Contact Center Automation Trends to Watch This Year

The Top Contact Center Automation Trends in 2023

Contact Center Automation Trends to Watch This Year - CX Today News
Contact CentreInsights

Published: July 14, 2023

Rebekah Carter

Contact center automation trends and AI innovations are the hottest topics at almost every CX event this year. Every contact center vendor is looking for new ways to empower and augment agent performance with intelligent automation.

A Bain & Company report noted that AI-driven automation isn’t just about saving money anymore; it’s about “resilience and gaining an edge.” Automation in the contact center can deliver incredible benefits to companies from all industries.

Automation streamlines workflows for agents and improve workplace efficiency. Plus, it opens the door to new ways of efficiently serving customers. While automation has been driving excellent CX results for years, technology innovations are igniting new demand.

Advances in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning are changing the DNA of customer care. Let’s look closer at the contact center automation trends worth investing in this year.

What is Contact Center Automation?

Before we dive into some contact center automation trends, let’s quickly define the concept. Contact center automation is a multifaceted idea. On a broad level, the term refers to the tools companies use to automate tasks usually performed by humans.

Examples of contact center automation can be seen everywhere in the contact center. They appear in everything from simple IVR solutions for call routing to comprehensive self-service chatbots.

Lately, automation trends in the contact center have been influenced more by artificial intelligence.

Intelligent contact center automation, driven by new conversational and generative AI initiatives, redefines what bots can do. Cisco’s generative AI tools can automatically summarize conversations, reducing call wrap-up times.

ServiceNow uses generative AI to empower agents with rapid access to information and guidance. Other vendors like NICE, Talkdesk, Five9, and Genesys have combined automation and leading AI algorithms.

The Top Contact Center Automation Trends in 2023

As technology in the contact center and CX landscape continues to transform, contact center automation trends primarily focus on improving both agent and customer experience simultaneously.

With the right tools, companies can reduce costs, optimize resources, and improve customer satisfaction with minimal extra effort.

Here are some top contact center automation trends to watch this year.

1.    Connecting the Clouds and Optimizing Omnichannel

Since the pandemic, 90% of customer service leaders say customer expectations have increased to an all-time high. Customers now want always-on, personalized, efficient experiences on every channel. However, companies can’t simply invest in new communication platforms to compete.

They need automation and AI to ensure every channel, team member, and platform can communicate.

Automation is emerging as a powerful solution for bridging the gaps between different communication channels. The right tools can empower customers to transition from text to voice calls or video interactions in seconds.

More importantly, the proper solutions automatically transfer the context agents need to deliver consistent, personalized experiences everywhere.

Automated technology can also help to bridge the gaps between employees, helping to bring multiple tools and platforms together in one environment.

Companies can use APIs to create automated workflows that connect the contact center collaboration and UCaaS tools, as well as CRMs and databases. This leads to unified employees working on complex customer cases, sharing knowledge and insights instantly.

It also ensures agents can automatically access cloud-based data from knowledgebases and customer profiles without leaving a conversation with a customer.

2.    Automation Helps Drive Hyper-Personalization

Speaking of personalization, around 71% of companies now expect interactions with companies to be tailored to their specific needs. Unfortunately, this means collecting and managing vast volumes of data.

One of the most significant contact center automation trends making waves throughout the landscape today uses intelligent tools to help companies understand their customers.

Automated solutions can help companies track each stage of the customer journey, making mapping touchpoints for contact center agents easier. Intelligent automated tools can also collect valuable data from conversations, summarize it, and add it to customer profiles.

This means agents can access more comprehensive insights into their customers, their preferences, goals, pain points, and previous interactions, without as much admin work.

Around 76% of business leaders want to create more robust customer records by auto-populating customer profiles with bots. Some intelligent tools can use automatically-collected data to guide agents through interactions.

Bots can use historical and real-time data to suggest next-best-action steps to agents, based on business trends, customer intent, and sentiment. AI solutions can even automatically predict future outcomes and customer requirements, helping outbound agents to connect with customers at the perfect moment to increase sales and loyalty.

3.    Automated Self-Service Solutions Evolve

The rise of generative AI solutions like ChatGPT is having a significant impact on contact center automation trends. For years, companies have attempted to automate specific customer interactions to help reduce call volumes and operational costs.

However, old-fashioned bots struggled to deliver exceptional experiences due to a limited ability to personalize conversations with creativity and context. However, the rise of conversational AI, generative AI, large language models, and advanced machine learning is changing all this.

Today’s companies can use automated bots to provide unique and compelling self-service interactions. These bots can understand customer intent, personalize discussions based on access to business data, and even help escalate conversations to human agents when necessary.

New GPT-style APIs and algorithms built into contact center environments are giving businesses a more effective way to guide customer conversations and provide 24/7 service.

