Call centers have always relied on different forms of automation to provide swift service to their clientele. And in today’s market, there’s no shortage of solutions to choose from.
As technology gets smarter and more intuitive, so does the contact center that benefits from it. But how do you know which solutions are best for your operation? To find the answer, you need to evaluate your current call center workflow and identify opportunities for automation.
Still unsure where to go from here? Read on for an introduction to call center automation, plus our top software picks!
What is Call Center Automation?
Call center automation is the practice of using technology to tackle manual, time-consuming tasks on behalf of your agents. By automating these simple tasks, you can lighten the load for your call center employees so they can focus on tackling more complex issues, like customer care.
Automation is nothing new to the call center industry. Consider how IVR systems direct incoming callers to their appropriate channels, all without human intervention. In short, automation is a great way to streamline your call center operation and alleviate the burden of manual taskwork from your agents.
Benefits of Call Center Automation
You may be wondering what the benefits of implementing automation technology look like. Here are just a few examples:
Boost first call resolution
A high first call resolution, or FCR, usually indicates a well-performing call center. By automating manual tasks from your agents’ workload, they can focus on providing excellent and efficient service to your callers and resolve their issues in the very first interaction.
Improve customer satisfaction
With the right automation tools in place, improved customer satisfaction is sure to follow. After all, callers are looking for a frictionless experience with your call center, and automation is a great way to accomplish that.
Raise agent satisfaction
A good call center manager knows that agent satisfaction is just as important as customer satisfaction. After all, an agent who enjoys their daily work is more likely to provide good service. Automation can remove the mundane, time-consuming parts of an agent’s work so they can focus on creating positive customer interactions.
Lower cost of operations
If you still consider call centers to be cost centers, think again. With improved call center performance comes lower operations cost, which you can leverage to better your business.
Offer after hours service
Don’t fret about callers who choose to contact you outside of your regular service hours. Automation can help you provide basic support without involving a human. It can be as simple as directing them to an FAQ page or offering them a call-back from a live agent later.
Features of Call Center Automation Software
Now that we’ve established the main benefits of call center automation software, it’s time to break down the key features. There are a lot of call center solutions on the market, each with their own unique offerings. When hunting for new call center technology, keep these features in mind:
In the contact center, every customer interaction is logged as multiple data points. So you can imagine the sheer volume of data your call center collects on a regular basis. Leading contact centers use forecasting automation tools to help them analyze this data and identify trends to inform decision making.
Consider how much time would be required to have a human analyze all that data. With automation software, these insights can be at your fingertips in just a few clicks. It’s a powerful weapon for your contact center.
Call routing is one of the most common forms of call center automation. Your callers probably know this technology better as a phone menu or an interactive voice response (IVR). Its purpose is to direct customers across different support channels and connect them with an agent best equipped to assist them.
In the early days of the call center, it would have taken a lot of manual work to evaluate each incoming call and connect it to the correct support line. Thanks to automation, this is a task your agents don’t need to worry about.
Call-backs and virtual queueing
It’s a known fact that customers hate being made to wait, especially when they’re trying to access support. Long hold times in call centers directly affect customer satisfaction, increase abandonment rates, and lower the overall performance of your operation.
With solutions like automated call-backs and virtual queueing, you can save your callers the hassle of waiting on hold. It’s as simple as saving their place in the virtual queue, and automatically deploying a call-back to the customer when a live agent becomes available.
Omnichannel continues to be the new standard for contact centers. Why? Because your customers expect to be able to reach you on their preferred type of channel — this can include chat, email, social media, and more. But with so many platforms to manage, things can get chaotic, quickly.
An omnichannel contact center platform brings all customer interaction history into one central database, so your agents can seamlessly transition from channel to channel with your customers without dropping the conversation. In other words, you can offer a more unified experience for your customers, no matter what channel they start or end the interaction on.
Sales and marketing
Modern contact center agents are no longer just support reps — they’re key parts of your sales and marketing team, too. Since they are the first point of contact for your customers, they’re in an ideal position to keep callers engaged with your products and services.
Sales and marketing automation involves setting up sequences to move the sales cycle along while improving overall conversion. You can automate promotional emails and other communications, and even personalize them for recipients. Most marketing CRM software has these capabilities, so it makes sense to harness their power for your contact center.
Automated customer interactions are exactly what they sound like. Automated tools like chatbots and IVR can engage your customer without human assistance to set them in the right direction.
Let’s look at chatbots as an example. These AI-powered tools can interact with your customers on your website or mobile app, learn details about their query, answer simple questions, and escalate customers to the proper channels if needed. With this approach, your automated tools can take care of basic customer issues so your agents can focus on more complex issues.
The more background information an agent has on a customer, the more effective their support will be. By referencing past interactions, your contact center can reduce repetition of information and resolve the query more efficiently.
That’s where customer relationship management (CRM) tools really shine. By combining the abilities of your contact center platform with your CRM, you can provide your agents with helpful context so they can better understand and solve the issues presented to them.
Think about the amount of information flowing through your contact center channels each day. Managing this information can be time-consuming without the right automation tools in place.
Consider the manual tasks associated with agent work, such as data entry or sending follow up messages to customers. Automation tools can help you do this, while minimizing the risk of human error.
Our Picks for Best Call Center Software
Call-back technology is quickly becoming a staple for contact centers around the world. Fonolo offers feature-rich cloud-based call-back solutions that can be customized to suit your business operations, making it a powerful automation tool. With Fonolo, you can:
- Offer call-backs from your website or mobile app
- Allow callers to schedule a call-back at a later time or date
- Offer dedicated queues for VIP customer service
Five9 is a well-known all-in-one call center software that supports omnichannel operations. They serve over 2,500 enterprise, mid-market, and SMB customers around the world, and offer integrations with different CRMs. This software also has AI driven capabilities, making it a powerful automation tool. With Five9, you can:
- Implement workforce management tools
- Use predictive dialing
- Use on-screen caller information
3. Twilio Flex
Here is another popular all-in-one omnichannel contact center platform. Twilio Flex is cloud-based, customizable, and highly scalable for your business. Plus, it’s quick to set up and deploy and can support many other contact center platforms. With Twilio Flex, you can:
- Update automated workflows, routing rules, channels, and more
- Generate KPI reports to gain business insights
- Integrate Twilio with any CRM
4. Genesys Cloud CX
Genesys Cloud CX leverages AI enhanced functionality and focuses on unifying customer and agent experiences across your channels. It’s suited to support businesses of all sizes, and offers automation tools such as:
- Workforce engagement management tools
- Custom IVR flows and outreach sequences
- Multichannel routing and CRM integrations
5. Avaya OneCloud CCaaS Software
Avaya OneCloud is an omnichannel contact center solution that improves customer and employee experiences alike. They also use predictive AI tools to power their features, which include:
- Self-service features
- Intelligent call routing
- Sentiment analysis
6. NICE in Contact
NICE in Contact is a cloud suite that also supports an omnichannel customer experience. They help your contact center create a seamless conversation with your users. Here are a few features that they offer:
- Robotic process automation
- Predictive dialing
- Conversational AI