For years, contact centers have been driving toward one goal: to make workflows more efficient.
As customer expectations have changed, the need to enhance and update contact center interactions has evolved.
To delight every customer, today’s businesses need much more than just the right employees. They need to invest in the best technology.
Automation tools can significantly enhance the contact center experience for agents and customers, paving the way to total experience (TE).
However, like many things in today’s innovative world, automation must be delivered in an effective way to get the best results.
Combining artificial intelligence (AI) and automation gives companies new ways to empower their teams, streamline the customer journey, reduce operating costs, and unlock valuable insights.
Read on to find out how every business can unlock the potential of intelligent automation in their contact center.
Streamlining the Customer Journey
Exceptional customer experiences begin at the first contact. From the moment they pick up the phone or enter their message into a chat form on a website or mobile app, customers expect a smooth experience.
Customers want to be routed instantly to the right agent or information source and to have their query resolved quickly and efficiently.
Intelligent automation helps organizations answer these needs. For instance, an AI-enhanced Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system can now use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to steer users straight to the help they need.
Speaking a few free-form words at the top of the call is much easier, in most cases, than pressing buttons and navigating menus for today’s smartphone-equipped caller.
In many cases, an inbound caller can be sent an SMS text with a link to the information they require or to an online form through which they can enter details of their inquiry via their mobile screen before their call is connected.
The same solution can also automatically transcribe the caller’s stated intention, delivering that data to the answering agent and using it to open the right on-screen information for the agent.
Before that, the caller’s speech is processed by automated routing systems using a combination of caller intent and sentiment analysis, previous contact history, and other factors to guide each contact to its most appropriate destination, be that a human or machine agent or self-service.
The result is a faster, more streamlined customer experience, fewer call transfers, and missed opportunities for business enhancement.
Providing Exceptional Agent Assistance
Implementing intelligent automation in the contact center doesn’t mean replacing human agents. Human empathy and creativity will always be essential to excellent customer experience. But automation and AI can help augment and empower these critical members of staff.
AI has the potential to revolutionize the lives of contact center agents, minimizing repetitive and mundane behaviors, such as writing up calls, and providing consistent access to guidance.
A virtual assistant can instantly present its human colleague with information about a contact, making it easy to identify and diagnose a problem and then deliver personalized service.
The same technology can offer access to knowledge articles, script suggestions, and other valuable data drawn from the business’s back end during an interaction.
Moreover, throughout the conversation, the AI-enabled solution can automatically upload data to a reporting suite and CRM, reducing the amount of wrap-up work agents must perform.
With intelligent automation, customers receive personalized service, while agents enjoy a streamlined, more empowering experience.
Building Self-Service Into the Contact Center
We live in a world where customers have become accustomed to interacting with bots and AI during the customer journey.
Around 40 percent of internet users even say they prefer to speak to a chatbot rather than a human agent. Delivering an effective self-service solution ensures they can resolve problems faster and more effectively in their own time.
Self-service can also reduce business operational costs and take some of the pressure off agents as contact center volumes continue to rise.
An AI-driven chatbot – powered by conversational technology like Natural Language Understanding – supports a more intuitive self-service experience.
Unlike traditional bots that use rules-based programs to answer queries, conversational agents dive into the context behind a question and constantly learn from each interaction.
Indeed, they use real interactions and respond flexibly to any question to ensure that customers can receive a human-style, customized experience when interacting with a bot, reducing the need for calls to transfer to an employee.
Diving deeper, Martin Taylor, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Content Guru, commented: “At the core of intelligent automation in customer experience lies AI-powered chatbots. These intelligent assistants should complement, not replace, human agents.
“The key is to leverage intelligent automation to augment agent capabilities, providing them with the right information, recommendations, and tools to deliver exceptional customer experiences whilst minimizing repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
“AI-powered chatbots can handle a wide range of routine and repetitive customer inquiries, providing instant responses and freeing human agents to focus on more complex and high-value interactions, or customer queries requiring more empathy.”
Bringing Intelligent Automation Into the Contact Center
Automation has long been a valuable tool for the contact center, empowering organizations to reduce the number of repetitive tasks dragging down agent performance. With intelligent automation, companies can take their contact center technology to the next level.
“Integrating AI into the contact center ensures world-class customer experiences while delivering operational efficiency,” added Taylor.
“From the beginning of the customer journey, automation ensures that consumers connect with the right agent with the necessary skills and knowledge to address their specific query, resulting in faster resolution times and increased first-customer resolution.
“Intelligent automation also extends beyond chatbots, encompassing sophisticated routing and prioritization algorithms alongside real-time analytics and insights, allowing organizations to identify emerging trends and customer pain points to proactively address potential issues.
“Such a data-driven approach enables contact centers to continuously optimize their operations, refine processes, and deliver a superior customer experience.”
Powering Generative AI
With the emergence of large language models (LLMs), intelligent automation is now essential to the contact center. Generative AI can provide fluent, clear explanations to agents during interactions.
Rather than scrolling through articles searching for a resolution, the solution is presented instantly within the agent interface, along with supporting reference information highlighted within trusted corporate data sources.
The latter reference information is essential for combating the hallucinatory tendencies inherent in today’s early-stage generative AI engines.
Information provided by customers will be picked up by Natural Language Processing (NLP) and used to direct LLMs to deliver outcomes. These outcomes include live knowledge articles for the agent, automated post-call notes, automated call scoring for audit purposes, or any other resource that can be created by drawing on dialog during an interaction.
The combination of organizational knowledge, live interaction, and leveraging information about the customer makes generative AI a powerful driver of high-quality personalized services and unprecedented levels of efficiency in the contact center.
Furthermore, the integration of generative AI into the contact center will bolster customer experiences—with more accurate, seamless interactions—and agent experiences too, as workers are better supported and empowered than ever to support customers, no matter their query.
Intelligent automation tools will streamline and improve the customer journey, enhance agent experiences, and deliver valuable insights into business data. They will ensure companies can stay compliant while providing more improved service experiences.
With intelligent automation, companies can reduce customer service costs, improve customer experience, and unlock new growth opportunities.