Contact Center

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16 min read

Contact Center Automation Guide for Improving Customer Experience [2023]

Contact center intelligence automation is the process of utilizing technology to automate routine daily tasks without human intervention. It involves leveraging technology to undertake and perform duties previously handled manually.

Peter Iansek

Co-Founder & CEO

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Contact center automation processes use the power of contact center data to improve the overall customer experience. By automating manual, error-prone work and finding opportunities for artificial intelligence-based interactions, organizations can improve customer retention, agent effectiveness, and resource allocation. 

In today’s digital world, organizations and customers value being able to complete services online via digital channels. Not only does this make it easier for customers to self-service with a channel and time of their choice, but it also provides a lower-cost support channel for the organization.

That's where contact center data automation comes in: to make sense of your contact center data, find actionable insights, and to understand the ROI of potential automation opportunities. 

What is Contact Center Automation?

Contact center intelligence automation is the process of utilizing technology to automate routine daily tasks without human intervention. It involves leveraging technology to undertake and perform duties previously handled manually. 

Automating human processes can improve organizational efficiency and increase productivity. For example, a chatbot might be used to interact and communicate with a customer to answer simple questions or offer assistance with common problems. This frees up time for agents to respond to more complex customer issues. 

Why use Contact Center Automation?

contact center agent

With so many organizational activities to manage, contact center automation helps: 

  • Save time and energy: Clever algorithms effectively handle some customers' inquiries and complaints without needing to involve human agents. 
  • Relieve repetitive tasks: Artificial intelligence, natural language processing, machine learning, and big data helps relieve agents from repetitive tasks that fuel rising attrition rates. 
  • Faster response rate: Faster and more detailed responses to customers can lead to improved first contact  resolution and net promoter scores.
  • No back-office or after-call tasks: Agents no longer have to perform back-office and after-call tasks like data entry and conversation analysis by hand. Instead, by using automation technology such as speech analytics, the contact center can now automatically and accurately analyze conversations to provide meaningful insights, while also for customer service improvement. 
  • Employee retention and satisfaction: With AI carrying out daily monotonous tasks, customer service agents have more opportunities to grow professionally and remain engaged in their work.

Contact Center Automation Technologies

Automated Interactions 

The term "automated interactions" encompasses several different contact center tools, the most popular being chatbots. However, any form of customer self-service tool can be classified as an automated interaction. This also includes features like an online knowledge base or an AI-powered IVR.

Forecasting & Scheduling 

Automated forecasting can help contact centers use data to understand customer patterns and make predictions based on those trends. This could include higher demand for customer service agents during busy times of the year. 

Creating a comprehensive and effective schedule is one of the most important aspects of managing a contact center’s workforce. But this can be automated too. Automated scheduling relies on artificial intelligence to determine the number of agents needed for each shift, as well as align agents’ skills with appropriate customer queries. 

Workflow Automations

This saves agents time by automatically completing repetitive, manual tasks like logging customer information, data entry, and document generation. It also helps to streamline processes like order tracking and case management. 

Automated Agent Guidance

Every industry has its own set of specific compliance regulations for agents to be mindful of. For example, those in payments must worry about PCI compliance and keeping information secure. Medical office customer service agents must adhere to HIPAA guidelines, and so on. Automated agent guidance can provide step-by-step guidance on how best to handle various situations while still remaining compliant.

Other Automation Opportunities

There are almost endless automation opportunities across the many crucial areas of queue management, customer service analytics and reporting, quality assurance/monitoring, fraud detection, and more. 

When you think of “contact center automation,” it’s understandable to think of chatbots, interactive voice assistants, IVR self-service, and quality management. But deploying these technologies without knowing the exact problem to solve isn’t effective.

Because automation solutions often require business programming (like chatbots), it can be challenging for organizations to understand all of the ways in which customers articulate their needs and demands. This can lead to businesses implementing automations based on their understanding of the customer needs instead of the customers’ actual needs. A classic example is a customer working through an IVR to get to an agent because the options don't line up with how customers articulate their needs. 

To experience the true power and full ROI of automation technology, organizations must be able to identify and validate exactly which interactions they can automate with confidence. 

With Operative Intelligence, this information is automatically generated and available with a single click. You’ll see exactly what can be automated and the ROI of each suggested automation and can capture the full spectrum of opportunities available. 

Operative Intelligence analyzes 100% of inbound interactions and uses the customer's actual words to represent the reason for contact. It identifies customer call drivers and determines the value-add to the customer, the cost to the company, and whether or not the inquiry can be automated, or completed through self-service. 

