Contact centers are increasingly looking into automation to improve the customer experience and to cut costs. To maximize the potential of automation, don’t just eliminate repetitive tasks but also focus on optimizing processes. Automate simple customer inquiries and invest in interactions that add value for customers and businesses with personalized service.
Automation technologies differ in complexity and cost. At the lower end of the continuum is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which mimics human actions. At the top end, Artificial Intelligence (AI) represents the simulation of human intelligence by machines. Whilst the possibilities of AI are enormous, such projects usually require costly proofs-of-concept, require highly skilled experts, and need large amounts of data to train the system. Simple, rule-based automation is much more affordable and still offers a lot of potential. With automation tools like Microsoft Power Automate, anyone can integrate systems and automate processes.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a huge budget. You can fundamentally improve your customer experience with RPA with relatively little effort. Start with the simple processes and progress to more complex cases over time.
Integrate your CRM and ticketing tools and enable employees to provide an efficient and personalized service thanks to a 360-degree customer view. You could also integrate weather data to get updates on extreme weather disruptions where the caller lives or add social media to let agents see the caller’s latest posts. This helps agents to quickly respond to customer issues and enables them to deliver a highly personal service.
IVRs are amongst the oldest automations in the contact center. Thanks to their flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness, they still outperform newer technologies in many situations. Customers tend to find them annoying, but you can use automation to enrich the on-hold experience. For example by letting them choose the music: 1 for electro, 2 for pop, or 3 for punk.
Predictive IVRs that offer variable menu options would be the next step in automation. Use the caller ID number to check if the customer has any open orders or complaints. The IVR would then provide the customer with customized menu options accordingly, e.g., “1 for status of my order; 2 for more options.”
Increase efficiency and first-call resolution by directly routing customers to the right agent or department. Use skill-based routing to automatically connect callers to a qualified agent with the appropriate expertise. Reduce wait times by automatically adding overflow teams or users during busy times, such as Christmas, Black Friday, or during a service outage. You can also prioritize VIP customers by automating queues based on customer value.
Many customers expect your service to be available 24/7. Bots can be helpful to meet these rising expectations. Available in various forms, bots can reduce costs and provide service outside of operating hours. They are especially beneficial for automating simple customer requests. Bots can also help agents, for example by suggesting solutions to the customer problem. In this way, bots can also be used to improve response quality.
There are endless possibilities of processes that can be automated with RPA. Whether you want to change the color of your lighting depending on the caller to indicate when an employee is in an important call or start a siren when a VIP customer is in your queue; today’s automation platforms let you perform such automation quickly and easily.
Automation and AI are constantly evolving and will fundamentally change the way contact centers operate. Through the trickle-down effect, technologies that were previously only available to multinationals are increasingly reaching smaller companies. However, in the case of AI, this will probably take a few more years. Organizations that don’t have a huge innovation budget would benefit more from automating simple use cases first. You don’t need fancy AI tools for proactive customer service. Optimize processes and complement them with rule-based automation. This allows you to dramatically improve the customer experience quickly at a minimal cost.