Thank you for Subscribing to CIO Applications Weekly Brief
The Challenges Facing Call Centers
Bots and conversational assistants can help front-end chat sessions, answer questions, and reduce response times.
Fremont, CA: The pandemic that unfolded last year put contact centers to the challenge. They started working from home (WFH) almost immediately and faced an increase in customer service requests. While most rose to the task of dealing with the crowds, many are still grappling with tons of inquiries rising faster than they can handle a year later.
Here are three challenges facing call centers:
Digital to the Rescue
To raise the number of human encounters, businesses have switched to self-service and automation. Offering customers the opportunity to self-help on the web or via smartphone is the first step toward call avoidance. Searchable support centers and on-page assistance are part of today's advanced web self-service. Customers will get answers to all of their questions in one place without having to navigate a website or a smartphone app.
Businesses have implemented chat to provide contextual assistance, however, staffing is still a problem. Bots and conversational assistants can help front-end chat sessions, answer questions, and reduce response times. While this is a great move, the model only works if you offer accessibility to a human agent. Otherwise, consumers' efforts are wasted at the cost of their experience.
Voice self-service needs to be improved as well. IVRs now handles about half of all incoming calls and route a significant portion of the rest. Their ability to minimize calls to agents has been hampered by the time and effort they seek from consumers and the forced navigation across static menus.
Speech is now a well-known technology that improves interaction and reduces menu hierarchies, allowing for quicker access to options. Authentication is another proven technology that cuts down on time spent in IVRs and prevents consumers from replicating their painful experiences. Conversational AI can eventually be included in the voice channel. Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, allowing IVRs to push the boundaries of what is possible.
By concentrating on particular branches of voice applications or segments of callers, voice assistants may be implemented iteratively. More realistic dialogues have better deflection opportunities than today's voice messages that direct callers to a website. SMS is a vital deflection channel to consider since most people use cell phones.
Speech can be used in tandem with natural language processing to discover intents and tag calls, allowing for more accurate routing. Interactions that are tagged can be forwarded to the best-skilled agents that can handle them more quickly.
The major challenge in the initial stages of the WFH transition was setting up a remote work environment for officers. Most companies, though not all, were able to do so quickly. While the pandemic has minimized turnover, it has also increased the difficulty of recruiting, onboarding, and training. Overall, the situation has remained unchanged, leaving customer service with approximately the same agent power. Simultaneously, the steady rise in consumer inquiries continues. The problem began when customers inquired about COVID-related issues. Although the world has become more technologically inclined, human assistance is still needed for automated processes.