Call Center Automation: How to Improve your Customer Experience
Many customers solely interact with businesses through their call centers so it is extremely critical for businesses to improve the customer experience. Thankfully, this can be done 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. This has less to do with the productivity of the agents but more the inefficiency of their processes.
Customers aren’t afraid to take their business elsewhere — 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.
Agents average about 50 calls per day, which causes many call centers to become a high-stress work environment. These agents typically have erratic work shifts, few breaks, strict metrics and the occasional angry customer to deal with.
This type of environment leads to high turnover rates and high absenteeism among agents. The average employee turnover rate in call centers is between 30 to 45% (compared to the national average for all industries being ~15%). The average rate for agents to call out sick is 11%.
With fewer agents picking up the phones, the longer customers have to wait and the worse the experience is. Bad experiences give customers an easy excuse to switch providers and for companies to lose revenue.
So how can automation help?
The call center handling process is filled with inefficiencies that impact the customer experience, which automation can easily improve.
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 the call handle 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.
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.
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.
The impact of call center automation on KPIs
Automation positively affects call center KPIs by:
- Reducing customer wait times or time in queue
- Optimizing call handle times
- Improving first call resolution rate
- Meeting and exceeding service level agreements
- Cutting down the percentage of blocked calls and call abandonment rate
- Decreasing average after call work
- Obtaining higher net promoter scores
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.