Will robots take over the world in the coming years?
Probably not—but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them! The increasing applications of AI, automation, and other robotic tools and processes have endless benefits and implications for call centers and customer service.
As a result, organizations who move toward early adoption of AI and other automation tools in their customer service will have a leg up on providing exceptional customer service—and setting the bar for other companies in their industry.
In this article, we’ll demonstrate the benefits of using AI in your call center, as well as specific AI solutions based on your industry. From e-commerce to healthcare to education, AI can help you optimize your call center, reduce operating costs and improve customer satisfaction. It’s a win-win-win.
Benefits of Leveraging AI in your Call Center
So, what are the main benefits of leveraging AI in your call center? With AI, there are four key benefits: speed, satisfaction, efficiency and effectiveness. All of these, of course, can impact your customer—in a good way!—and reduce costs while improving your bottom line revenue. As you begin to leverage AI in your call center, you’ll see how AI and automation can improve almost every area of your call center operations.
Improving customer satisfaction
Ultimately, every call center exists—or should exist—to improve customer satisfaction and provide support and service for customers. In 2023, call centers who aren’t using AI will quickly fall behind when it comes to customer satisfaction. After all, call centers can implement AI into their processes to:
- analyze customer communications for common complaints
- analyze customer interactions for quality assurance
- improve training and QA processes
- improve self-service offerings and offer chatbots for customers
- increase speed of customer service
- personalize interactions and recommendations
All of this is essential because fast, accurate, seamless and easy customer service interactions create happier customers. And happy customers are ones who remain loyal to your brand, spend more money and refer more customers to you.
All of this analysis, training improvements and personalization could, in theory, be done manually, but it’s much more expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. AI allows you to improve customer satisfaction at scale, and with more accuracy and ease.
For example, using AI to analyze customer communications for quality, common complaints and other data allows your team to save time on complex and manual data collection and analysis, and use their time to process the analysis and then create more effective solutions based on the data. Whether that’s improving the QA process, creating new training for agents or improving the product based on a common complaint, you optimize your team’s time while also creating a better experience for customers.
Increasing speed of customer service
Another huge benefit of AI for call centers is the ability to improve the speed of your customer service. If there’s one thing we know about customers in 2023, it’s their need for speed. The data makes this clear:
- 60% of consumers say that being able to “resolve [their] issue quickly” is the most important aspect of good customer service.
- Conversely, 55% of consumers say long wait or hold times while interacting with a customer service agent is the most frustrating part of customer service.
- More than 65% of consumers aged 16-34 think customer service could be “drastically improved” by getting quicker responses.
As a result, it’s essential for brands and call centers to find ways to increase their speed of response and reduce average handle time, average time in queue and average transfers.
AI solutions like predictive call routing, IVR, or virtual assistants can help customers get assistance more quickly, improving satisfaction and service. In addition, AI self-service solutions like chatbots or other conversational AI can allow customers to get service instantly, whenever they need it.
Reduce overall operating costs
It’s not just the customer that’s benefitted by AI solutions—AI can have an impact on your bottom line, both directly and indirectly. Indirectly, of course, there’s the increased revenue from more satisfied customers and better loyalty and retention.
More directly, though, AI can increase your team’s efficiency, meaning you’ll save on operating costs by reducing the amount of agent time needed for fielding calls, logging interactions, analyzing data and so on. By automating these repetitive tasks, you free up time for your team to focus on more important tasks that move the needle more directly—or optimize your workflow to reduce your overall staffing needs.
You can also make staffing and scheduling more efficient through AI and scheduling automation tools. With better forecasting and predictions models available, you’ll be able to schedule only who you need, without so much agent downtime. As a result, your scheduling will be more effective (less employee time needed) and more optimal (reducing labor costs overall).
Better data + analytics
Finally, AI can provide you with better data and analytics across every stage. From data collection to sorting and analysis, AI can track important metrics, create dashboards, highlight outlying data and so on. From here, you can use this data to create:
- optimized processes and workflow
- better customer personalization
- improved product knowledge
- optimal scheduling
and more. Ultimately, your team can transform the data collected into business insights that will allow you to improve your customer service, your internal processes and so on.
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AI Call Center Solutions For Businesses of All Types
No matter your industry, you can use AI solutions to power more effective customer service. However, as different industries have different customer challenges, the most effective uses of AI technology will vary by industry. To give you an idea of how your industry might use AI to improve customer service, take a look at the industry-specific examples below.
