Your contact center is very likely one of your top strategic priorities for your business. But there are many problems faced by these centers. Luckily, you can use virtual technology, like AI and machine learning, to not only identify the root cause of your problems but to solve them.

What are the main problems faced by contact centers?

A white paper by customer engagement company [24]7 looked at the most common and costly problems taking place in contact centers. It also demonstrated how solving just one problem, the root cause of all the other problems, could have a positive, trickle down impact on the others. Some of the problems identified included:

  • Inaccurate and inconsistent answers to queries
  • High average handling time
  • Low agent morale leading to high turnover
  • Too many escalated calls
  • High training costs
  • Higher operating costs

From this list, the root cause was identified: poor agent tools for getting answers. The solution, says the white paper, lies in optimizing the agent desktop screens with technology that is able to give them a single, correct answer to any question. An example of this is Clickatell’s Touch solution which uses machine learning and workflow automation for customer support.

How can virtual technology be used to improve contact centers?

Forrester Research, in their report, Navigate the Future of Customer Service, describes how this screen should look and behave: "Customer service organizations will continue to work on simplifying the agent workspace and making it more usable. This includes removing extraneous data elements from agent screens, automating tasks to increase agent productivity, and ensuring that relevant information is easily accessible to agents."

Simply put, by creating a screen ideal for agents, contact center operations will improve significantly. For many organizations, this will lead to virtual technology like chatbots and virtual assistants or agents being deployed on screens. This often means that customers will be able to key in their questions using natural language and get one correct answer immediately, allowing them to receive their answer via self-service. They would be able to handle simple queries quickly and easily, leaving the agent available to answer the more detailed, complex questions.

According to Forrester Research: “Companies are increasingly supporting self-service customer journeys. They will look to automate product configuration, personalized product recommendations, price negotiations, and order taking. For post-purchase support, they will offer online issue submission, tracking, and scheduling for service technicians. They will also solidify self-service content by continuing to invest in knowledge management and community content. And they will explore the value of offering automated conversational interactions via chatbots and virtual agents.”

By equipping agents with the correct technology, each of the previously mentioned problems would be solved. For example, low morale would be addressed because access to the correct answers leads to less stress and frustration. Being able to provide accurate responses more speedily helps agents become better at their jobs and achieve their performance goals, which in turn leads to improved employee retention. After making these changes, organizations across a number of industries have experienced significant improvement. These include:

  • First call resolution improvement of 25% to 50%
  • Customer satisfaction improvement of 20% to 50%
  • Average handle time improvement of up to 25%

There are numerous benefits which contact center agents can expect to experience. Because what they're doing is deflecting many hundreds if not thousands of calls and emails by deploying a virtual agent or chatbot. Some of these expected benefits include lower communication volumes, requests handled by the virtual agent, improved morale, and retention, and consistency of answers provided.

It would be almost negligent for a contact center leader to not implement these technologies. If you are such a leader and your interest is piqued, read our recent article which looked at some of the biggest technology trends for business. Some of these include AI, chatbots, and Virtual Reality (VR). It explores why business should care about millennials and why millennials care about interacting with businesses which make use of this type of tech.

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