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Reducing Cost per Call in Contact Center while Improving Customer Service — with Voice AI

by admin

The number one cost driver in any contact center is human resource expense, and it’s also the one you can best optimize. But is there a way to reduce contact center costs and improve customer service at the same time?

Here we’ll discuss some of the best ways to implement conversational voice AI in contact centers, enhance efficiency, reduce staff requirements and cost per call.

And for the interactions that do require human agent expertise, let’s look at how conversational voice AI helps handle them with fewer agents and yet deliver exceptional phone support experiences.

So, how exactly do you calculate the cost per call?

Cost per call is a contact center metric for the total cost associated with handling all calls during a specific period. The cost varies depending on whether the contact center is in-house or outsourced.

It is essential to consider all the factors that add to the total expense in the in-house contact center. The first step is defining the period, that is, hour, day, month, year, etc., you wish to calculate cost per call.

Next, calculate the total contact center costs associated with the given period.

  • Location costs — office space rent
  • Employee costs — Salaries of agents, supervisors, managers
  • Technology costs — Software licenses, business tools, and telephony
  • Training costs — Hiring and training the resources to get on board and handle the call

Finally, to get the total cost per call, you must divide the total cost for the period by the total number of calls handled.

Now, let’s look at how to augment your contact center efficiency with conversational voice AI.

Reduce Cost per Call with Voice Automation and Conversational AI

Web, mobile apps, and chatbots make it easy for customers to self-serve. However, phone and voice remain the dominant channel for support, keeping call volumes high and escalating contact center costs. Of all support calls, 40% are routine, repetitive queries and do not require a human agent’s inputs.

The AI-powered, autonomous virtual voice agents can handle such calls end-to-end intelligently without requiring an agent to step in. It can authenticate users, answer their questions, and even send data to your CRM to execute follow-on tasks.

As per Harvard Business Review, the cost of self-service interaction with technology like voice AI is negligible, while the average cost of a live service interaction runs between $7 and $13.

Let’s consider that an insurance provider handles one million human agent-assisted calls per year and annually spends $7 million on the contact center expenses. The human agent-assisted cost per call comes down to:

$7,000,000  operating costs / 1,000,000 calls = $7.

By resolving routine queries end-to-end using an autonomous voice agent, calls routed to customer service reps decrease by 40%. This reduces the number of employees required for the same volume of calls, significantly cutting down the operational costs. Assuming contact center now spends $3.5 million annually to manage one million calls, cost per call is simply $3.5:

$3,000,000  operating costs / 1,000,000 calls = $3.5.

Human agents vs. AI-powered virtual voice agent

  • Virtual agents don’t have the overhead costs like wages, benefits, and cost of hiring and training
  • Virtual agents operate 24/7, without requiring time off for sickness, holidays, weather conditions, or crisis
  • Virtual agents need to be trained only once, and then artificial intelligence and machine learning play their part to train the agents based on live call experiences
  • In times of peak season and crises, AI-powered virtual agents can manage high-velocity use cases and handle volume spikes seamlessly, without increasing live-agent headcount and compromising on the customer experience

Deliver superior customer support experience

Augmenting contact center operations with cutting-edge AI technology not only enables businesses to save on operational costs but also improve the customer experience that they deliver

  1. Customers can state their query directly in natural language, without the need to navigate a convoluted IVR menu
  2. There is zero wait time and no deflection to other channels or human agents as AI-powered virtual voice agents provide end-to-end resolutions
  3. Customer issues are resolved on the first call itself, improving FCR rates and increasing customer satisfaction
  4. In the case where human expertise is required, a virtual voice agent eliminates misrouting and transfers the call to the right live agent
  5. These AI-powered voice agents are available 24/7 to attend to customer issues

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