E-commerce brands stand to gain a lot from AI call center solutions. After all, with so many e-commerce brands on the market, having good customer service can set you apart from the many others in your industry.
In e-commerce, conversational AI and chatbots can provide especially effective solutions for customers who expect on-demand, round-the-clock support. Rather than staffing agents 24/7, chatbots provide a self-service option for customers who have simple and straightforward questions. And customers appreciate them too—a massive 85% of customers said they’d like to be able to message with brands, and positive sentiment towards bot-powered customer service is growing.
In addition, AI analytics can analyze the content of consumer conversations and provide your team with actionable data on:
- the best solutions to common problems
- the most common problems that can be solved via a product or service change
- insight on common concerns that could be answered via a knowledge base or chatbot
By using AI to both analyze data and deliver solutions, you’ll create an ongoing workflow and service optimization process that saves your team time, cuts costs for your organization, and creates best-in-class customer service that sets you above the crowd.
In the education field, your call center likely receives a large volume of calls from both prospective, incoming and current students on everything from financial aid, enrollment, class schedules, and more. As a result, education organizations and institutes should leverage AI solutions for challenges like complicated call routing to provide accurate and on-demand assistance for students.
For example, education institutions can use IVR systems to ensure students are correctly routed to the right department and get their calls handled in less time. Did you know that 70% of customers say they are “highly irritated” when they are transferred to someone else—especially if that person can’t help them or ends up having to transfer them again. This is particularly prevalent in higher education, when students may not know what department can help with their question. As a result, they end up being transferred while having to explain their situation over and over again before finding someone who can help.
IVR systems—an AI call routing system—can help with this, as it allows students to answer a series of pre-recorded questions or menu options to then be routed to the most appropriate department. You can also use predictive call routing systems to connect callers to the specific agent most suited to their needs and personality. WIth predictive call routing, the caller’s information and question is gathered and then analyzed by AI to direct them to a suitable agent. This allows you to provide specialized and personalized help to each student.
For organizations in the insurance industry—whether it’s health insurance, life insurance, auto or home insurance, or something else—customers frequently have complicated questions about their plans, benefits and claims. While using an AI chatbot might be helpful for customers who have simple questions about updating information or whether a certain benefit is included with their plans, it’s essential for insurance call centers to have highly-trained staff who can offer detailed, accurate and personalized information.
AI can help with this, too: using an AI tool commonly referred to as “human agent augmentation” can help agents be more efficient while remaining accurate and personal. With human agent augmentation, AI listens to the call alongside a human agent and analyzes the conversation to provide helpful data, relevant information and even personalized solutions based on the customer’s data and current concern. As a result, agents can more quickly provide the most up-to-date and accurate information and solutions that are personalized to that customer.
Retail businesses often have high volumes of customer service and communication. With questions about everything from product availability, store hours and locations, ordering and shipping, returns and refunds, the call volume can grow exponentially very quickly.
As a result, businesses in the retail sector need to consider how AI can reduce costs, improve operations and increase customer satisfaction. After all, 86% of consumers have said they would “leave a brand they were loyal to after only 2-3 bad customer service experiences.” That means you don’t have much margin for error—but AI can help ensure your agents nail the customer experience every time.
Aside from using chatbots or other conversational AI to provide instant service for simple customer concerns and queries such as starting a return or looking up store hours, retail businesses should consider using AI-powered recommendations. AI-powered recommendations use sentiment analysis or emotional intelligence technology to analyze the customer needs or background and then provide recommendations for products, solutions or next steps to the agent on the phone. This allows agents to provide personalized solutions based on customer history, as well as personalized recommendations, even if the agent is not familiar with your entire product catalog or the entire customer history.
In healthcare, being able to access help via phone support whenever it’s needed is necessary. However, the sensitive nature of most healthcare calls means that clients need to be able to access representatives who are carefully trained in providing not only accurate and personalized information but are also emotionally agile.
As a result, emotional intelligence AI can be a huge benefit for healthcare or medical call centers. With emotional intelligence AI, you can use AI to track customer emotions and sentiment throughout conversations and phone calls and provide agents with feedback to improve their interactions, in real-time. This is particularly useful when agents are dealing with customers with different linguistic or cultural backgrounds, as the AI can be programmed to understand different languages and cultural contexts. AI feedback can help agents navigate emotionally complex calls, while providing the best support and making the customer feel heard and supported.
Ready to leverage AI for your call center? Connect with an expert from ROI Solutions today to see how our call center solutions can help you provide the best, most personalized care for your customers.