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How Will Consumers Benefit From More Contact Center Automation?

service-satisfaction survey- customers

Say the word ‘automation’ to any senior businessperson and their eyes light up.

It’s especially true in the contact center, where thousands of customer interactions take place.

Automation means lower costs. It means fewer errors. It means 24/7 service.

That’s all great… for businesses.

But does any of that help customers?

Let’s find out! Here are 3 ways consumers can expect to benefits from contact center automation.

Contents:

  • Conversational IVR
  • Virtual queuing
  • Pre-emptive service

Conversational IVR

You‘ve probably used an IVR system, even if you don’t know it.

‘IVR’ stands for Interactive Voice Response. You know those robot voices that say, “push 1 for service, push 2 for sales”? That’s an IVR.

The problem? people generally hate them. You probably hate them.

But that is changing…

Contact centers are beginning to use some sci-fi tech like Natural Language Understanding to create conversational IVR.

Why is this great for consumers?

We all have to contact customer support now and then. And however much you don’t like IVRs, they’re not going away.

But they are improving – in a big way.

Conversational IVR is already making life easier for customers.

There’s no tedious button pushing because you can just talk, and the system will understand you.

They’re able to respond appropriately. Even if they can’t help, they can pass your details to an agent (so no more having to repeat yourself.)

Think about Amazon’s Alexa, or similar assistants like Cortana or Siri. They get more capable every day, and we all get better at using them.

And, pretty soon, that will be the default for all customer service centers.

Virtual queuing

Contact centers have a hard time serving their customers quickly enough.

For you and me, it’s really annoying. We have stuff to do! Why are we stuck on hold?

The problem is that customers tend to all call around the same times of day.

Most of us don’t want to call a contact center first thing in the morning or right before bed. So we end up calling in our lunch break. And we get stuck on hold.

But thanks to call center technologies like virtual queuing, not for much longer.

Why is this great for consumers?

Imagine you’re putting up a shelf, and you need your friends’ help with one small thing. 

They say, “Sure, I’ll help. Just give me two minutes and I’ll be right there.”

Fair enough, right? You can wait two minutes.

But…

What if they didn’t tell you how long you’d have to wait? And what if they forced you to listen to some truly terrible music while you waited?

That’s basically what being on hold is, right? And that’s a good reason to switch to virtual queuing.

The idea is simple: the contact center wants to help you – they just need a minute to finish helping someone else.

But instead of putting you on hold, they let you hang up… and they call you.

They can tell you exactly when they’ll call – it should only be a few minutes – and in the meantime you can do… whatever you want! No hold music!

Pre-emptive service

What if you didn’t need to call a contact center at all?

What if they were able to solve your problem… before you even have it?

It sounds like a fantastical concept, but plenty of businesses are already investing in pre-emptive contact center services.

From a business perspective it makes total sense; find simple, automated ways to help customers, and you can expect far fewer calls.

You can also expect far happier customers!

Why is this great for consumers?

Basically, nobody wants to contact customer services. Anything that makes that less necessary is a plus.

But how does pre-emptive service actually work?

Here’s a good example from AT&T, the US telecoms giant. They noticed that a lot of customers were confused by their first bill, mistakenly thinking they had been overcharged.

The solution was simple: every time a customer signs up, their first bill is sent out. In addition, each customer gets an SMS or email with a link to a video. The video explains the layout of the first bill, so… no call.

The impact for AT&T was huge – 10% of their inbound calls vanished.

That means hundreds of thousands of people didn’t have to waste time calling in.

What connects these three technologies?

 It’s simple – automation.

For a long time, contact centers have relied on automation to save costs. But they’ve spent very little time thinking about the customer experience.

That’s changing fast with new, automated services.

About babelforce

babelforce is a global cloud communications platform focused on No-Code integration and automation. It allows non-technical people to build even the most complex integrated processes for customer-facing teams, particularly in the call center.