The benefits of automation continue to make their way across company departments. The trend started with salesforce automation in the 2000s, then expanded to marketing automation and finance automation in the 2010s. Now, as we launch headlong into the 2020s — and with the Coronavirus crisis nearing an end — customer experience and contact center automation are the next frontier, poised to deliver game-changing benefits in how companies get customer service done.
Below we cover some of the latest contact center automation trends and use cases.
But before we dive in, let’s define what we mean by automation. According to Techopedia, “Automation is the creation and application of technologies to produce and deliver goods and services with minimal human intervention. The implementation of automation technologies, techniques and processes improve the efficiency, reliability, and/or speed of many tasks that were previously performed by humans.”
For contact center interactions and customer service, automation is proving to be a reliable contributor to customer experience efficiency and success. For example, take a look at how automation can help reduce the time it takes to handle a product return in the example below, cutting the completion time in half and eliminating the need for an agent in most cases:
Read on for more contact center automation trends and use cases that are either happening today or are on the horizon for 2021 and beyond:
Automated Self-Service with Chatbots
Following some starts and stops due to hasty implementations over the last few years, automated chatbots are officially here to stay. Implementations and best practices are getting better, the algorithms that power them are getting better, and the knowledge bases that feed them are getting better. In turn, consumer adoption of chatbots is rising due to better bot experiences, the increasing use of messaging apps in general, like WhatsApp, and the similarities they share with chatbots, and the rising customer demand for ‘round-the-clock” service that chatbots can help provide. If you’re still not convinced, consider that Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML) applications, chatbots and mobile messaging, up from 15% in 2018.
Automated Customer ID and Verification with Conversational AI
Yesterday’s legacy IVRs and software-based voice self-service solutions have paved the way for today’s more advanced conversational analytics and AI platforms (CAI). With built-in analytics capabilities, more natural self-service conversations, and new and more powerful customer ID and verification capabilities, including voice biometrics, today’s CAI solutions are automating previously time-consuming and cumbersome agent and customer tasks — all while ensuring companies remain in compliance from a customer privacy and data protection standpoint. The use cases supported by CAI span interactions and processes across virtually any industry, automating new customer onboarding, customer notifications, compliance checks, and more. See how it works below:
Automated Customer Processes Without the Need for an Agent
While today’s CAI platforms are doing wonders at automating the ‘front-end’ of the customer experience with greater efficiency and an improved experience, the combination of process automation and connectivity to the back office is what’s really enabling contact center automation breakthroughs, including handling more high-value tasks like product returns, subscription or policy renewals, case management, and service repairs & support. Thanks to integrated solutions that connect the front office with CAI solutions to the back office with process automation capabilities and connectivity to service experts, improvements and efficiency gains are realized across the customer journey.