What your customers want
The days of tolerating bad service are gone. Long wait times, unprepared agents, being transferred multiple times to the “right” department, and then repeating ourselves over and over again, are just a few examples of how a company can lose our business even if we’ve been a lifelong customer.
As consumers’ expectations are higher now than they ever have been. Most of our transactions and purchases are now being done online or over the phone, resulting in more interactions with the call centre, which is playing a greater role in our journey and experience. We want things fast, and we want them right, the first time, every time.
The new normal
This rise in digital interactions and consumer expectations, has created a new sense of urgency for businesses to rethink the way their employees interact with customers, and how they deliver products and services to their customers. More online and phone interactions means longer wait times and agent burnout, which could lead to poor customer experiences that result in higher churn. To address these challenges, many businesses are turning to the cloud and other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), and we expect this trend will continue to grow over the next few years as companies adjust to this “new normal”.
Contact centres in particular are using AI to automate tasks, create new efficiencies, and augment the performance of agents so they can be more effective at their jobs and provide better customer experiences – all while trying to keep costs down. The International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence and advisory services, predicts that by 2025, “AI-powered” enterprises will be able to achieve Net Promoter Scores that are 1.5 times higher than those of their competitors.
Achieving transformation through AI
For many, the thought of implementing AI seems overwhelming. Without over-simplifying too much, let me break it down into three key areas:
- Delighting your customers
First and foremost, think about your customers. Are you solving their problem the first time they reach you? Did you make it easy for them? And did they feel good about their interaction with your brand? These are the core of what matters to your customers.
By deploying AI-powered virtual agents such as voice and chat bots you can manage high call volumes better, while making it easy and convenient for your customers to self-serve without ever interacting with a human agent. This is ideal for those easy, repeatable inquiries such as obtaining a bank account balance, password resets, or making a house payment. The richer, more complex inquiries that the bot cannot handle, are seamlessly deferred to a human agent when needed.
- Empowering your agents
Second, think about your agents who remain vital to your contact centre. How productive, efficient, and happy are they? Are they spending more time searching for information and flipping between apps, rather than listening to and helping your customers? According to our 2020 global contact centre survey, the top 3 business process issues that frustrate agents are cumbersome and repetitive tasks, slow processes due to outdated technology, and too many steps involved in closing out tickets.
AI can help. Rather than the agent putting you on hold, an AI-powered agent assistant can be actively listening to the conversation in the background, and nudge the agent with context-driven suggestions, guidance and information, empowering the agent to provide timely and accurate information to solve your problem. This is a win win situation – the agent receives intelligent guidance, and the customer’s needs are met on the first contact.
Furthermore, natural language processing (NLP) can transcribe the conversation in real-time, minimizing agent call wrap-up time and effort, while providing contact centre supervisors with valuable information to determine if additional agent coaching is needed.
- Boosting your contact centre’s performance
Last, but not least, are you boosting the performance of your contact centre to achieve competitive advantage? AI helps free up human time so the human can spend more quality time helping customers on more complex requests. AI automates the full contact centre cycle. AI can handle the majority of the calls and minimize the deflection to a human agent. When the call comes in, AI gets it to the right resource faster. AI helps the agent during the customer interaction, enabling the agent to deliver faster and more accurate service, and then, after the call, AI helps the agent close the ticket much faster.
In addition, AI thrives on data. When combined with data analytics, it provides a powerful tool to enhance how contact centres engage with their customers proactively. AI can provide answers into what your data is telling you, giving you a better understanding of the insights hidden in your data so that you can optimize contact centre operations and resources for peak efficiency.
Learn more about Cisco Contact Center solutions here.