AI Customer Service

5 Ways Conversational AI is Transforming Contact Centers

by admin

Today, automation is everywhere –be it ordering food, baggage check-in, hotel reservation, doctor’s appointment, or more. The customer service industry is no exception.

Developments in technology continue to change customer service interactions. In the next 2 years, experts suggest that more than 85% of all customer interactions will be without employing human agents.

However, it is a rather tough time to manage contact centers – the struggle to keep up the overall efficiency of the contact center and team morale is more than ever.

Contact center efficiency across the globe is being bogged down primarily by two aspects – more so in these trying times:

  • On an average 6-minute customer service call, about 75% of an agent’s time goes into manual research and responding to repetitive calls. Valued customer interaction is at a dismal 25%
  • Low first-call resolution of customer issues resulting in higher customer abandonment rates and a significant decrease in CSAT scores

As the head of a contact center, you may well be aware that conversational AI – voice bots, chatbots, and automated self-service technologies – free up call center employees from routine tier-1 support requests so they can focus on more complex tasks. What else does conversational AI offer?

A complete, end-to-end customer service delivery with conversational AI makes way for greater loyalty, positive brand reputation, and new revenue streams to forward-thinking businesses.

Listed here are 5 ways in which conversational AI is transforming contact centers. We hope this can really help you make better decisions. Read on!

1. Pre-emptive action

Conversational AI brings in the ability to fix customer service issues before they happen. It could pointedly reduce customer abandonment rates in the buying cycle, while at the same time reduce customer complaints and improve CSAT scores.

Conversational AI-led automation can deliver the kind of responsiveness that can not be achieved by humans. In the coming years, virtual assistants will predict what customers need by understanding how they are interacting with a brand. This will enable virtual assistants to deliver responses even before your customers know that they have queries!

2. The shift towards voice

Arguments and discussions on which of the two is more advantageous have been persistent. Preferences for both voice and chatbots are mostly industry and geo-specific. While chat is convenient for emerging markets, voice continues to be the largest contact channel preferred by users in geographies like North America and Europe.

It has been estimated that more than 80% of businesses today have automated their customer service conversations in some way.

Chatbots have played a major role in this and, given the rise of advanced speech recognition technologies, voicebots are fast gaining traction to become the most chosen customer self-service tool.

Unlike interacting with text-based chatbots, which can regularly feel like communicating with a machine, interacting with a conversational voice assistant can feel more human-like, similar to conversing with a friend, making the experience personalized and engaging. Voice assistants provide quick responses and significantly reduce the checkout time.

In the customer service context, voicebots undeniably benefit in terms of speed and immediacy, helping users avoid typing their questions or requests. On average, we type 53.5 words per minute, whereas we can speak around 161 words per minute—over three times the number of words we can type! Hence, voicebots live up to the promise of engaging in real-time customer service interactions with very little or no downtime.

When it comes to autonomy, voicebots are basically customer self-service tools. It reduces the number of contacts to customer service agents. It also greatly helps customers with special needs — for instance, those who cannot read small type font on a screen can get information in the simplest ways possible.

3. Train them just once

Staff recruitment and training take a lot of time and money.

On average, it costs $4000 or more to hire one call center agent and about $4,800 or more to train them.

These costs tend to grow quickly with staff attrition – a common call center problem. Conversational AI can offer huge time and cost savings – it provides agents with the resources they need to successfully deliver good customer service. An autonomous virtual voice agent enables end-to-end automation as it comes pre-programmed with industry knowledge and use-cases. Better yet, it needs to be trained just once.

This is remarkably powerful – such customer service platforms free up employees from the task of responding to routine support requests. They can focus on the more interesting and challenging tasks that support the complex needs of customers.

4. ‘Always-on’ and reliable self-service

Automated customer service gives businesses the ability to resolve issues as soon as they arise – irrespective of time zones or public holidays.  This means customers don’t have to seek support only during office hours or wait in line for a response. This greatly impacts customer satisfaction scores and churn. It also enhances valuable brand reputation and trust – showing that brands care about customers.

A Zendesk study says that 42% of customers purchased more when they are presented with a good customer service experience.

52% stopped buying after just one bad customer service instance.

Also, 66% of customers globally prefer self-service including FAQs, forums, and online chat or bot services over engaging with a contact center representative. Conversational AI caters to the customers’ expectations of a self-service experience that is flawless and effortless.

Self-service only means that humans can be put to better use

Answering redundant questions like store timings or product availability can be taken care of by virtual assistants, while human agents can focus more on delivering real value. Human representatives can handle critical tasks like actionable customer service or respond to sensitive customer inquiries.

Conversational AI does the heavy lifting when it comes to complex queries that are escalated to human agents. By the time the call lands at a human agent’s desk, all the information needed is already captured, to resolve the query.

5. Cost efficiency and limitless scalability

Efficiency is the supreme quality in this industry, so it is not surprising that call centers want to do away with outdated IVR systems and let the power of AI run most of the show. Generally, an IVR system provides a list of items with scripted responses and predetermined outcomes.

An IBM study says that an average of 30 minutes dedicated to customer support calls between a customer and an agent is wasted due to ineffective IVR and longer wait times.

Also, 50% of all calls go unresolved because most customers hang up, owing to this wait time thinking that the agents won’t be able to resolve their issue anyway. This makes incorporating AI technology crucial in increasing first contact resolution.

Voice AI in the customer experience space can mean a lot of savings in terms of time and money. It enables to drastically reduce the average call handling time and operational costs while increasing satisfaction and engagement rates.

The ROI and cost efficiency that voice AI brings to the table are huge – For instance, a company that decides to outsource to an offshore call center can probably save big by implementing an AI-based voice assistant to handle all the low-level queries, instead of outsourcing. All the money that’s saved can be invested in high-quality training for staff to deal with more complex and, more valuable issues.

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