This digital transformation we are directly in the middle of has been revolutionizing the way we work, and live our lives. The latest technologies are constantly simplifying complications, enabling us to focus our attention on the most important tasks.

In general, contact centers specifically tend to always be on the cutting edge of the latest technologies, just look at the best call center automation software options out there. The unique business goals, requirements and challenges of a Contact Center means that these organizations are always looking for new ways to improve processes and efficiency. Of course, the digital transformation has been all about that, with tools like cloud-based platforms and multi-channel solutions.

While we cannot deny the sheer level of capabilities introduced with an omnichannel platform, the latest trend that truly seems to be revolutionizing the contact center landscape is the introduction of automation.

 

What Makes Call Center Automations So Critical?

 

Simply put, automation of a call center is all about saving time and energy. This is essential for call centers to become more efficient. There are automations that seem tailor-made for the needs of call centers.

Contact Centers should always be looking to optimize their processes, but specifically in such a way that empowers their live agents, their actual humans, to work not only more efficiently but better as well. Beating a dead horse, the customer experience is what matters most right now, and agents need to be empowered to deliver positive interactions, for example, by implementing these cold calling tips.

That’s where call center automation software comes in, handling most of the boring and repetitive tasks. With agents spending less time entering data into a CRM or switching between applications to find the right product number, they can focus more on the actual conversation, and best serving the client.

 

Internal vs External Processes

 

A slight distinction I would like to make before jumping right into the contact center automations themselves is the difference between internal and external functionality. Contact center agents are mostly dealing with these two sides of the same coin, on one hand, they have behind the scenes processes like collecting data, or switching between apps to handle different channels.

On the other hand, agents are also dealing with their external processes, interacting with clients specifically. Call center automations for both of these forms of tasks exist and should be properly leveraged to best assist live agents.

For example, Chatbots are probably the best example of customer-facing contact center automation, interacting with clients and gathering the basic info and context so agents can focus on the more complex aspect of the interaction, solving the issue.

 

The Best Call Center Automations For 2019

 

Now, this is not a complete and total list of all call center automations that exist, in fact, some of these are more so overall groupings of automations that can be broken down into specific tasks. We are going to highlight some of the crucial automations that contact centers should integrate into their processes coming in 2019.

Many providers and vendors are beginning to offer a large number of call center automations, so we are going to focus in on some of the really powerful and widely available examples.

Automated Interactions

 

Starting right where we left off, some of the easiest to understand contact center automations come in the form of automated interactions. As we have discussed in the past, customer self-service is becoming not only a popular option for clients and customers, but an integral part of the contact center’s operations as well.

 

What Is It?

The umbrella term “automated interactions” refers to several different contact center tools. Chatbots, for example, are the most obvious example of an automated interaction. Any form of Customer Self Service tool can be considered an automated interaction, which also includes features like an online knowledgebase or an AI-powered IVR.

 

What Does It Do?

As I mentioned previously, Chatbots can initiate a conversation with clients browsing an organization’s website, and prompt that client with questions about their browsing history. After gathering some basic info, the Chatbot can then escalate the interaction to a live agent if it meets the right criteria.

Call Center Automation Interactions

This information the bot gathers provides context for what the client is looking to accomplish, enabling an agent to enter the interaction with the upper-hand: they know what the client is looking to do, so call centers better serve the client.

 

Why Does It Matter?

These call center automations all fit within this same context: provide the client with some tools to search and explore on their own, but also gather context and intent to better assist the agent.

Again, by providing agents with a deeper context, they do not have to essentially waste time trying to find out what the client wants. Chances are, the client already spends a lot of time on the website, and is calling because of a specific issue. Instead of having to explain this all to the agent, why shouldn’t the agent already know the steps the client took?

Automated interactions enable the clients to seek help on their own, and input data that will provide agents with context if and when the client reaches out for human support.

 

Real-World Examples

Forecasting Automations

 

Contact Centers are no strangers to data, by any means. On the contrary, contact centers are almost primarily concerned with data, like customer information, product information, sales information, and more. But the power of data cannot be realized without the proper tools to help make sense of it all.

 

What Is It?

Automated Forecasting can more specifically help organizations better understand their data, and how to optimize around it by doing a lot of the thinking for us. Forecasting is all about utilizing data to understand trends and make predictions based on those trends discovered in existing datasets.

 

What Does It Do?

These absolute massive sets of data collected by Contact Centers should not be ignored, and there are already a large number of analytical tools that organizations can use to sort through all of this data.

