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Call Center Automation: How to Prepare for the Future

An employee in a call center of the future, which is automated

Many customers interact with businesses solely through their call centers and contact centers, so it is extremely critical for businesses to improve that customer experience. Thankfully, this can be improved easily with call center automation.

Most call centers see productivity problems, resulting in long wait times, high call abandonment rates and poor average handle times. When things go awry with a call center employee, customers aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere. Some 76% of customers report that it’s easier than ever to switch service providers based on their experience. According to a NewVoice Media report, bad customer service costs U.S. businesses more than $75 billion a year, all from loss of customers. So how can automation help?

Reduce application switching and clicks

Nearly half of call center agents work with five or more tools to complete various call requests depending on the industry the call center serves. Shifting between applications to copy and paste data requires several clicks and window switches, which lengthens call handling time.

Robotic process automation (RPA) solutions allow agents to easily transfer data between systems without having to perform these tasks manually.

Imagine a call center employee for a commercial bank working on calls for lost or stolen credit cards. To complete an incoming request for a lost credit card an agent needs to work within the banks online portal, a CRM system and a third-party application to order the customer a new card. RPA can integrate all of the needed data and auto-populate missing fields. This includes the reason for card replacement, card number, mailing address, etc.

Repeat requests

Most incoming calls are repetitive and force agents into robotic, tedious processes. These types of processes bore people and waste their time. By automating the repetitive tasks, your employees save their time to handle calls that require more human capabilities like critical thinking and empathy.

Automation technology can integrate with your current systems and assist in completing processes seamlessly. For example, automations can pull data from one system to another after being easily triggered with the click of a button.

One use case for internet/cable service provider call centers is creating an appointment for onsite technical support and repairs. This requires manually scheduling the appointment and describing the technical issue for the technician after verifying the account information and the service cloud. An automation integration installed within the service cloud could easily create an appointment and transfer appointment details into a secondary system.

Post-call work

After most incoming calls, agents often have after call work (ACW), which can be tasks that complete the request or they may be required to input customer interactions into a CRM service system for tracking and relationship purposes. This work keeps agents from picking up new calls and increases customer wait time.

Automation can take care of ACW by inputting the call transcription into a CRM system on behalf of the agent or by triggering a specific action after a call request is completed.

For example, many call centers send a letter when a customer buys a new plan, or updates or deletes their service, which often follows a call by an agent. Automation can extract the information from the service cloud, autofill it within a letter template and submit it to a different team for mailing.

These are some of the general tasks that automation can perform in call centers, more specific use cases depend on the industry the call center serves and types of requests they get.

Why it matters

By 2020, the customer experience will surpass price and product as the key brand differentiator, meaning it’s more important than ever for companies to get their call centers operating efficiently.

Satisfied customers contribute 2.6x more revenue to the company. Customers that have a positive experience are more loyal and are more likely to refer/recommend your business to others. Improve your experience and drive more revenue to your business with automation.