Benefits of Contact Center Automation with AI

contact center agent process

Here are some of the benefits of using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate contact center processes. 

1. Customer Pain Point Identification

Customer pain points are the specific problems  customers or prospects experience when using a product or service. Understanding the root cause of these issues is essential for improved customer satisfaction and product and policy changes. 

An effective contact center automation such as Operative Intelligence identifies the root causes of why customers contact support and uses the customer's actual words in representing the reason for contact. It automatically shows the volume, cost, and sentiment of every inquiry, which you’d otherwise need to mine from multiple data sources.

 2. Increased Agent Effectiveness

Automation technologies such as workflow automation enable agents to set up automatic tasks such as filling out forms, generating reports, processing orders, and logging customer interactions. 

Automation technologies can also reduce call handling time, absence, and attrition leading to increased efficiency in the contact center. For example, intelligent routing connects a customer's call to the best-suited agent, leading to resolving issues quickly and accurately. This can help improve important metrics for contact centers like AHT (average handle time) and FCR (first contact resolution). 

Reduced manual work means agents can be retrained to do higher-value tasks by contact centers. This could include up-selling, cross-selling, and providing high-touch outbound proactive service, such as phoning clients about overdue payments or informing them of exclusive deals. 

Automation can also be used for tasks such as frontline coaching, quality assessments, and engagement tools. AI & automation solutions provide complete visibility into every customer interaction across channels and take action to maximize the performance of agents and sellers to improve customer experience and increase revenue.

3. Streamlined Analytics

Automation systems can streamline gathering, analyzing, and reporting on data to allow contact centers to better identify customer trends, optimize customer journeys, and increase customer satisfaction. This is essential for enterprises that want to extract immediate insights from fast and ever-growing volumes of data. 

These automated insights can help build efficiencies and resolve problems quickly — or help remove them altogether.

4. Reduced Reporting Errors

Instead of manually inputting data, automation tools and systems can pull data from multiple sources and compile comprehensive reports in real time. This minimizes human error and ensures all relevant data is organized in a single source of truth. 

Often, contact centers use subjective methods of determining why customers are contacting them. The most common method is "dispositions," which involves an agent selecting a "reason for contact" from a drop-down list in their CRM at the end of an interaction. These answers are subjective and the agent has to work within a limited list. 

Today, automation tools utilize various forms of analysis to quickly pull data from customer interactions. Some of these processes include: 

  • Text analysis: Text analysis, also called text analytics, involves understanding natural language text and extracting useful information from it. Text analysis tools can consume text data from various sources, including emails, phone transcripts, surveys, customer reviews, and other documents. 
  • Speech recognition: Also known as automatic speech recognition (ASR), speech-to-text, or computer speech recognition, speech recognition is the ability of a computer to recognize and translate spoken language into text. 
  • Sentiment analysis: Sentiment analysis uses machine learning and AI to pull subjective elements from text to determine the feelings and opinions of the speaker. This can help organizations understand where and when customers are having a negative experience while using their product or service. 

5. Improved Employee Satisfaction

One of the top reasons for agent attrition is repetitive work. By automating mundane tasks, front-line personnel can focus on complex customer service needs. They can also spend less time on manual activities and more time accomplishing both personal and KPI goals.

Contact Center Automation Trends

contact center agent meeting

Here are some of the most common ways contact centers are taking advantage of automation. 

Frontline Coaching

With more customers using digital channels to handle transactional requests, contact center agents will be able to focus on revenue-generating tasks or complex support requests that require more skill to manage. According to senior customer-care executives,  the skill requirements for customer service agents will become more demanding in the future. 

By utilizing digital workflows and robotic process automation, many of the activities that keep supervisors and team leaders from effectively coaching their agents are now prime candidates for automation. Tasks like preparing time sheets, dashboards, and agent evaluation reports can be completed with little to no manual intervention. 

Supervisors are freed up to spend more time coaching agents on the front line. Furthermore, automated reporting tools provide a more sophisticated and detailed view of how their agents perform against various performance indicators.

Mckinsey also estimates that North America's average 500-agent contact center spends about $2 million annually on staff time for coaching activities. The more effective coaching can be, the more companies can save on coaching costs. 

Operative Intelligence enables contact centers to spend more time developing their frontline teams and less time listening to calls and evaluating interactions. The platform automatically determines resolution and satisfaction for 100% of frontline interactions – without the need for surveys. 

