How Automating Contact Centers Will Boost Customer Experience

Countless challenges, including the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, cybersecurity, weather catastrophes, and fewer available customer support agents, have plagued customer experience (CX) in recent years. Unfortunately, the new wave of COVID cases dashes the hope of a fresh start for 2022. Realizing that many of these challenges are here to stay, customer service leaders are turning to technology.

artificial intelligence-based automation, in particular, will play a critical role in shaping company customer service strategies in 2022, and the timing couldn't be better. Adding AI has been shown to generate up to a 59 percent decrease in operational costs while 75 percent of consumers spend more money with companies that offer it. AI-based automation also enables companies to offer more efficient and responsive customer support experiences, giving customers the quick and accurate help they need while eliminating ever-increasing hold times.

Here's what you need to know about how AI automation can drive positive changes in CX:

Autonomous contact centers create a more productive support team.

As companies battle agent churn and struggle to hire and train new talent, support agents on staff are being overwhelmed by call volume. This causes customer service to suffer due to lengthy customer wait times and impatient agents once their calls are answered. One way to solve this issue? Automate repetitive and high-volume calls with conversational AI to relieve agents from monotonous calls that lead to disengagement and burnout.

As AI grabs Tier-1 calls, customers become more satisfied as their calls are resolved quickly, and if they need an agent, a more responsive and patient agent will wait on the other side. This leaves agents to apply their creativity and problem-solving skills to more complex cases. Interesting work leads to more engaged agents, and happier agents will go the extra mile with customers. Engaged agents are also more likely to stay with their company and are a key link to both company reputation and customer satisfaction.

Scaling and implementation are no longer stumbling blocks.

Companies that use AI-based automation in their support teams won't have as many initial issues with business growth. Shifting use cases in the new year? It's easy to scale conversational design best practices specific to any use case or industry. Have an unexpected spike in call volume? This technology makes it possible to scale your call center instantly to meet the extra demand. Furthermore, updating AI's scripts for new products or issues takes less time than training the entire team of support agents.

AI-based automation helps support teams become more efficient.

The addition of automation helps customer service teams increase efficiency, decrease costs, improve accuracy, and drive customer satisfaction. This addition to support teams also aids in creating a better customer experience. According to recent research by Replicant,74 percent of consumers surveyed said they would be willing to pay an extra $15.72 on average to avoid poor customer service. This frees up agents to provide personalized service, solve complex issues, and build customer relationships.

To have support teams that are efficient, the AI assisting the team needs to measure up to the caliber of a top-tier agent. With fast, accurate, and contextual conversational AI, customers can get their issues resolved on the first contact. Calls with AI can actually be 30 percent to 50 percent shorter than with live agents. In the event that customers have more complex questions that need to be escalated, live agents are sent all the detailed information up front, enabling them to jump in and help customers seamlessly.

Lastly, thinking machines respond to calls immediately with 24/7 service, eliminating hold times completely. After-hours support for customers is no longer an issue or unavailable.

Customers receive a more personalized customer service experience with automated contact centers.

There are two very different types of AI that can support a customer service department. An intelligent virtual agent (IVA) is AI that uses machine learning and natural language processing to interact with customers, answer questions, and resolve issues. While traditional, rule-based bots are based on pre-programmed responses and can't understand context or intent. Unlike rule-based bots, intelligent virtual agents can understand intent, harness vast amounts of data to provide personalized service, and automate manual tasks.

Today, modern thinking machines provide an experience that is just as productive as speaking to live agents. AI-based automation can offer conversations with customers with less than one second of latency, making the conversation flow naturally without pauses and long delays. And since customers generally prefer to solve their issues over the phone, they appreciate first-touch resolution with no hold times.

By augmenting live agents with AI-based automation, companies will see both higher customer satisfaction due to faster service times and reduced costs with staffing. Juniper Research even predicts that AI is expected to save businesses up to $8 billion per year. Voice AI technology works faster, is more accurate, and is cost effective. Having an automated contact center will not only make customer support teams more efficient, but also increase customer satisfaction at the same time.

Gadi Shamia is CEO and co-founder of Replicant.