Call centers fit within a fuzzy space within the minds of Americans. Just a few years ago, there were several thousand large-scale call center operations based in the United States, with a combined calling force of about 3 million. These figures continue to grow as well, with hundreds of additional centers cropping up in phone rich states like Texas and Florida since then.
Yet, we still don’t really know how these offices function aside from the enormous disturbance that we sometimes experience when scam calls keep encroaching on our private time. In fact, many of them are bringing in cutting edge technology to make the customer experience much easier. Here’s how:
Scams are an ever present consideration that both phone operators and call recipients are dealing with at a fairly routine interval. While robocalls are on the rise — over 16 billion of them hitting US phones alone last year — not all of these are fraudsters trying to swindle unsuspecting victims out of their hard earned cash.
Robocall volume is abundant; however, the truly jarring reality of unsolicited calling practices is that one in ten Americans lost money in successful fraud schemes over the phone in a twelve month period ending in March of 2018. Like it or not, these practices erode confidence in prospective leads before the phone line even connects.
Thankfully, the industry is making some changes: employing AI call center solutions and cloud based systems that speed up the fusion of customer data are but some of the exciting new approaches to customer contact that call centers have begun implementing.
Intelligent IVR systems
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems have a bad reputation among Americans seeking help for their consumer problems or appointment scheduling needs. In the past, these systems have been slow to respond, inaccurate in customer recognition, and serve as a uniquely frustrating gatekeeper for callers who overwhelmingly just want to speak with a person.
The trouble here is that many callers aren’t sure what they’re looking for. If your washing machine breaks after two washes and you want a refund, do you need to speak with the “service”, “billing”, or “complaints” department? To make matters worse, these systems often feel like they maneuver callers around in circles before finally providing the option to speak with an agent. Whether that agent is attached to one of the aforementioned departments or another equally obscure segment, we will never know.
But IVR systems are getting smarter. IVRs are using better natural language processing techniques and intuitive call routing that takes less effort on the part of the consumer to arrive at someone who may help solve whatever problem initially drove them to the phone.
Chatbots are another implementation of AI processes that can lighten the loads of hectic call center offices all around the country. These solutions are often deployed in forward facing operations, such as the help box in the corner of an online store’s web page. These systems are easy for consumers to use and offer help with routine issues that a customer might encounter. Or they provide simple answers to questions relating to order fulfilment, shipping details, or even size or model number availability.
Chatbots are favored for their ability to provide a pleasant customer experience with no additional work needed by staff. After all, chatbots don’t need breaks, holidays, or hours away from the office to do those routine tasks like eating and sleeping. These solutions are also being implemented to unburden office staff of mundane tasks. They are being used in workflow management and caseload estimation in order to streamline productivity.
AI is set to continue surging in popularity among calling personnel and others who engage with clients on a regular basis. They are simple to implement and can improve the overall customer experience without any headaches or extra considerations by staff members. In fact, they do just the opposite: they make work life easier for your employees while also improving customer satisfaction.