Contact Center Automation: Top Trends in 2024

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Contact Center teams are often the busiest departments in an organization. Customer service agents must promptly respond to customers asking various questions through multiple communication channels.

While automation is part of every business process, it is especially valuable in the contact center. Contact center automation tools help to drive efficiency and effectiveness of your agents.

What is contact center automation?

Contact center automation is the use of technology to automate common tasks performed by human agents.

Customer service teams should leverage automation tools in a contact center so that they can improve efficiency. By using these tools, they can ultimately offer customers a higher level of service.

3 key benefits of contact center automation

There are many automation tools that you can leverage within a contact center. However, it’s important to understand why they are becoming increasingly popular.
Here are three main reasons why:

1. Reduces human error and delivers consistent customer experiences

As we know, contact centers are often fast paced. Agents are human beings, so human errors are no surprise in a contact center. When we are required to do something over and over again, mistakes are bound to happen.

These days, contact center technology has advanced and enabled us to perform tasks more effectively with automated tools that can eliminate human error and offer consistent experiences for customers. For example, they can automatically populate customer information based on caller ID or previous interactions. With these tools, your organization can ensure accuracy and consistency in customer data across all interactions

2. Offers revenue generating opportunities

Contact centers used to be seen as cost centers, meaning they support revenue-generating activities but do not generate revenue themselves. These days, contact centers, with the help of automation, are shifting from cost centers to places that can help reduce costs and generate opportunities for revenue. With automation tools, agents can be better prepared to upsell and personalize customer service.

Additionally, automation tools such as bots offer round-the-clock customer support. Chatbots do not require additional staffing for night shifts or weekends, thereby optimizing agents’ use of time for more complex tasks and minimizing expenses.

3. Better use of resources

Automation tools save agents’ time from doing manual, repetitive tasks. This is where automation can truly make a difference. Automation can free agents time so they can do their jobs more effectively and you can deploy your agents in the areas where they’re needed most.

For example, leveraging self-service options such as interactive voice response (IVR) systems or chatbots allows customers to resolve simple inquiries without agent assistance, reducing the overall workload on contact center staff.

Top contact center automation tools in 2024

Contact center automation tools can streamline and simplify many customer service processes. Here are the latest automation tools that organizations are using today to improve their customer service in 2024.

Trend #1: AI chatbots

According to Gartner, by 2027, AI chatbots will become the primary customer service channel for roughly a quarter of organizations. AI chatbots are software applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate human-like conversations. They deliver natural conversations and user experiences by employing conversational AI technologies.

AI chatbots automatically respond to customers (just like a human agent would) but without a human involved.

Here are some ways different industries are using AI chatbots as an automation tool for their contact center.

Logistics and Manufacturing: AI Chatbots can help customers track their orders by providing real-time updates on shipping status and estimated delivery times.

Healthcare: AI chatbots can assist patients in scheduling appointments with healthcare providers, checking availability, and even rescheduling appointments if necessary.

Retail: AI chatbots can analyze customer preferences and purchase history to offer personalized product recommendations, enhancing the shopping experience and increasing sales opportunities.

Trend #2: Speech Analytics

We all know that customer service teams work in a fast-paced environment with little downtime. It’s impossible for them to analyze every interaction under these conditions. But with speech analytics, they can. Many contacts centers today leverage speech analytics to understand their customers’ needs. According to McKinsey and Company, Speech analytics can drive cost savings of up to 30% and improve customer satisfaction scores by 10%.

Speech analytics is an automation tool that analyzes an interaction after a call. Speech analytics assesses a customer’s sentiment to identify the quality of the interaction and automatically label these interactions. By analyzing these interactions, customer service teams can identify emerging trends in conversations and respond effectively.

Here are a couple of ways different industries are using speech analytics in their contact center.

Credit Unions and Banking Institutions: Speech analytics can analyze customer calls in financial institutions to detect fraud, compliance violations, and unusual account activity. It can also identify customer inquiries and complaints, helping to improve customer service and compliance.

Insurance: Speech analytics can analyze customer calls in the insurance industry to identify fraudulent caller, compliance issues, and customer satisfaction levels. It can also assist in claims processing by automatically extracting relevant information from customer calls.

Sales and Marketing Department: Speech analytics can analyze sales calls to identify successful sales techniques, customer objections, and product preferences. This information can be used to optimize sales strategies, tailor marketing campaigns, and improve lead conversion rates.

Trend #3: Outbound Dialer

Outbound dialer is a call center tool that automatically places outgoing calls to users. Instead of waiting for customers to call in, outbound dialers proactively reach out to them. These outgoing communications are managed without the need of a human agent, freeing up valuable time and resources for the call center.

Once the outbound dialer connects with a person, it can route the call to an available agent, play pre-recorded messages, or execute other programmed actions.

Outbound dialers help contact centers manage outgoing communications, streamline operations, and maximize agent productivity by automating the process of reaching out to customers.

Here are a couple of ways outbound dialers are being used within various industries:

Emergency Notifications: Public safety agencies, government organizations, and educational institutions use outbound dialers to broadcast emergency alerts and notifications during natural disasters, security threats, or other critical events. Outbound dialers can quickly reach many people and provide them with important information and instructions.

Appointment Reminders: Healthcare providers, clinics, and dental practices use outbound dialers to remind patients of upcoming appointments and confirm scheduling details. Automated appointment reminders help improve patient attendance and reduce no-show rates.

Sales/Lead Opportunities: In industries such as retail, insurance, and telecommunications, outbound dialers are used for sales prospecting, lead generation, and cold calling. They can efficiently dial a large volume of numbers, connect sales representatives with potential customers, and automate follow-up calls.

Trend #4: Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Interactive voice response (IVR) refers to a contact center tool that is designed to automate interactions by allowing callers to navigate through menus and perform certain actions. IVR systems use pre-recorded voice prompts and menus to guide callers through self-service options such as retrieving information, making selections, or routing themselves to the appropriate department without the need for agent assistance.

IVR systems are primarily focused on self-service and routing incoming calls efficiently based on caller input.

Here are some ways that IVRs are typically used as an automation tool in contact centers:

Call Routing: IVRs are used to route incoming calls to the appropriate department or agent based on the caller’s input. Callers are presented with a series of options through pre-recorded voice prompts or touch-tone keypad input, allowing them to choose the service or department they require. For example, “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for support, press 3 for billing,” etc. This automated call routing ensures that callers are directed to the right destination without needing manual intervention from agents.

Self-Service Options: IVRs offer self-service functionalities that allow callers to perform common tasks without speaking to a live agent. These tasks may include checking account balances, making payments, updating account information, scheduling appointments, or tracking orders. By automating these routine inquiries, IVRs help reduce call volume and free up agents to handle more complex issues.

Contextual Data Collection: IVRs can collect and gather important customer data and preferences during the call flow. For example, IVRs can prompt callers to provide account numbers, order IDs, or other relevant information before transferring them to an agent. This information is then passed on to the agent, enabling them to provide personalized and efficient service.

Conclusion

Automation in contact centers helps organizations optimize their existing operations, elevate the customer experience, and drive business growth in an increasingly digital and competitive landscape.

Stay ahead of the competition in 2024 by making sure that these contact center automation tools are integrated into your customer service strategy.

Interested in learning more? Speak to an expert on how you can integrate automation into your contact center.

With all the talk about automation, it is also important to keep a balance between automation and human agents in your contact center. Learn how you can maintain a human touch while also embracing customer service automation.

Kent Mao
I'm a project manager at ComputerTalk, a contact center provider based in Toronto. I'm passionate about customer experience and technology, and how they intersect in today's digital age.

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