Digitization is on the mind of virtually every customer service leader, as new technology promises to improve the customer experience, streamline internal processes and boost agent productivity.
Gartner surveyed customer service and support leaders from 42 different companies to get a sense of their 2020 priorities. You’ll never guess what topped their list: integrating more digital channels - including self-service tools - to meet customer demands.
Customer service automation is the logical next step in digitization for customer service centers. When done right, it takes a great deal of pressure off of agents and representatives, seamlessly integrates different channels and touchpoints and gives customers a better experience from start to finish.
Here’s what you need to know about customer service automation, and how to make it a reality in your call centers.
Why Customer Service Automation Enjoys the Spotlight Right Now
The call center is a major touchpoint for any business, and it can either improve customer relationships or create unnecessary friction. More companies are realizing the importance of creating a good customer experience throughout the support process, and especially when users reach out to the call center.
According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Contact Center Survey, more than half of contact center executives (57%) cite customer experience as a current high priority for their business. Two-thirds believe it will be a high priority two years from now. In addition, 85% of respondents stated that improving the customer experience and meeting customer expectations are the main factors driving call center investment.
Creating a positive call center experience isn’t always easy. Long wait times, repeating the same information to different agents or portals, complex support processes, and poor outcomes can all leave a bad impression.
How To Create a Better Call Center Experience
Consider a pretty typical experience for a customer who goes online to troubleshoot a service problem:
- After going through a number of support pages, filling in online fields with their contact information and describing the nature of their problem, they’re asked to call a contact center agent for additional support.
- The customer grabs their phone, dials the phone number and navigates a variety of menus before speaking with an agent.
- They are then asked to go over the problem again, repeating all the information they already submitted online to the call center employee.
- The agent needs time to look into the matter, so the customer is put on hold for several minutes.
- The agent may determine that another department or representative is better suited to address the problem and transfers the customer, who is put on hold before the cycle begins anew.
That circuitous process is common. It can be frustrating to the extreme for customers to manage. Customer service automation streamlines contact center processes so there are fewer delays and friction points that could create a negative customer experience.
Here’s how it helps:
- Integrates digital channels (websites, mobile apps, virtual agents, etc.) so customers can seamlessly move from one to another.
- Information provided in one interface automatically carries over to all others, so agents can get up to speed and without asking customers to repeat themselves.
- Agent bots look up information during calls so agents can focus on helping the customer - and have the insights and knowledge to do so.
- Self-service chatbots, powered by AI-driven automation, can guide customers to the answers, solutions, and support they need without involving an agent or representative.
- Support documents, relevant information, and next steps can be sent to a customer’s mobile device while they are on the line with a call center agent.
The more you can automate the call center experience, the smoother everything runs.
How To Automate Your Contact Center the Best Way
There are some important do and don’ts you should be aware of when implementing customer service automation:
- Pick a customer service automation solution provider with extensive experience in the customer service and support space.
- Use AI-driven solutions that can manage complex call center processes and workflows autonomously without the need for manual intervention.
- Find a customer service automation platform that can integrate with your core business software and third-party applications, such as CRM.
- Choose a solution that facilitates end-to-end automation throughout the call center.
- Integrate every system and touchpoint your customers use to request assistance.
- Future-proof your investment by picking a solution that expands AI-driven automation to other corners of the enterprise.
- Try to implement a solution on your own unless your internal teams have considerable experience and expertise working with customer service automation.
- Pick a platform that is unable to integrate with leading business software solutions.
- Ignore change management and the need to win over internal support for the new system.
- Neglect to provide call center agents with training around your new customer service automation solution.
- Install automation tools with limited applications or potential for expansion.
Customer service automation has the ability to improve dramatically call center operations, making life easier for both your customers and your employees. The latest cutting-edge, AI-enabled solutions allow for more personalized support, faster close rates and a better customer experience.
Ready to embrace customer service automation? Reach out today to learn more.