Call Center Automation Forecasting

To help better understand the potential outcome of a situation, and of course, save time, forecasting contact center automation can be utilized to interpret these large sets of data. These powerful automations can compare and combine multiple parameters or methodologies, evaluate hundreds of thousands of potential outcomes, and even predict the proper course of action to take based on the insights uncovered.

 

Why Does It Matter?

It’s all fairly simple, contact centers have massive, massive sets of information. Whenever a client or customer reaches out or does business with a contact center, that interaction is recorded. Within that interaction will be even more detailed information, including customer information, payment information, interaction history, notes and details from the agent, transcripts, and much more.

But even more than just than customer data, contact centers are also collecting data on their specific processes: how many calls are received, how long calls last, how many issues have a first call resolution, how many viewers are on your website, how many using the app, the list goes on.

Forecasting automations are essential in helping contact centers and decision-makers ultimately arrive at the best conclusion. This data can and should be leveraged, call center automation software makes that process not only realistic but much more insightful as well.

 

Real-World Examples

Workflow Automations

 

Contact center agents have a lot on their plates. Between interacting with clients and the sheer amount of attention that takes, managing internal interactions, inputting data, switching between applications, and sometimes even covering multiple channels, it’s a lot.

But this is what call center automations are all about, making our complicated lives easier. Workflow automation does just that — automate the workflow of a contact center agent, simplifying their entire process.

 

What Is It?

Workflow automation enables agents to setup automatic tasks, allowing AI to handle the repetitive aspects of their daily process. Call center automation software makes it as simple as switching applications or locating information for agents, inputting data, or even more complex like following up with leads — at the end of the day, these automation simply complete tasks things for agents.

 

What Does It Do?

As I mentioned, workflow automation can be set up to handle a large number of tasks, whether that be sending emails, or organizing and raising invoices. But, of course, your agents do not need to have a degree in computer science to understand how to set up these automations.

Call Center Automation Workflow

Generally with simple drag-and-drop visual editors, normally utilizing simple if>then logic, agents can create AI-powered workflows, like if an agent finishes a phone call, then the system should send out a follow-up email.

Of course, these can become much, much more complex. Users can instruct these automations to pull in relevant information into the email, like call context or purchase history. At the end of the day, workflow automation is capable of running just about any business process a contact center agent has to manage.

 

Why Does It Matter?

Freshsales made a good point in their explanation, that when tasks are repetitive they eventually become boring and mundane, and when they become boring and mundane people can make mistakes. So instead of being bored, and making mistakes, just let the machines do it for you.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal here is to simplify the overall working processes of a call center agent’s daily routine, so that they can focus on the tasks and interactions that truly matter. With such a massive focus being placed on the customer experience, every little detail within an interaction must be thought through.

By unloading the responsibilities of an agent, and removing some of the more boring and less intensive tasks, agents are freed up to truly focus on every single interaction with their undivided attention.

 

Real-World Examples

Automated Agent Guidance

 

We all need a helping hand every once in a while, no matter how good we are at our jobs. Collaboration is just an important aspect of modern work, and this is true for call centers as well. And of course, being an important aspect of call centers, there is a call center automation for that as well.

 

What Is It?

Agents have a lot to juggle at once when interacting with a client. Those dealing with sales and payments have to worry about PCI compliance and keeping information secure, medical offices deal with HIPAA, and the list of regulations goes on. Automated Agent Guidance can provide agents guidance on how to handle specific situations, keeping all of these rules in mind.

 

What Does It Do?

Automated Agent Guidance can come in a couple of forms, but all have the same general goal: provide agents with real-time assistance and guidance during client interactions. These call center automations can come in the form of chatbots even, and will directly interact with your agents.

Call Center Automation Automated Agent Guidance

They can read the situation, and generally include tools like natural language processing, and sentiment analysis to understand what is being said. Agents will receive contextualized guidance during the interaction, including solution suggestions, next best action, troubleshooting steps, and even guidance to avoid legal issues.

When not in the form of AI-powered bots, automated agent guidance can also include agent scripting, visually mapping out processes and procedures for agents, as well as auditing, testing and reporting functionalities.

 

Why Does It Matter?

At the end of the day, we all want our teams to do the best work they can, so we need to provide them with the right tools for the job. Instead of just throwing your agents out into the ocean with a life raft and nothing else, provide them with a life-line.

Call center automation, after all, is all about simplifying the processes and complexities of interacting with clients and callers every day. Just like workflow automation can take out the lack of thinking, automated agent guidance can assist with complex thinking as well.

