Watch the Demos to Understand Why AI and Automation are So Hot Right Now
You’ve probably seen how software is still eating the world, and how AI is eating software. What is eating the contact center in 2021? It seems automation is everywhere these days, allowing people to accomplish a variety of tasks faster, and the contact center space is no exception. In fact, the need to deliver an effortless customer experience has spurred many of the contact center automation trends.
We have seen a 10x increase in the adoption of digital customer experience during the pandemic. There has been a lot of talk and action about the increased rate of digital transformation in the last 12 months as well. It’s important to understand the longer term trajectory of automation trends in contact centers and the things that are unlikely to change, so that we can be smarter and more helpful to our colleagues and our customers.
Many organizations can plainly see the need to reshape the contact center using the latest technology and solutions. Several obstacles, ranging from budgetary issues to staffing concerns may prevent companies from taking the next step in contact center evolution, though. One of the most pressing challenges that needs to be addressed is integration. The Call Centre Helper report found that 53% of respondents cited technology integration as a major barrier to running a better contact center. Meanwhile, 43.3% stated that broken processes were another roadblock standing in the way of their contact center initiatives.
That may sound daunting, but contact center automation software can help remove these barriers and allow organizations to harmonize silos and elevate the employee experience and the customer experience.
Almost every third person in the world uses a smartphone. As users’ adoption continues to grow, regular voice calls will come to be seen as quaint. With the rise of conversational AI, consumers have come to expect even more from interactive voice systems. Their frustration has only grown. More than 50% of survey participants hate repeating themselves. Almost half don’t like waiting to talk to a live agent, according to a recent survey.
Robotic process automation 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 operations and technology challenges.
Typically, a virtual agent attempts to engage in triage and handle simple requests and engages a human agent as and when needed with complete context. Further, digital first customer service solutions aim to automate relevant back-end tasks in real-time by leveraging available web services, as well as by availing RPA bots that now automate tasks that previously required the back office team. Rather than waiting for hours or days, customers get real-time support, which also translates to proactive customer service in many cases, further boosting customer loyalty.
Companies are increasingly looking for ways to support agents by providing them with timely insights that can help deliver quicker call resolutions and better customer experiences. According to the same survey, 71.2% of contact centers have integrated knowledge-base systems into their tech stack. In addition, more than half (54%) have embraced digital call scripts to guide representatives during difficult calls and find a satisfying resolution to every scenario.
Real-time assistance in the form of an Agent Assist is one way in which organizations can sustainably help their agents develop the knowledge and empathy required to create WOW moments for customers through frictionless first contact resolutions, one interaction at a time. According to Forrester, customers are 10 times more likely to recommend a brand after connecting with an employee who has answered all their questions at once. Given it’s potential to create a 10x change, there is no doubt that agent assist is one of the more transformational contact center automation trends.
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. Look for more and more companies to be adopting desktop automation, which 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 and loyal customers and agents.
Adopting the right technology solutions will help companies build for the future and continue evolving to meet customer needs. The entire report from Call Centre Helper sheds light on many other trends impacting the industry today and down the road. Read more about Virtual Customer Assistants, Speech Analytics, Contact Center as a Service and other major topics by downloading the full survey here. We also recommend that you analyze NTT’s Global Customer Experience Benchmark here.