Skip to main content Skip to footer Skip to menu

What is Contact Center Automation?

Contact Center Automation: Service for Your Customers, Relief for Your Agents 

Contact Center Automation is the new way customer service gets done. It is a quickly emerging category that uses AI to automate tier-1 customer service conversations while empowering agents to focus on more complex and nuanced customer challenges. 

Rather than aiming to displace agents or deflect customers, Contact Center Automation uses a hybrid approach to resolve as many customer service requests as needed through automation, by whatever channel the customer prefers. By doing so, agent time is maximized on customer support conversations that require creativity and empathy. 

Contact Center Automation: Why Now?

Contact Center Automation provides a solution for contact centers to achieve their most important goals: satisfying customers, supporting agents, and reducing costs. 

This is especially important in today’s environment, where three major factors have made customer service harder than ever. 

Contact center costs are outpacing budgets. Rising labor costs have forced contact centers to choose between meeting their budget, maintaining their CSAT and hiring enough agents. 35% of brands report difficulty finding experienced agents.

Every contact center is vulnerable to understaffing. The number of agents in your contact center sits on a razor’s edge. Managers have no way of knowing when their agents will call out sick, experience burnout, or leave their position entirely. From 2020-22, the average agent attrition rate rose by 58%.

Every call spike is a threat to CSAT and retention. Unpredictable call spikes are becoming more frequent, forcing customers to wait on hold or deal with automation systems that aim to deflect rather than resolve. Hold times hit record highs in 2023, while 90% of CX leaders say customer expectations are at an all-time high.

Core features

Contact Center Automation leverages a suite of technologies that are tailored to customer service and designed specifically for contact center use cases.

While individual Contact Center Automation solutions may take varied approaches to features like conversational AI, integrations, multi-channel support, and analytics, a comprehensive solution should have a number a few core pillars: 

Natural Conversations
A Natural Language Understanding (NLU) brain that can quickly and accurately comprehend and converse in natural language to resolve customer issues in any language.

Omnichannel Support
Multichannel support for voice, SMS, VIVR, webchat, social, email, in-app, and business messaging to resolve customer issues anywhere with seamless context switching.

Conversation Design
A user-friendly conversation design studio to design, deploy, and update autonomous conversation scripts across use-cases with pre-built conversation components.

Conversation Analytics
Out-of-the-box, customizable analytics that provide insights into conversation performance, A/B testing outcomes, and KPIs like call volume, average handle time, and trending support issues.

Conversation Interface
Full visibility into conversation transcripts for reviewing, monitoring, and searching live and past conversations; auto-tagged metrics including disposition, sentiment, and timestamps.

Agent Collaboration
Built-in workflow capabilities including smart agent handoff, automated after-call work, intelligent routing, and agent assist for increased productivity and hybrid-working models.

Comprehensive Integrations
Out-of-the-box platform-agnostic integrations to deploy autonomous conversations across existing contact center, CRM, and internal system workflows

Secure Infrastructure
Scalable and redundant infrastructure that can handle millions of autonomous conversations concurrently with enterprise-grade security that is SOCII, GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI compliant.

Resolution: The new Golden Metric for automation

Past automation solutions have failed to meet enough criteria to significantly impact contact center’s most pressing pain points.

Solutions that only partially resolve customer calls lead to increased costs and lower customer satisfaction. AI-powered solutions that lack the sophistication needed to resolve complex voice requests end up becoming “speed bumps” between callers and agents. And build-it-yourself solutions require huge in-house resource commitments to build and maintain a reliable, world-class solution.

As a result, automation “success” has traditionally been measured by deflection or routing success, which limits contact centers to experiencing only incremental growth, not transformational change. 

Generative AI has unlocked a slew of new capabilities and use cases for contact centers, allowing customer service leaders to shift their focus to resolution as the primary success metric for automation.

By focusing on achieving a high resolution rate, contact centers move toward automation that completes calls just as your best agents would while unlocking higher net savings, higher customer satisfaction, and lower agent attrition.

Rather than seeking marginal gains in areas like average hold time, agent productivity and containment rate, resolution-based automation simplifies the path to transformational outcomes:

A high Resolution Rate:

  • Decreases average handle time
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Reduces agent call volumes 
  • Decreases cost per contact
  • Increases net savings
A low Resolution Rate:

  • Increases agent escalations
  • Frustrates customers
  • Doesn’t alleviate agent capacity challenges 
  • Increases cost per contact
  • Decreases net savings

Current applications

The flexibility and forecastable ROI of Contact Center Automation have made it an essential part of the greater digital transformation taking place in contact centers.

Gartner projects that 80% of customer service organizations will apply generative AI to improve customer experience by 2025, resulting in a 20% to 30% reduction of customer support agents and the creation of new jobs to enable generative AI in customer service.

Enterprise contact centers are quickly finding that resolution-focused automation benefits agents, customers, and operating costs like no solution has before. Case studies from leading-edge organizations demonstrate why Gartner predicts AI will reduce contact center costs by more than $80 billion by 2026.

What’s next

The longer labor shortages persist, the more choices leaders in contact center operations and CX will have to approach the problem. 

Brands will need to think long-term to decide whether incremental improvements in internal communications, agent workflows, and customer self service options are enough to get them back to stability, or if true transformation is needed in order to increase their competitiveness in a customer-first world where agents are hard to come by. 

In either case, Contact Center Automation has the potential to usher in a new era of customer service. It represents the next generation of contact center solutions with state-of-the-art technology tailored to the glaring needs of the industry. For the first time, it brings true innovation to a department that has traditionally been neglected as a sunk cost. 

Brands who embrace Contact Center Automation first will be in the best position to capture the agents and customers who have long demanded it.

Try Replicant

If you are ready to automate your call center, reach out to Replicant today. Our team of experts has years of experience helping contact centers implement and integrate conversational AI platforms to improve their call center efficiency as well as customer and agent experience.

design element
design element
Request a free
call assessment
Schedule a call with an expert