A call center is all about numbers, call volumes, average talk time, average expected time, and so on. Call centers have always been at the cutting edge of automation, often being the earliest adopters of newer technologies that have later become more mainstream. Call center automation is not a new concept, but it certainly is an evolving one. Every new call center automation software brings more and more advanced features.
In fact, call center automation companies are focusing more on improving their offerings for a better end-user experience. Machine Learning and AI, though different in how they work, together have already made inroads into automating call center processes. Machine Learning enables systems to learn from their inputs. It is trained to observe patterns and adapt its decisions and outputs based on those learnings. AI can be deemed a superset of Machine Learning, and it works towards attempting human-like intelligence in machines.
Call center automation is more than just having an automated call assistant. While that may be the ultimate goal of the whole exercise, there are a whole lot of processes working in the backend. It is a blend of various components that do their parts in ensuring automation as a whole. While some of these are obvious, there will surely be some surprises.
Let us look at each one of those in detail to understand how automation can improve call center service in 2021.
1. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning can be considered as the starting point of automation in a call center. It has a deluge of data coming in every day and provides an abundance of raw material for machine learning. It is ultimately a strategy resource that may be crucial in identifying and implementing improvements in processes such as call routing, scheduling, and service provision. AI, on the other hand, is more useful in analyzing live interactions. As an example, speech and emotion analytics can provide valuable insights to calling agents about a particular customer’s disposition, enabling them to adjust their approach accordingly.
2. Robotic Process Automation
Here the term “robotic” has more to do with computer programs rather than the usual sense of the word. For call centers, Robotic Process Automation or RPA is a well-established practice, which is the process of automating end-to-end tasks like data entry. It involves multiple steps and may even entail the use of multiple different pieces of software. RPA is mostly reserved for repetitive back-office processes. But they can also automate certain customer-facing tasks for shorter calls with a greater focus on quality. Automation can perform these repetitive tasks tirelessly and accurately.
3. API Automation
An Application Programming Interface or API is a piece of software that acts as a bridge between two applications. For call centers, an API is an intermediary that connects different systems to work in synchronization towards certain set goals. Such call center APIs tend to focus on improving new processes or creating efficient new ones. They are almost considered the gold standard for automation and integration. Such automated APIs find numerous applications in a call center, from personalized call routing to virtual queueing and automated contact recycling.
4. Automated Intelligent Interactions
Interaction in a call center is mainly a customer-facing function. The sheer volume of calls makes it impossible for live agents to answer every call. In 2020, for every five calls handled by live agents, almost 30 calls went through some form of an automated response. Automated intelligent interactions can analyze and handle calls that do not require human interaction. The call center will not only save money with every non-agent call that it processes but will also be able to handle more calls.
Now, more than ever, automation in a call center is the need of the hour. It’s the only way to ensure maximum efficiency and seamless integration at minimum costs.