Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just walk into a store and talk to an actual live person that can answer your question about the product you want to buy? Imagine not having to call the phone number on the back of the item for days, hours, or even minutes because you couldn’t get through.
You’re getting more and more frustrated and angry until finally your patience has run out. And when all other methods have failed, you resort to calling customer service with no success.
The repetitive tasks in this process are what make it difficult. It is a very important part of the service of a company. Customer service is one of the main responsibilities in any call center.
The problem is that it can be costly for a customer for a number of reasons: there’s the opportunity cost, which you could spend your time doing other things, and the actual monetary costs like an international call from the United States to say, Australia can rack up quite quickly.
These problems are why customer service managers look for ways to reduce costs, increase efficiency and transparency. One way that businesses have come up with to address this issue is through automation and self-service solutions.
What Is Call Center Automation
Call Center Automation is the set of procedures and processes that are used to automate your call center. Historically, this was handled by humans behind a phone answering the incoming calls with pre-recorded voice messages.
Today, however, Call Center Automation is your contact center’s on-demand software solution to reduce the time spent in repetitive tasks. This can improve customer experience, increase productivity and reduce costs.
At least one voice search is used daily by 40% of adults.
Call Centers are companies which provide services like reception or administration for companies or organizations that handle telephone calls from customers or clients. These centers handle issues for various departments of a company or organization and enable them communicate with customers or clients across various mediums like landline phones, mobile phones, e-mail etc.
Importance Of Call Center Automation
Believe it or not, automation has already been proven to be more effective in some areas of the call center than even having a live person on the line. With advanced technology and processes in place, you can improve your customer service and business overall.
A whopping 31.7% of Fortune 500 organisations now utilise AI to improve customer service.
If you would like to know more about how your business could use this type of software and whether or not it’s right for you, check out our resource center. There you’ll find articles as well as helpful tips and advice from other companies that are already using this type of software in their call centers.
Risks Of Call Center Automation
The move to contact center automation is gathering pace with the number of call center automation software providers increasing. This is in response to the needs of contact centers who are looking for ways to improve efficiency and productivity.
The main benefits of automation are reducing the need for manual processes, increasing accuracy and consistency, and freeing up staff to focus on more value-added tasks.
According to Microsoft’s 2016 Global Customer Service Report, 78% of young customers anticipate that firms would already be aware of their contact and product information when they want assistance.
Natural language processing and workflow automation enables agents to provide customer self service through artificial intelligence and customer service automation tools. This allows for a more efficient and effective customer service experience.
1. Disadvantageous To Customers
One of the biggest dangers of automation is that it often disadvantages customers in the long run. For instance, if a customer is stuck with a decision about which product to buy and wants to speak with a real person for advice, he may not be able to do so via automation.
2. Disadvantageous To Employees
Another problem is that it could lead to unemployment if used incorrectly. If a company spends too much time focusing on automated procedures that have nothing to do with the actual service they offer, they will lose their human talent pool and ruin the experience for their customers at the same time.
3. Danger Of Alienating Customers
While companies who utilize automation often say that the skill set of their agents is much more important than their numbers, customer satisfaction is still largely dependent on a human element. If a company fails to introduce enough human touch and instead focuses on automation, their relationship with customers could severely suffer.
4. Can Lead To Unfairness In Crediting Calls
From 2015 to 2016, consumer expectations for customer service rose by 68%.
A common policy that depends on the automation of processes and procedures rather than the actions of employees is to automatically credit calls based on responses initiated by the customer without evaluating each individual call. The policy could easily lead to unfairness and dissatisfaction in the workplace, especially if the center is a high volume one.
5. Can Lead To Low Customer Satisfaction
The automation of processes can also lead to a situation wherein customers are not served efficiently or properly. This can occur if employees don’t feel like they have control over their work. If customers perceive that your company is hiding behind software, you could suffer in your rankings and reviews as well as on social media platforms where word of mouth is king.
6. Disadvantageous To Internal Communication
Additionally, a large number of employees operating in separate departments can be a huge disadvantage. Divide and conquer is the worst business strategy, especially if it means that each department doesn’t have a complete understanding of the goals, challenges and actions of the others.
