Remember call centres? Bustling hubs of phone chatter that contained the dreams of future senior leaders and the tears of employees that just couldn’t handle the pace of inbound calls, not to mention the complaints, successes and situations brought by customers at the other end of the phone lines! Well… check out those call centres today and you’ll find something completely different in their place: the contact centre.
What’s the difference between a call and a contact centre you may ask? Easy. A contact centre is a floor for all inbound and outbound contact between, whereas a call centre just focused on conversation through the ol’ dog and bone. But with so many channels to focus on - it’s now become a different beast to manage, resource and structure.
Now, even though it’s 2022 and we are still way behind the Cyberdyne predictions of the 80’s (we can just assume John Connor was successful in taking out Skynet at its source), you’d actually be surprised just how far AI has come on. In fact, below are 5 ways you can use AI to send your contact centre into the future:
#1 Reducing Average Handling Times (AHT) ⏱️
One of the problems with making your company so accessible through a multi-channel approach is that it can have a knock-on effect when it comes to handling times. Think of it like this, if you’ve now got 25% more queries that are arriving instantly, your individual agents are more than likely juggling multiple queries at any one time - and taking much longer to do it! Stats can look scary on the surface, with percentages of consumers expecting speedy replies climbing higher every day, but never fear, there is a way AI can help you make these seem laughable.
The best way to reduce handling times is to install AI to act as a filter on your inbound queries. Using a Chatbot, you can remove manual account verification processes to a simple question and answer form, as well as plug your knowledge base articles and FAQ banks directly into the tech, so it can answer straightforward requests without ever hitting your agents. With more time to breathe for your agents, it should give them the focus to answer more complex queries quickly and efficiently. Average Handling Times officially reduced!
#2 Increasing First Contact Resolution (FCR) 🤝
As a customer, have you ever been passed from pillar to post to find someone who has the answer to your question? Well, we have, and it’s frustrating to say the least. But AI can help you with this too. Imagine a world where your AI Chatbot is evolving quicker than your agents, and never forgetting anything. Once your technical information, popular queries, and knowledge base are linked - every time you update information for new products, or in line with new regulations, your AI will learn it by heart in an instant and start communicating it with your customers. Similar to the reduction in handling time, this means that a chunk of your customers will never even make it to your agents, increasing your First Contact Resolution. Voilà!
#3 Reducing Operational costs 💰
Sure, every business operates differently, but we can only assume that, if you’re sticking to the right side of the law, you’re actually paying your agents to answer queries. With that hopefully being the case, an implementation of AI that saves you time by reducing Average Handling Times and increasing First Contact Resolution should save your operational costs too. We’re not saying that computers are replacing people… yet, but we are saying that cost can be directly attributed to the time it takes an agent, or a group of agents, to answer a query - and if you can reduce that time, or remove it entirely for a percentage of queries, you’re going to start seeing some savings of that sweet green cheddar.
It’s not just that either, the cost of training new agents to man lines and channels can be high, not to mention the personnel costs you’re used to incurring. Remember Chatbots are never ill and they don’t appreciate annual leave in the same way as us humans!
#4 Enhancing CX ✅
Customer experience is everything in today’s society, it’s a buyer's market after all! Tech like Chatbots are a great way to give the appearance that your contact centre is open 24/7 - even if it’s not! AI never sleeps, which means it can be answering inbound queries whenever your customers need you, whether they're night owls, or even if they span across different time zones. Plus, if you're freeing up budget by saving on operational costs (as above), you can even reallocate it to enhance your CX further through other methods!
Looks are super important too, and customers like to feel at home while in your digital space. With Orlo’s Chatbot, in particular, you can tailor aesthetics to match your brand, bringing seamlessly integrated great tech into your site or platform. Smoke and mirrors maybe, but simply making that extra bit of effort could be the difference between good and bad CX!
#5 Raising agent morale 😊
We’ve talked a lot about AI improving metrics and using Chatbots to take roles away from your agents. But going back to our first point, computers are not taking over the world, and right now they can actually alleviate tedious and monotonous tasks, reducing repetition in the workplace. Let us explain…
Take this scenario for instance. One of your longest-serving agents, Barry, has become disgruntled when answering the same old questions. Physically, there is nothing that you can do to stop these queries coming in - in fact, you’d actually be doing a disservice to your customers if you didn’t give them the opportunity to get great help. Traditionally, you’d probably have no choice but to go down the put up or shut up route with old Barry, which could have an effect on his mental health, or worse… With AI Chatbots, you can completely fix this problem, for after Barry is reassured that the machines aren’t stealing his job, he can start to reap the benefits for himself too! The tedious questions that used to grind his gears are now dealt with via Chatbot, allowing him to concentrate on a variety of more complex queries. Barry feels happy, enriched and valuable again, more motivated than he has been in years in fact!
Wrap it up 🌯
Hopefully, if you’re not already utilising a Chatbot function in your contact centre, we may have inspired you to look a little further into it. At Orlo, our own Chatbot does all the above and more, as we’ve worked tirelessly to create a piece of tech with contact centres in mind. Our innovations in the space have utilised AI to its full potential, making information entry and linking more intuitive than ever… so much so that we’re even starting to get those Skynet vibes we thought had passed us by…