It seems automation is everywhere these days, allowing people to accomplish a variety of tasks faster, and the customer service industry is no exception, where technological advancements continue to transform the customer experience, and businesses continue to discover the benefits of real-time automation. Here are the top 5 customer service automation trends in 2018:
1. Desktop Automation
Today, it’s critical that your customer experience design and customer service capabilities are prepared to meet the expectations of today’s customers, however, too often agents struggle to cope with the behavior and complexity of so many applications, which are simply not designed with the goal to deliver the optimal customer experience. In 2018, look for more and more companies to be adopting desktop automation, which harmoniously blends the array of existing applications into new customer friendly workflows and tasks that empower agents to focus on the customer instead of wasting time dealing with time consuming system navigation and data entry. In addition, as a byproduct of fully optimizing the way customer service agents interact with their desktop, regardless of channel, they will have more positive energy to personally engage customers, resulting in happy, loyal customers and agents!
2. RPA Robotic Process Automation
At the same time, 2018 should see the continued emergence of robotic process automation (RPA) technology, which is already stirring the winds of change in contact centers by automating the various small, repetitive, everyday tasks which have traditionally played such a significant role in its day to day operations, including opening cases, checking order status, record updates and many more. RPA is thus delivering effective, cost saving solutions to customer service operational and technology challenges. In fact, a KPMG report claims that labor automation through RPA can reduce an organization’s operational costs by 75 percent! At the same time, RPA brings consistency to the customer experience, has a near zero percent error rate, and greatly reduces handle times by enabling the customer service agent to integrate data into fields across all associated systems with only one entry, enhancing the overall customer satisfaction.
3. Visual IVR
With already over 1 billion smart phones users worldwide and growing, the trend towards Visual IVR will continue to gain momentum as well, offering a communication channel that enable users to leverage their devices for customer service on the go by transferring the existing IVR technology onto their phone screens. By simply logging into the company’s website or mobile app customers can access an intuitive, user-friendly visual IVR menu interface. Users can to touch their way through visual menus, speak to a specific call center agent or even view holding time and choose a call back option – all from the comforts of their smart phones. The truth is Visual IVR actually is fulfilling many of the promises Voice IVR was meant to. Now you can deliver an automated and personalized and digital self-service experience to your voice callers, all at the same time!
Another robotic process automation RPA technology in customer service more and more companies are beginning to leverage is the chatbot, virtual assistants who can provide fast, cost-effective and human-like customer service. The vast amount of customer data that is collected by companies is used essentially as a data warehousing for an AI system. Together with Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology, this data can be translated into deep machine learning that creates progressively higher and higher levels of intelligence, and providing them with the ability to ‘learn’ the correct answer to any question over time. As customers today expect to receive instant service across all channels at all times, intelligent virtual personal assistants can be easily deployed on almost any interface, including voice response, mobile apps, SMS, the web, and instant messaging.
5. Big Data Analytics
Today, the trend toward big data analytics is also helping to automate how businesses communicate with customers. Utilizing complex data sets from various sources, companies are gaining important insights into customer behavior and preferences, and by leveraging these analytics, brands can identify customer pain and passion points more effectively, while even anticipating what customers will ask for in advance, to quickly resolve each customer interaction, which drives sales and lasting customer loyalty. In fact, according to Salesforce, 57% of consumers today are willing to share personal data with companies that send personalized offers and discounts. With such access becoming ever easier, look for more and more brands to finally make the push to leverage customer data from their CRMs to create more tailored and automated customer experiences in 2018.
Indeed, as contact center automation enhances effectiveness and quality, delivering clear, wide ranging benefits at various touch points, the world of customer service is changing rapidly and for the better.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.