center, give us a call.