Not only do these tools help to improve customer satisfaction levels, but they also have a direct impact on business outcomes too. Gartner predicts by 2026, automated conversational AI solutions will reduce agent labor costs by around $80 billion.

4.    Automatic Speech Recognition Enhances Routing

Throughout the years, many contact center automation trends have revolved around call routing. Companies are looking for new ways to ensure their customers reach the ideal agent for their needs, reducing call handling and transfer rates.

In the past, automated systems for Interactive Voice Response (IVR) tools were relatively basic. They could send a customer to an agent based on specific instructions input in numbers. For instance, “Press 1 to speak to sales”.

IVR solutions now use conversational AI, automation, and automatic speech recognition to improve the routing experience. Today’s tools can understand each customer’s intent and sentiment, and determine where to route them based on agent skills and availability.

The best tools can determine whether to send a customer to an agent or provide them with a self-service alternative. They can also collect and transfer valuable information to an agent before a conversation begins.

Natural language processing and understanding technologies built into automated IVRs can reduce operational costs, improve customer satisfaction, and even reduce the stress on human workers.

5.    Automating VoC Insights and Feedback

Most of the top contact center automation trends go hand-in-hand with other movements in the CX landscape. For instance, automated contact center software is ideal for voice of the customer insights.

Collecting customer feedback is essential as companies continue to compete entirely on CX metrics. Unfortunately, time-pressed agents rarely have the opportunity to request and process input.

Automated tools can handle this process instantly, requesting feedback at the end of a call or conversation, displaying rating scales on chat widgets, and more. Some solutions can even use AI to determine the best time to follow up on feedback requests.

AI and automated tools can also build on the insights gathered from survey responses. They can assess sentiment, customer effort scores, and other essential metrics.

Recently, Dialpad launched an AI-powered CSAT solution intended to help companies automatically analyze transcripts and evaluate the voice of the customer.

6.    Improving Team Productivity with Automation

Many of the best contact center automation tools improve agent productivity and performance. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools built into the contact center eliminate some of the repetitive tasks employees need to manage every day.

According to some reports, more than 78% of companies already implement RPA into their technology stacks to improve business performance.

While automated tools may not be able to handle every project managed by a contact center agent, they can significantly improve workflows. Studies have shown that AI-powered automated tools can increase productivity by 14% and productivity by 14%, improving employee satisfaction.

Solutions like intelligent auto dialers can handle reaching out to leads in the outbound contact center. AI-powered solutions can also automate data entry for agents, reducing wrap-up times.

Some automated solutions can even provide real-time assistance and guidance to agents needing training.

7.    Tracking Compliance, Security, and Performance

Contact center automation trends are also introducing new ways for business leaders to keep track of critical metrics and operational insights. Quality Assurance, for instance, is often time-consuming, requiring continuous monitoring of services and operations.

Automated tools can monitor QA levels in real-time, rapidly sending alerts to supervisors and business leaders when issues occur or suggesting quick-fix strategies. These tools eliminate the need to manually listen to, and score calls while giving companies a broader view of the actual performance of their teams.

Automated solutions can also help with maintaining high compliance standards. Innovative AI-driven bots with natural language processing capabilities can listen in on calls and automatically flag alerts when compliance issues emerge.

Some solutions used for automatically recording and transcribing conversations can also automatically remove sensitive information from customer records. This helps companies to adhere to privacy and data retention guidelines like GDPR.

8.    Driving New AI Opportunities

Finally, automation trends in the contact center empower companies to take advantage of other, more innovative tools and solutions. For instance, companies are increasingly looking for new ways to implement their own GPT-style bots into the customer service landscape.

While many contact center vendors are now delivering tools to help companies embrace the power of generative AI, these models still need considerable training. To deliver a personalized, branded experience, generative bots need access to vast volumes of data.

Automation tools can help organizations rapidly train and develop their own bots without investing in new talent. Automated systems can rapidly collect data from various environments and use it to feed information to an evolving bot.

Automated technology also powers machine learning, allowing bots to adapt and grow based on consistent interactions and input.

Gradually, automated technology is making transformative concepts like deep neural networks and generative AI more accessible to virtually every company.

The Rise of Contact Center Automation

Contact center automation trends are rapidly reshaping the CX landscape.

While the full contact center experience is automation-ready yet, there are plenty of use cases for automation.

Automation needs to be implemented carefully into the contact center to avoid eliminating crucial human elements like compassion and empathy in customer conversations. However, with the right strategy, automated technologies can enhance every CX interaction.

The right tools can empower agents, improve business performance, reduce costs, and, most importantly, enhance customer satisfaction. What’s more, in today’s digitally transforming landscape, it seems clear that intelligent automation in the contact center will only continue to evolve.

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