As technology advances, more repetitive rote functions will move to automation. Human agents are free to handle more advanced tasks. Nowhere is it more evident than in a call or contact center. The pandemic has made better and faster customer service a priority. Intelligent technology has helped companies keep pace.
A center that handles hundreds or even thousands of calls a day needs as much help as it can get. Longer hold times are annoying to a caller and increase customer dissatisfaction. Intelligent technology can improve both the customer’s experience and the employee’s workday when the calls become faster and more efficient.
What is “intelligent technology?”
It runs anything from assistive technology like predictive shopping, Roombas, and video doorbells to factory automation and military robotics. Intelligent technology and intelligent systems are designed to proactively respond to their environments and perform specific tasks as needed.
While intelligent systems can easily handle many tasks, some challenges make them imperfect. First, a system can only do what it’s programmed to do and nothing else. While artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology can help intelligent tech “think” and “learn,” it only responds to commands or its immediate environment and reacts accordingly. Intelligent technology hasn’t reached the level of human reasoning.
Why call/contact centers can benefit
One advantage of having this technology in a call/contact center is that it contributes to employee satisfaction and a more efficient workflow. By making the agent’s workday better, the customer experience is then greatly improved.
Moreover, despite fears that tech will take over everything, contact center technology isn’t designed to replace humans as it has in factory automation. Intelligent technology works alongside customer service agents to help them be more productive and engaging for a better customer experience.
Technology powered by AI can help callers with first-level help, such as account balances, due dates, flight times, and other frequently asked questions. If the caller needs more help, answering the prompts pulls up their records for the live agent that will eventually take their call.
In addition, when the agent answers the caller, the agent already knows with whom they are speaking. Agents have a customer’s record on their screen where they can find everything. The agent knows why they’re calling and what they need and is ready to help the caller. Customers get faster service, and agents can help with the correct information. This kind of service builds customer loyalty and retention and increases revenue.
IVR – Getting the caller to the right place
IVR, or interactive voice response, is the crux of many call/contact center systems. This is the automated system that answers a phone first and asks the caller questions. Going beyond “press one for sales,” IVR is programmed and equipped to interact with the caller in this sequence:
- The auto-attendant greets the caller, triggering the IVR
- The IVR initiates and offers the caller a menu of options
- The caller makes choices from the menu with a touch-tone dial pad. If the IVR has speech recognition, the caller can speak their choice
- The IVR may resolve the caller’s issue immediately without an agent. If not, the IVR will qualify the call based on the customer’s input.
- The call is then classified according to the request and matched with an agent through skill-based routing. Once the system identifies the agents with the correct skillset to handle the caller’s issue, it routes the call to them.
These transitions happen quickly and seamlessly. The caller doesn’t hear them but gets assistance from the IVR’s self-help menu or a live agent. Callers may not even spend time on hold in the future.
Additional benefits of intelligent technology
Better and faster customer experiences aren’t the only reason to have intelligent technology in a call/contact center. These systems send information directly to agents so that they can offer multiple solutions. This same technology has additional benefits such as:
Chatbots are one of the fastest ways for a customer to get answers without being on the phone. A chatbot helps a customer without an agent and reduces call volume for routine help requests. Agents can focus on more complicated issues, such as when a standard solution isn’t working.
Emotional intelligence is where the IVR can distinguish between a customer who is simply making an inquiry and an angry, frustrated customer. It can measure the tone of voice and style of speech to detect a customer’s mood while advising the agent via popup messages.
Natural Language Understanding (NLU)
Natural Language Understanding (NLU) can understand and translate most of what it “hears” and turn that into information for the agent. Sentiment analysis is part of NLU. It can pick up on statements such as “I want to cancel my account.” The system can send data points to the agent with personalized solutions such as cancellation.
Call analytics give agents and supervisors more comprehensive insight into customer trends, call times, resolutions, and other relevant points. The system gathers feedback and multiple data points in real-time, rather than just from observation by a supervisor.
Are your agents noticing trends in their calls? Are they receiving a high number of complaints about the same issue? Intelligent technology can give you more than just casual notice. You can quickly uncover important information about your customers from their calls. You can identify the source of complaint calls to proactively resolve the problem and stem the flow of additional calls. This tech can help you assess individual customer profiles and identify customers who are at a high risk of churning and customers who might be interested in upgrading.
In conclusion, companies can continually improve their customer communications as intelligent technology continues to improve. Happier customers and employees and more efficient call handling are just some of the many ways call and contact centers can better their business and continue to grow.
Contact Press8 Telecom today to discuss upgrading your small business phone system to a new, flexible VoIP system for less money than a traditionally hosted PBX system. Talk to us, and we’ll give you a free quote on the system that works for your company.