7. Disadvantageous To Managers/Supervisors
Naturally, with more employees comes more management and supervision responsibilities. If you are using automation too much, you could easily overwhelm your managers with too many employees under their command and no real control over their actions because they are following software scripts rather than interacting with customers directly.
8. Disadvantageous To Business Plans
Automation can also undermine your business plan by removing the need for customer interaction and feedback. Without taking these into account, you could be doing more harm than good. Asking customers what they want can yield great results and take your business in an entirely new direction without ever calling upon automation.
Benefits Of Call Center Automation
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer service and maximizing profits.
Just over two-thirds of individuals now anticipate seeing or using messaging apps when interacting with a business, according to Chatbots Magazine.
Contact center operations and workflow automation are two important aspects of CRM. Customer service agents use customer data to provide efficient and effective customer service. By automating workflow processes, companies can improve their operational efficiency and bottom line.
1. Increase In Productivity
Automation can also help increase your productivity. Rather than having to hire new agents every few years because of the increasing number of customers and the availability of staff, you can focus on your core processes and do things faster instead of always having to add new employees.
2. Better Customer Service
With automated processes, you will be able to provide better customer service since your staff will be able to ensure that every customer is served properly and quickly. This is especially true when a machine goes offline without notice or if an agent isn’t trained in a certain process or technology. This can also help with your reputation in the industry as well as keeping your company’s reputation intact over time.
3. Increase In Efficiency
If you allow your employees to choose what they do, they can be much more productive and efficient than if you keep them on a set path. If you currently take calls from customers because an agent is not available, a customer calling the center at 8 p.m. may not get an answer because the automated system is down or he/she could be routed to an intern who doesn’t have the experience or knowledge to handle it. This will also reduce errors when agents handle calls manually rather than relying on software.
4. Speeding Up Processes
Automation can speed up processes too. For instance, if you need to analyze every call for customer satisfaction, you can use automation to start the analysis process and then hand it off to a human agent who will finish it. This is especially useful when you have multiple calls coming in at once.
5. No Need To Balance Workloads By Department
Normally, companies with understaffed departments will be forced to balance workloads across various departments. In order to do this, however, they must either eliminate other tasks or hire more staff. Automation can remove this from your plate entirely, allowing you to focus on the core processes of your business instead of all the other details that go along with it.
6. Eliminate Overcrowding And Backlogs
By 2019, one-third of contact centres will have started implementing and investing in AI and robotic process automation (RPA), according to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Contact Center Survey.
This is another major advantage of automation over human interaction when it comes to calls. When you put your human resources into automated tasks, you will no longer have to deal with overloads and backlogs which could happen if an agent is handling a high number of calls at once.
7. Lower Costs
Using automation can save money too. When you hire new employees, there are certain costs associated with them. You will also have to pay their salaries and benefits as well as provide positions for them to fill.
This can be a problem if your business is seasonal. Additionally, when you look for the best people available and then train them in your specific systems, you could end up paying more than before.
By using automation instead of hiring new people, you can focus your costs on other areas of your business without ever having to worry about going over budget on employees. If a mistake is made, then it’s software that suffered rather than an employee who puts in time and effort each day of her/his career.
8. Increased Speed
Efficiency is something that can be a struggle in many companies. For instance, in order to handle a large volume of calls, you may have to have an agent take down a number of customer details off their answers as they speak with them.
If you are handling too many calls at once, you may end up having an agent wait on customers to get back to them and often times forget the questions that mattered.
With automation, there’s no question or wait for the customer. Your agents can process the information faster and are less likely to forget important details so your customers will always be taken care of properly and efficiently from start to finish.
Automation can be beneficial to your business in many ways, especially when it comes to dealing with a high volume of calls. Instead of having to hire more employees or put in extra hours, the automation will do the work for you.
However, it’s important to understand just how much of an impact this type of software can have on your organization and what you can do to manage it before jumping in too quickly.
You should also keep up with the latest call center trends so that you always have the most current information on workforce trends and tools that will help grow your business. Automation is still new in many areas so there are plenty of things we don’t know about its future or how best to use it.