As we move towards a post-pandemic world, automation will take on an even more critical role. Organisations will increasingly look for opportunities that deliver cost efficiencies while providing business resilience.
The advancement of technology has brought many benefits for those who operate and manage call centres. Technology enables the automation of tedious and repetitive processes that take valuable time away from call centre workers. Frost and Sullivan note that “process automation acts as hidden glue that ties together many business processes, including the contact centre – the heart of where the customer experience resides.”
Process Automation can make intelligent decisions to decrease wait times, undertake transactional issues and complete automated administrative tasks. These all help to optimise your workforce, allowing them to spend more time helping customers. At the same time, organisations achieve cost savings, retain highly-skilled employees, and deliver a more enhanced customer experience.
Aligning automation with business priorities will help determine where to begin.
What kinds of processes should be automated
There are many processes that can be automated in a contact centre to optimise task performance. Examples include:
- When a customer has been identified, the operator’s screen is loaded with the customer’s details.
- If the call drops out or the customer hangs up, a text message or email can be sent to the customer with the operator’s details.
At the end of a call, the system can automatically send an email or text message for a customer to complete a satisfaction survey. No matter the process to be automated, it needs to be mapped and documented, with a clear understanding of how this process interacts with users and other activities in the contact centre ecosystem.
Process automation benefits in contact centres
Process automation’s most apparent benefits are cost savings and scalability. However, process automation is especially valuable in the contact centre industry, as it offers solutions to the many service, process and technology challenges faced by this sector. Automation in the contact centres can reduce costs and delight customers in these areas:
Reducing Hold Times & Increasing responsiveness
Process automation can handle the simple questions and issues of customers. This then frees up call centre operators to work with customers on more complex matters.
When on a call, your operators may need to look at the account or order status, or records of previous conversations. Having to spend time switching screens and reviewing information can increase time to resolution without contributing anything towards solving the problem. Process automation provides the operator with all the information without the need to switch screens or systems. This makes the process easier and enables the operator to spend more time listening to the customer, achieving a faster resolution and improving satisfaction levels.
Exchanging information between systems
Another challenge faced by call centre operators is working with different platforms. For example, if your operators need to access customer data and order history systems, it will take time to switch between these two platforms. With automation tools in place, it is much easier to exchange information between the systems you use because it does not have to be done manually. An operator can quickly initiate a pre-defined process that transfers data back and forth to different systems, including call logs, order status, and next steps.
After a call, your operators may have to spend some time recording details about the interaction. Although this information is vital, it is also time-consuming to complete. In addition, there may be significant differences in the quality of information you receive between operators. Automation can perform post-call conversational analytics, logging all the critical contact centre and customer experience metrics you require. Not only are you collecting consistently recorded metrics, this data can also inform real-time trends. For example, if you are getting calls about the same issue, you can alert your operators and provide them with the relevant information to help satisfy these callers more quickly. This also allows you to create proactive programs to address the problem.
Where to start automation in contact centres
Simple processes in high-transaction volumes are today’s process automation sweet spot, but enterprises struggle with finding and prioritising them. With so many opportunities for automation, where should the contact centre begin?
Forrester has identified that “redesigning or standardising a process before automating it may increase initial costs but usually results in more sustainable automation with improved returns.”
For those ready to implement automation in the call centre, top automation candidates can be identified by conducting an in-depth assessment of tasks and activities. At the same time, there should also be an analysis of the skill set required to embed automation. Aligning the two insights will identify which opportunities are likely to have the right impact and potential opportunity to improve the contact centre experience.
The right partner makes process automation easy
Process automation has the potential to transform contact centres. Customers want better experiences, and employees want to feel more empowered in their jobs. Employing automation for routine tasks not only ensures business continuity, but it also allows your teams to do what they do best: deliver exceptional service.
Coxswain Alliance has partnered with Parker Software to deploy ThinkAutomation™, an award-winning, scalable process automation software that helps you achieve demonstrated performance improvement across your business. We work with you to identify and optimise the process to be automated, build and implement the workflows, and deliver the process with a robust change management plan to meet your business objectives. Frost and Sullivan, Robotic Process Automation: A new era of agent engagement, 2017  Forrester, Ten Golden Rules for RPA Success, May 2020