Creating a seamless customer journey using both automation and agents - IP Integration - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
There’s been a lot of scaremongering lately about how we’ll all be out of jobs in a few years and replaced by robots. In fact, a few weeks ago, I spoke on a Call Centre Helper webinar on exactly that topic.
For the Contact Centre industry the scaremongering is ripe – with the rise in automation people have been fearing the worst. However, robots aren’t all bad and can actually help you to improve your call flows, customer service and first call resolutions, as well as cutting cost; but, before you go all out in what you think will be a massive cost saving exercise and replace agents with IVRs, you need think about your customer journey and what is best for your business.
Why are you considering automation?
You should know why you want to introduce automated processes into your Contact Centre. How will they benefit the customer? If it isn’t going to make it easier and quicker for the customer to get to the information they need, then forget it.
Creating a balance
The best use of automation in the Contact Centre enables faster resolution of customer issues. Use the automation for skills-based routing to get the customer to the right agent first time. Know when and where the best place is to deploy automation and customer issue resolution will be quicker and won’t generate repeat calls into your Contact Centre. This is best highlighted by giving you an example of how it works in a bank – when all you need is your bank balance, it’s easier and quicker for it to be delivered to you via an automated process than using valuable agent time which can be used to help people with complex mortgage enquiries, for example.
Make sure the agent has all the information they need
Good automation also ensures agents are presented with all the information they need when they take the call. There’s no point putting a customer through a complicated IVR process where they’re pressing buttons and using speech recognition, only for them to have to repeat themselves when they get to an agent. We’ve all been there and it’s very frustrating.
It’s also the vital that the agent is fully aware of the full journey your customer is being taken on from start to finish to avoid repetition or confusion for the customers.
Make sure the customer is completely clear about their journey
Customers are happy to use IVR technology, as long as they’re kept informed of what’s going to happen to them and they see the speed of service increase. It’s when they have to put in avoidable extra effort that everything falls apart – so again, good planning is essential.
Think about what happens when it breaks
Yes, robots are unemotional and don’t take days off, but we all know that technology has its moments and breaks down from time to time. It’s critical you plan for this and have a Disaster Recovery strategy to fall back on so that customers aren’t left with no service at all.
Clever, engaging, reactive and experienced – now that’s a customer journey
Automation is great, but it must be used in conjunction with the experience and empathy that humans bring to customer service. It seems obvious to say, but it’s surprising how many forget, that the most appropriate use of automation is for the simple tasks, in order to leave Contact Centre teams to deal with those customers that have complex queries and need a sympathetic ear. Even in manufacturing, where robots are becoming more prevalent, Mercedes-Benz has started reintroducing humans, as it’s realised the robots aren’t up to the more complex tasks.
Think of them not as robots but as co-bots – working together with humans to deliver exceptional customer service.
Publish Date: March 7, 2016 5:00 AM
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