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Contact Center Automation: Why Voice is King for CX

Voice Automation Has Fueled the Rise of Contact Center Automation

Contact Center Automation has become mainstream for millions of customer service centers. One of the reasons is customers’ appreciation for sharp, human-to-machine voice conversations. 

Conversational AI – the technology that powers Contact Center Automation – is purpose-built for fully resolving customer service requests. This means solutions like Replicant’s Thinking Machine respond in less time, with higher accuracy, in any language than even modern voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa can. 

As conversational AI has matured to find a leading application in customer service, it has proliferated contact centers across every industry and revolutionized customer experience (CX). And while Contact Center Automation can use the same, accurate AI engine to power consistent conversations across every channel, voice is its crown jewel. 

The phone has long been the most frustrating automated customer experience, yet it remains 76% of customers’ preferred channel when contacting customer service. By cracking the code to voice automation, Contact Center Automation has proved why starting with voice is the path to great automation for customer service orgs. 

If it’s done right

As with any technology, the tech itself is not a promise of a better experience. Success lies in how humans choose to strategically use it. At the end of the day, no amount of customer containments or resolutions matter unless Contact Center Automation can serve customers the way they want to be served. How effectively can it extract intents from free-form, natural language? Does it allow customers to quickly rattle off a list of questions and address them all without needing the customer to repeat themselves? Does it understand positive and negative intents, even when it’s not a simple “yes” or “no?”

Replicant’s Thinking Machine excels at understanding human contexts for every conversation. Rather than repeating long menus or asking for keywords, it allows customers to state any number of requests and responds accurately in less than a second. With every turn in the conversation, Replicant’s Thinking Machine nudges customers closer to resolution, even when conversations are non-linear. It’s a big part of why the Thinking Machine regularly returns CSAT scores on par or better than those of human agents.

Contact Center Automation is a hot investment

In the last year, companies have spent nearly $2 billion on conversational AI technology for the contact center, and this number is expected to double in the next five years, reports Opus Research. Contact Center Automation is joining forces with human agents to improve CX by taking on tier 1 issues, improving first contact resolution, and freeing up agents for escalations that require an empathic human connection that builds trust with customers. 

The benefits of Contact Center Automation in customer service come at a time when contact centers are stretched thin by what is now unpredictable terrain — forecasting has become increasingly difficult if not impossible due to sudden spikes and surges in call volume and uncertainties of agent availability. 

Contact Center Automation solves today’s problems

Contact centers that have moved to the cloud have the advantage of an easy work-from-anywhere transition when needed, but the unpredictability still makes scheduling challenging. Customers have experienced longer hold times or failed to get a response — which leads to an increase in churn. It is reported that 91% of customers that are unhappy with a brand will just leave without complaining and 47% of consumers have switched to a different brand due to bad customer service. 

Contact Center Automation offers contact centers the boost of extra help as a first line of defense right when the technology has matured enough to be economical. And, with it, we’re seeing a multitude of contact centers start with voice to immediately augment their CX. From there, new use cases and channels can easily be added to quickly build greater ROI. Contact Center Automation is indeed the new king for improving CX, but voice is driving customer satisfaction and sustainable roadmaps.

Not all Contact Center Automation is equal

It may be tempting to implement Contact Center Automation as a quick fix for call deflection, cost cutting, and to guarantee every customer call is answered without the need for call backs. But without ensuring that the technology delivers an experience customers find positive, it can do more harm than good. 

For example, if a customer calls and a machine answers but is just a few seconds slower than a human in its speech, the customer will lose patience and find the experience negative. Yes, they may be getting their call answered and the issue may be resolved by the machine, but that lag in response time makes the interaction feel too slow and only reminds the customer that a human agent could have conversed quicker. Likewise, if a machine quickly understands intent but cannot decipher a more complex context (say the customer asks a question and follows up with a qualifier), the customer will feel they’re not understood, leading to negative sentiment. 

For Contact Center Automation to truly improve CX, it must be able to provide as nearly-human an engagement as possible — responding in an organic way to the full context and speaking at a speed that mimics human speech. If Contact Center Automation leaves customers wishing they should have just talked to a human agent, it’s failing to improve CX.

Choosing a Contact Center Automation solution that customers will love

There is no question that to stay competitive and differentiate on CX contact centers will continue to move quickly to implement Contact Center Automation. As they vet vendors, the following are CX questions should be asked: 

  • Does the voice technology sound convincingly like a human? 
  • Is there a lag in the machine’s response times when speaking? 
  • Can the automation interpret and respond appropriately to complex contexts? 
  • Does the AI require the customer to “learn” how to interact with it or does it elevate itself to the level of the human?

Aside from these CX criteria, Contact Center Automation should integrate easily into your core contact center and key systems. It should provide a scalable layer of service that allows your contact center to stretch up and down, scaling as needed 24/7 without having to add agents. It should fully resolve up to 90% of all tier 1 issues and free agents to focus on more complex resolutions. 

Contact Center Automation is the new King of CX for contact centers if it delivers voice and omnichannel experiences that feel easy, pleasant, and fast to customers.

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