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Article : The Future of Humans in Contact Centres?

#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions

Robots, bots, chat bots, intelligent or virtual assistants are just very sophisticated forms of self-service and we all know that self-service is here to stay. The younger generation, in particular, is quick to embrace a self-serve environment and typically find virtual agents entertaining and interesting. So where does that leave humans in contact centres?

It’s everywhere

Look around you, every kind of robot is out there. Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Alexa are in competition to prove who is smartest and are both voice-enabled wireless speakers, which can answer questions, play music, control smart home devices and even read the news. It is all about low effort and similar devices are proving to be extremely popular. Coming back to UK shores, Enfield Council has used Amelia to transform its cost to serve. New knowledge can be automatically captured and categorised whenever Amelia has to escalate unresolved enquiries to live assistance. It’s fair to say robots have carved out a great opportunity for contact centres to reduce live assistance of inbound volumes leading to huge savings in time and support costs.


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Fortunately, cloud-based contact centre solutions are rapidly catching up by bringing together the latest developments in automation, self-service, intelligent routing and integration on a single platform to deliver a truly modern customer experience.

As the next step in the evolution of self-service, robots are becoming an important part of today’s multi-channel contact centre environment, but will they ever take over completely? They certainly have their fair share of good points but much depends on the needs of your customers and on your organisational set-up. Here we present both sides of the argument:

Pros

  • 24/7 access – customers can ask questions at 2am and get an immediate answer without waiting for the contact centre to open at 9am.

  • Your own virtual butler - the truth is that robots and intelligent assistants are fast revolutionising the mundane tasks in our daily lives. They are rather like having your own virtual butler. They can order lunch, a taxi, set up meetings, shop and book flights and in the same way removed routine enquiries from contact centres.

  • Real-world business benefits - some industries, such as insurance, are experimenting with conversational personal assistants to automate claims management. Today’s contact centre solutions, offering superior automation, advanced self-service and intelligent routing capabilities – are making it all a reality. At the same time, they have the power to boost productivity whilst reducing the need for additional headcount, always an attractive business proposition.

  • Capture the hearts, minds and purse strings of the younger generation - as technology advances, so too does its application and popularity, especially among the tech-savvy younger generation. A well-designed virtual agent can feel like a real live agent. Given a face and even a name, they boost the customer experience and strengthen brand loyalty. When it comes to attracting tomorrow’s potential big-spenders, robots are a smart move.

  • Effective on boarding tool – new and training agents can hit the ground running because they have instant access to accurate information they can use to answer customers enquiries all courtesy of artificial intelligence or machine-to-machine learning.

Cons

  • Image – virtual agents can appear a little trite, especially in B2B industries where customers often expect a more formal, conventional approach to branding and customer interaction, they can be cause for irritation or a complete turn-off for older customers.

  • There will always be a need for the human touch - which even the most sophisticated advances in technology can never provide. This is especially true of organisations with a higher than average mix of complex enquiries on emotional subjects such as housing or health. Some sectors might wish to consider retaining more human advisors to accommodate their customers’ specific needs and conduct sensitive conversations
  • Risk alienating an older, faithful generation - the same applies to servicing the communications preferences of certain customer demographics, particularly the less technology-confident older generation. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense to dismiss the spending power of the silver pound let alone alienate a huge section of many companies’ loyal customer base.


The best of both worlds

Success lies in being all things to all people. Using the latest multichannel cloud contact solutions means advisors have the ability to handle enquiries from all channels. Clever integration with major customer relationship management (CRM) applications enable personalised enquiry handling and queue prioritisation. Giving advisors the right tools to handle customers based on their own judgement improves customer loyalty and delivers the quality of service that all customers deserve and expect.

Ultimately, contact centre leaders should blend the benefits of self-service and virtual agents with the human touch to meet the needs of customers, advisors and the overall business.
#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions


About Thomas Rødseth:
Thomas has worked in the telco sector in Europe for over 20 years, including companies such as O2 and Telenor. He has a background in managing large contact centres, employing more than 1,000 agents, giving him first-hand experience of trying to achieve operational efficiencies whilst delivering a great customer experience.

About Puzzel:
Company LogoPuzzel (formerly Intelecom) builds on 20 years’ heritage. It was one of the first pioneers to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Puzzel also encompasses leading mobile messaging and mobile payments to deliver a flexible and customisable customer interaction platform to meet the needs of today’s omni-channel and mobile environments. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Puzzel employs over 130 people who are all passionate about delivering innovative customer interaction solutions for contact centres and mobile environments.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Do Your Agents Have All The Right Tools?

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Automation

 
1.) 
Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

2.) 
Auraya

EVA Voice Biometrics
Powered by Auraya's patented ArmorVox engine, EVA is a voice biometric extension that provides secure and seamless identification & verification capabilities for Amazon Connect. EVA provides delightful customer experience by removing the friction of providing PINs, passwords or secret information in order to prove caller identity. EVA comes standard with active and passive modes and a simple yet powerful agent interface. This allows for personalised self-service and a more friendly and efficient experience when interacting with an agent.

Outdated security methods such as PINs, passwords and security questions have become insecure and unreliable. Forgetting passwords and security answers o...
(read more)

3.) 
Consilium Software

Consilium UniCloud™
UniCloud™ is an intuitive platform that allows Enterprises to deploy and manage their Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Center (CC) services with ease and entire provisioning can be completed in seconds using this comprehensive tool supporting digital transformation. The latest release 7.0 of UniCloud™ is a multi-tenant platform that transforms the delivery, management, and integration of collaboration and contact center solutions, for both Cloud and On-Premise deployment models.
With its single-pane-of-glass views and quick provisioning tool, UniCloud™ is instrumental in reducing the time to provision an entire multi-cluster Cisco collaboration platform, including contact centers (C...
(read more)

4.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain Solve
Proven, Easy, and Guided Journey to Automate Customer Engagement in a Digital+AI World

5.) 
Emmersion

Automated Language Testing
Emmersion offers automated assessments to quickly and accurately test speaking, writing, and grammar fluency in 9 languages and counting. We help contact centers improve CSAT scores by screening for top talent and retaining top performers.

6.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED & PLUS
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Perfor...
(read more)
 

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