September 21, 2021
Turbocharge Your Omnichannel Environment with Automation
Automated tools can amplify the efforts of human workers and improve the customer experience.
Omnichannel customer service has always been about giving customers access to services in a manner comfortable and convenient for them. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this capability became even more important — and more challenging. Contact center agents were frequently stranded in their homes, and organizations needed to roll out solutions that could keep them engaged and productive.
Often, automation proved key to building a stable foundation for omnichannel. By introducing automation into their contact centers, organizations can streamline operations and let their workers focus on what they do best: helping customers.
Here are six ways that automation can turbocharge omnichannel customer service.
Automation can help human agents to do their jobs better. When the tools are configured correctly, it’s almost as if the agent has an assistant standing by to help. For instance, an artificial intelligence program can listen in on a customer call and pull up account information based on factors such as the customer’s phone number (rather than forcing the agent to slow down the call to enter the number manually). Essentially, virtual assistants give agents the ability to multitask while keeping their full attention on the customers they’re serving.
Similarly, an AI program can generate a live transcript of a customer call, giving agents instant access to any information that a customer has already provided. This results in a more personal (and less frustrating) experience for customers, who no longer have to repeat the same information over and over during an interaction. (If you’ve ever gritted your teeth the third time you’ve been asked for your account number on a single call, you’re not alone; AI tools can help prevent this from happening.) There are also other ways AI can keep customers from having to repeat themselves. In healthcare, for example, automated programs can fill in patient forms based on answers during a phone call. Then, when patients show up at their doctors’ offices, they don’t need to repeat answers to the same basic triage questions they already answered over the phone.
Security and Fraud Detection
Questions around basic security and authentication have vexed organizations essentially since the dawn of customer service. Passwords, PINs and personal information provide some level of assurance that a customer really is who he or she claims to be, but all these credentials can be stolen. To streamline and improve authentication, many organizations are turning to automated voice biometric tools. These (surprisingly accurate) solutions allow customers to repeat a stock phrase such as “My voice is my password” to provide nearly instantaneous authentication.
In a perfect customer service world, call volumes would plummet overnight if customers simply found their way to the FAQ sections of company websites. That’s not going to happen, of course, but organizations can still leverage their FAQs to answer customer questions via multiple channels. Automated tools can recognize changes to the FAQs and push these changes out across chat, voice and other channels — giving customers the answers they’re looking for with nearly no additional work on the part of human agents.
Some customers still prefer the personal touch of a phone call with a human agent. However, many simply want to get their issues resolved as quickly as possible, whenever they happen to be free. Staffing a contact center around the clock is expensive — and often, practically impossible — but automation enables channels that customers can access at their leisure.
At one organization we work with (a large healthcare system), agents were spending 40 percent of their time simply transferring calls. By automating the call transfer process, we helped the organization give that time back to their patients. Hold times went down, agents became more productive, and patients and their families were more quickly able to arrive at the answers they needed.
Story by Mike Murphy - a CDW Collaboration Solution Architect team lead and Nathan Cartwright - a Collaboration Technical Lead.