4 Call Center Trends to Watch in 2020
With a new year in full swing, no doubt you’ve noticed your LinkedIn and social media feed filled with a litany of articles touting 2020 predictions across every industry.
There’s no hiding from this content type, even in the call center industry:
But there’s a valid reason – beyond a need to incentivize clicks – that motivates call center thought leaders to churn out “top trends” articles every year, which is:
Despite the evolving impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across customer experience (CX), the rate of new tech adoption for call centers remains slow.
Customer demands have continued to climb, with more and more individuals choosing their business relationships based on the level of satisfaction they feel across customer experience engagements.
In 2020, the only way for an organization to become irreplaceable for customers is to differentiate (and elevate) their services. Artificial intelligence will continue to improve its ability to bring powerful innovation to your agents and customers in a few key ways.
Here are some trends to watch in 2020:
RPA for Desktop Automation
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for desktops, or Robotic Desktop Automation (RDA), is an evolving technology that helps users automate human interactions across their business applications and software.
RDA represents a low-risk opportunity for organizations to dip their toes into and test process automation that they hope to scale across their entire organization.
RDA is capable of replicating actions for most — if not all — human-user tasks by triggering actions, removing repetitive tasks, and connecting APIs as one. RDA can also:
- Scrape web data
- Distribute tasks
- Secure simple logins
- Automate Excel data
RDA does all of this so your team doesn’t have to — which allows for more focus on customer service relationships.
The more you integrate AI into your RPA processes, the higher-order tasks you can complete.
For example, your current process automation might be able to direct customers to the right agent simply by making a rules-based logic. But an AI-powered system could do that while also anticipating the next best action your agent should take, based on customer intent and past behavior.
Here’s a great quote to understand the difference, courtesy of Bernard Marr & Co.
“Imagine RPA being the arms and legs of a bot and artificial intelligence is the brains.”
Bots on Every Channel — Including Voice
Wherever you go, there you (and the bots) are.
2020 will feature an increased reliance on voice bots or voice assistants to supplement IVR tools. Further advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and voice intelligence will make it easier to recognize verbal commands, collect information, and speed up the oft-frustrating caller experience.
Bot technology developers are developing supervised learning into the bot technology to allow for the human interactions of your staff to ensure the intents (Intents are the things that customers are saying or asking for) are designated by the bot appropriately and then responded to in a consistent method with the right company selected response to best answer the question.
In short, voice bots will become less robotic, with more conversational and emotionally-synced capabilities, like sentiment analysis.
Sentiment analysis is an AI feature that can decipher customer needs by monitoring in-call keywords, conversation tone, and even customer disposition in real-time. Systems will soon be designed to recognize growing impatience during service calls as well as proactively route and resolve customer calls.
Machine Learning Elevates RPA and Analytics
While a good craftsperson never blames their tools, they certainly will invite features that make them better, right? Just consider the productivity impact felt by the timber industry before and after the gas-powered saw made it to the forest.
Machine learning — which uses layers of algorithms to learn from your enterprise data — is adding fuel to your RPA/RDA applications and AI-based analytics models.
Call center tools supported by machine learning on the backend are better at pinpointing customer needs, the obstacles they face, and the next best actions to bolster engagement.
Machine learning with RPA: As email volume climbs, customer service organizations can use intelligence via machine learning to automate email routing to the right department or even the right individual to address the specific customer concerns, as one company in Oklahoma City did.
Adding speed to your current processes through intelligent automation can drastically improve first-call resolutions, optimize agent usage, and increase customer satisfaction.
Machine learning with Analytics: AI-powered analytics models help organizations explain their troves of data, such as why customer calls are taking longer in Q3 than Q2, or why service tickets are spiking in a particular region.
Paired with machine learning, backend tools like analytics can do more for your organization, such as automating training programs for agents that struggle to meet duration quotas or even automating proactive response protocols for spike call demand.
Analytics alone is just data science that explains your organizational data– but machine learning in tandem can give your agents a more seamless approach across all their processes.
AI Continues to Improve the Agent Experience
The AI revolution has delivered on the promise of making life easier for your customers — offering more straightforward and frictionless engagements across the customer experience.
But what has it done for your agents?
Here are three common buckets where AI is helping call center agents:
Virtual Agent: More call centers are investing in self-service portals or virtual agents to help resolve common customer scenarios. With AI at its center, virtual agents can route, predict, and resolve most issues without requiring human intervention. AI improves the agent experience by freeing them to focus on more challenging and dynamic tasks where their skills are truly needed. Agent’s morale improves when they are working on fulfilling interactions and not handling the low-hanging fruit issues that can be automated.
Agent Assist: AI helps power processes by connecting agents with articles and resources that can assist callers in real-time. Based on intent, voice recognition, and historical data, an organization’s knowledge base, for instance, can be supercharged via AI to help agents connect callers with the most useful information at the most valuable time in the customer journey.
IVR: Even in environments where callers have only two choices (keypad dialing or voice commands), AI is making huge strides. By equipping your Interactive Voice Response system with voice-recognition AI, call systems can determine customer intent faster, which improves routing and the ability for your agents to elevate their key metrics, such as the first-call resolution.
Reduce Background Noise with Innovative AI Tools
Cloud Call Center Search is lucky to partner with vendors that are constantly making noise with their innovations — and we won’t forget about the ones that help agents be heard.
Across the lives of busy professionals who are constantly on-the-go, it’s no wonder more and more calls are being disrupted by the background noise of life. However, AI technology has made it simple to isolate agent-customer conversations while cancelling out any distracting commotion outside their range of voices.
Call center leaders can easily increase customer and agent satisfaction with noise-free calls from any device, whether mobile, speaker or headset, and across a variety of common voice-applications. Contact centers spend a tremendous amount of money on noise dampening solutions in cubicles and in the ceilings. They also spend on expensive headsets that only somewhat work on the background noise in the center but it is one sided.
This new technology removes background noise from both sides of the conversation. Best yet, an AI-powered noise-cancelling solution will improve over time as it enhances the vocal recognition of your agents’ voices.
Ready to Be a Trendsetter in 2020?
Do you worry that your competitors are capitalizing on technology trends you’re missing?
Do you think you could be doing more to elevate customer and agent experience with AI?
You need a partner that understands the technology innovations your organization needs to compete and grow long-term.
If you want better engagement with customers, and more productivity from your agents, let Cloud Call Center Search and our collection of industry experts find a cloud-based vendor partner that is an exact fit for your needs. Just fill out the form for a free consultation.
It’s no risk. It’s free. And it will identify the AI trends you can leverage in 2020 and beyond.