Using this data, contact center management can quickly discover the span of performance across teams and channels and pinpoint which agents need more support and in which areas. Team leaders can coach with precision and drive measurable improvements. Operative Intelligence identifies what is driving the increase in handling time and cost, and how to fix the issues.

contact center agent performance process
Operative Intelligence uncovers the span of agent performance at the inquiry level. 

Quality Assessment 

Quality assessments ensure that a company's services are up to industry standards and the customers’ needs. Automation tools can assist contact centers in accurately assessing workflows, call quality, procedure adherence, and the overall performance of their agents.

Automated quality assessments enable companies to take corrective action when needed and eliminate inconsistencies in service delivery. They also provide accurate and comprehensive views of customer satisfaction scores, enabling contact centers to optimize their processes while meeting the highest standards of service.

Self-service Customer Service 

Self-service customer services enable customers to handle their own inquiries without the help of a customer service agent. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as chatbots, self-service portals, and IVR systems. 

Self-serve technology provides customers with instant answers to their questions and allows them to easily and quickly resolve any issues. It reduces the need for customers to reach out to the contact center, freeing up more of the workforce, and allowing them to focus on more urgent and productive issues.

However, many of these solutions don't consider ROI. Plus, these services require companies to know exactly what the customer has an issue with. Using phone trees and other automated self-service tools isn’t helpful if the options provided aren’t relevant to the customer’s stated needs.

Operative Intelligence analyzes 100% of inbound interactions and shares the root causes of overall inquiries using the customer’s actual words. Organizations no longer struggle with finding and justifying which interactions could be automated, constructing a business case, and monitoring ROI. 

With Operative Intelligence, this process is entirely automated – saving you months of time and effort – and the results are immediately available with a single click. You can be confident that the changes you’re making will give you the expected return through unique value scores for every driver. 

Cloud Technology

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based customer experience solution service that enables businesses to use a contact center provider's software. A CCaaS model allows organizations to purchase only the required technology, which reduces the need for an internal IT support system.

Contact center agents can now integrate multiple communications channels into a single system, allowing agents to communicate with customers or clients through phone calls, emails, or instant messaging, and maintain a consistent record of all communications regardless of the format.

Contact Center Automation FAQs

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? 

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technology that makes it easy to build and manage software robots that emulate human interactions with digital systems and software. It can perform various predefined tasks, including understanding what is on a screen, making the appropriate keystrokes, navigating systems, and extracting and identifying data. 

Even cognitive tasks like language interpretation, conversational interaction, processing of unstructured data, and applying cutting-edge machine learning models to make complicated decisions are cognitive tasks that advanced robots can undertake. They can complete the task faster and more reliably than humans.

Robotic Process Automation can be quickly installed and is non-intrusive, which speeds up digital transformation. It's also perfect for automating processes using antiquated systems that lack virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI), database access, or APIs.

What other technologies do contact centers use?

Contact centers use a variety of technologies, including: 

  • Computer Telephony Integration: Sometimes known as "computer-telephony integration" or "CTI," this refers to any technology that enables coordinated interactions between computer and telephone. It’s a centralized communication center, allowing you to combine different modes of communication, including SMS texting, faxing, live chat, and more, into a single interface. The dashboard also lets you keep an eye on important analytics and KPIs, as well as access data from your CRM system.
  • Automatic Call Distributor: An automated call distribution (ACD) system directs incoming calls to the terminal or person who can best meet the caller's needs. Companies that receive a high volume of calls benefit greatly from knowing where to direct incoming calls before they are answered. ACDs assist businesses in more effectively meeting consumer needs.
  • VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a traditional telephone line. VoIP services offer features that traditional phone systems do not, such as call recording and call monitoring. VoIP services are often more affordable than traditional phone services and they allow you to use your computer or mobile device as a phone. VoIP services can also be used to call other people who are also using VoIP services.

Improve Contact Center Automation with Operative Intelligence 

Contact center data automation helps organizations mitigate customer service volume, reduce customer care costs, and identify priorities that will drive the biggest impact on customer experience.

However, accessing actionable insights historically come with a high financial cost or an opportunity cost. Organizations could automate tasks, but they wouldn’t know or validate the exact problems they’re trying to solve or the ROI of solving it. 

Operative Intelligence can effectively transform your contact center data into insightful and relevant information. Operative Intelligence identifies and validates exactly which interactions organizations can automate with confidence, build the business case, and then tracks the ROI of the change. 

Ready to drive company-wide changes to improve your customer experience – and bottom line?

Book a demo with Operative Intelligence today.

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