Delivering the best customer experience in the most efficient way is a surefire strategy for improving contact center performance. And while self-service operations may have had their detractors in the past, today’s modern systems are transforming the customer experience. Multiple benefits make these digital interactions a valuable addition to the feature set provided by contact center solutions.
For example, the French company Malakoff Humanis – which markets retirement products and has more than 10 million policyholders – is increasing the amount of incoming traffic that is processed automatically. Contact center solutions provider Odigo, which provides the tools used by Malakoff Humanis, reports that nearly half of all automated call flows are handled without agent intervention.
In 2019, regulatory changes in the French pension space led to increased call volumes to providers. Without self-service operations, companies like Malakoff Humanis would have struggled to maintain customer experience expectations. This change is fueled by improvements in natural language processing that have made the systems much more accurate for operators and less frustrating for customers to use.
Enhancements to contact center solutions allow agents to focus their efforts on the customers who need their help the most. These are often high value-added interactions that support business growth. Additionally, digital solutions, if properly designed and implemented, can operate reliably 24/7 and provide customers with a consistent experience.
The data generated by self-service operations makes it easy to monitor performance and alert managers when action needs to be taken. Additionally, the use of automated tools adds rails to ensure that business messaging is consistent in communications between a business and its customers. There are also other positives.
Advancements in sonic branding enable contact centers to deliver an engaging and memorable experience. Systems can tap into a variety of audio resources. And while these may be different, they all reflect the organization’s core values (thanks to AI-enabled feature matching) – for example, emphasizing trust, clarity and commitment.
Today, there are hundreds of synthetic voices, and the models are much more emotional and attractive than people imagine. In fact, it is possible to clone the voice and make the experience even closer to receiving advice from an agent. Compared to a written message, the voice has the ability to convey information in a much more expressive way. But, naturally, contact centers have to help customers across multiple channels – responding to incoming chat, text and social media messages.
One of the challenges for contact centers offering multi-channel interactions is how to measure and report on the quality of these services. Integrating data from phone calls, website queries, and various social media posts is not a simple exercise. But without an up-to-date holistic view, contact centers risk lacking quality in the service they provide. To address this issue, quality and labor management applications are able to score agent responses to customer queries, regardless of channel.
US-based Polaris Industries – a manufacturer of outdoor recreational vehicles – noticed an improvement in contact center performance when it moved from stagnant reporting to a quality management solution provided by Calabrio. In the first case, supervisor shifts would be disrupted by manually updating static data. And that meant those knowledgeable employees spent less time with contact center representatives.
Moving to a more streamlined, application-focused tool has allowed Polaris to meet its service goals every month thereafter. A dashboard quickly displays current and historical performance and combines interactions across all channels. Rob Murnane, Polaris dealer support supervisor, notes that the company receives about half of its dealer inquiries via the web. And given the digital trends, this number is expected to increase over time.
Customers are becoming increasingly accustomed to self-service features and appreciate the ability of digital contact center solutions to provide quick help. Waiting in line is a poor and stressful customer experience for agents, who have to work hard to charm customers who have spent a long time on hold. Self-service options can help agents in other ways as well.
Automated text-to-speech can capture important details so that if an agent needs to be brought into the conversation, the issue can be resolved much faster. Accurate transcriptions improve staff training, with live call transcription providing useful analytics and also improving customer experience. Text-to-speech provider Speechmatics writes that its systems cut call times by 7 seconds, which is a significant savings for high call volumes and allows agents to help more customers.
Fraud detection can also be enabled through self-service channels, for example by monitoring the rate at which users enter information such as a customer number or date of birth. Companies such as Pindrop are able to generate a voiceprint, analogous to a fingerprint, which can be used to protect customers and contact centers from fraudsters.
Undoubtedly, self-service offerings are changing the landscape of contact center solutions as the capabilities provided by automated digital tools continue to evolve. At the same time, as customers become more familiar with these tools and appreciate their benefits and as staff spend more time providing help and advice where it is needed most, the value of these systems is better understood.
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