This isn’t replacing your agents, but instead equipping your agents with, as I said, a life-line — a personal assistance resource to provide guidance and help when necessary. This of course provides your agents with better information, better actions to take, but also frees up the time of managers and administrators who no longer have to assist agents themselves.

 

Real-World Examples

Sales Automations

 

A bit of a large umbrella, a big aspect of call center automation comes in the form of automating marketing and sales tasks specifically. These call centers have a unique challenge of not only interacting with clients but hooking them as well. Automation can assist agents in simplifying these processes, again to focus on the interactions and ensure a sale.

 

What Is It?

Sales and marketing automation, as a general term, includes automating just about any task related to the sales and marketing process. More specifically, this could tasks like customer onboarding and fulfilling interactive and customized call center sales campaigns.

 

What Does It Do?

Sales automation focuses on really simplifying and automating the sales process, ultimately looking to shorten the sales cycle and leading to more closed deals. The best way to do this is to of course bring in relevant customer information and data to help provide a more personalized experience — but this is time-consuming.

Call Center Automation Sales Automations

These call center automations enable agents to automated the routine tasks, like sending announcements or follow up emails at the right time in the sales cycle. They also bring in a personalized touch by leveraging the massive data contact centers collect via call center software.

Think of it this way, sales automation can send out automatic text messages for announcements, blast out personalized sales offers in emails based on purchase history, send out appointment reminders or order and shipment information, or even reward clients with loyalty programs.

 

Why Does It Matter?

This all comes back to the same concept, at the end of the day, providing the best experience for your clients, by making your agents’ lives easier. When it comes to the sales process, the mundane tasks of following up with clients can take up a lot of your agent’s time, yet fall short of hitting the mark.

Simply put, an automation can much more quickly utilize an email template, locate and input relevant customer information, and send out an email blast to numerous clients all at once — much, much quicker than a human could.

These call center automations are not only removing responsibilities from the plate of representatives, but they can also do a better job at the same time, truly leveraging the data contact centers collect.

 

Real-World Examples

Scheduling Automations

 

Let’s not forget that a call center ultimately wouldn’t be able to successfully operate without proper planning and management. After all, that is why workforce management software is so commonly bundled and found with call center software specifically. And of course, there is call center automation for workforce management and planning.

 

What Is It?

Automated scheduling is of course just like the name states, automated scheduling. A large aspect of managing a call center’s workforce is creating an effective and comprehensive schedule. This might seem simple, but scheduling is a complex task and must be done right to ensure an agent’s skills and availability are leveraged for the most successful outcome.

 

What Does It Do?

The process of creating a schedule for a call center can be rather complex. Decisions must be made, and a lot of data must be taken into account. Even just the task of lining up all the different available schedules from each representative, and then attempting to align and overlap time-slots to ensure everyone is scheduled, and there are no gaps, is difficult enough as it is.

Call Center Automation Scheduling

So automated scheduling utilizes artificial intelligence to construct the perfect schedule. For example, Genesys’ new AI-powered automated scheduling utilizes rule-based algorithms to process the massive data sets of agent availability, business hours, and more.

Essentially, creating the perfect schedule is like a puzzle — the pieces are agent availability, and they must fit within business hours, and there cannot be any gaps. AI can handle this puzzle much better, and do it for us.

 

Why Does It Matter?

Again, call center automation is about simplifying and improving, so why not let AI handle the workforce management part of the process as well? This is what AI is particularly good at, managing massive sets of data and numbers, and organizing that data into a proper pattern.

Scheduling is a massively time-consuming task, and simply removing that responsibility from the hands of managers enables them to focus on more important tasks, again removing the busy-work. But at the same time, AI can uncover insights that humans may not recognize, and within record time.

So of course it then makes perfect sense that the process of scheduling will just be handled by another call center automation.

 

Real-World Examples

 

Finding The Right Call Center Automation Solution

 

Automations are incredibly helpful, and without a doubt will become a staple in all contact centers if they haven’t already. As AI and similarly related technology continue to evolve and grow even further, call center automation will only continue to expand in capabilities.

However, I think it is important to remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean human interactions will go away. This is something I’ve discussed previously with chatbots. The idea isn’t to flat-out replace human representatives, but instead to support them with the help of call center automation software.

Call center automation is not the ultimate endgame for business, but they are rather a means to help agents do better work by saving time, and ultimately saving money. Humans are necessary for a large number of interactions that escalate beyond simple requests.

We have to remember, AI is still within its infancy. But 2019 will be an interesting year to see how call center automation continues to evolve, and if it hasn’t already now is the time for your organization to jump on board.