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Author: Rose de Fremery

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition to omnichannel contact center engagement, increasing customer demand for a high-quality customer experience. According to the research conducted by Digital Commerce 360, consumers spent $861.12 billion with U.S. retailers in 2020, up 44% from 2019. 

Call and contact center automation can help businesses deliver on customer expectations by providing a great customer experience (CX) and improving the employee experience. Companies can increase productivity and boost revenue by automating their contact center processes, too. Here's how.

Benefits of call and contact center automation

First and foremost, an automated contact center enables companies to provide an exceptional customer experience, but it can also give agents a better experience and increase their job satisfaction—which, in turn, further supports a high-quality CX in a virtuous circle. Businesses can also leverage automation to increase productivity, boost revenue and unlock cost savings.

1. A better customer experience

Call and contact center automation tools help customers get faster resolutions to their requests. With 24/7 access to self-service resources and chatbot assistance, customers can receive the answers they need in short order.

Digital natives, such as millennials and Generation Z, especially appreciate the ability to solve problems on their own rather than waiting on hold to speak with a human. Contact center artificial intelligence (AI) can be especially helpful in this regard, and especially over time, as it learns to decipher customer intent and does a better job of pairing customers with the exact resources they need. By automating these processes, businesses can also reduce the call volume to their contact centers.

2. A better employee experience

Contact centers often struggle to retain agents, especially compared to other areas of the business. Automating the contact center can help improve the employee experience for talented representatives the company wants to keep on board.

When a customer has a complex request, contact center automation tools can connect that customer to the agent who is best qualified to assist them. AI-assisted contact center knowledge management software can put the right answers at the agent's fingertips, empowering them to quickly resolve the customer's issues. The agent can rate the quality of the help they've received, giving the AI feedback that improves the answers it provides.

3. Enhanced productivity

With the intelligent assistance contact center automation tools provide, businesses can increase contact center productivity. By making self-service tools available to agents and customers alike, companies can simultaneously reduce the volume of customer requests while building additional capacity to scale 24/7 service. After all, chatbots and self-service tools never sleep. With a more manageable volume of incoming requests, agents are better positioned to handle complex issues with a higher standard of service.

4. Increased revenue and cost savings

Automating the contact center also allows companies to increase revenue. By enhancing the customer experience, businesses are far more likely to retain and attract customers. What's more, businesses can achieve all of these top-level business goals while keeping their contact center investment manageable. "70% to 80% of cost in a contact center is people; the number of people you need is driven by call volume," Verizon Principal CX Consultant Steffen Selbmann explained in a November 2020 webinar. With that fact in mind, businesses can work to minimize costs by reducing incoming requests to the contact center.

Keys to success with call and contact center automation

To fully realize all of the benefits involved with automating the contact center, there are a few things businesses should keep in mind.

1. Think of automation as a process, not a single event

It's tempting to think of automation as a switch that you flip, but it's better described as a process of continuous improvement. Although there will be low-hanging fruit for you to pick, you will also be gradually enhancing the quality of your automation to maintain the customer experience you provide. Accordingly, it's best to view contact center automation as a long-term endeavor rather than a one-and-done initiative.

2. Consider your organization readiness for automation

Automation is not a one-size-fits-all undertaking. Some businesses dip a toe in the water by enhancing their existing interactive voice response (IVR) tools with automated features, for example, while others boldly opt to start from scratch with a brand new automated contact center.

With that in mind, consider your organizational readiness to pursue automation. Once you've determined the degree of automation that makes sense for your company, define the outcome you aim to achieve and specify metrics that will help you measure your progress toward it.

3. Make sure your network supports call and contact center automation

Omnichannel customer engagement is no longer a nice-to-have—it's a must-have. To maximize the benefits associated with automating your contact center, you must engage your customers across all the channels where they spend their time.

All of this depends on a robust, reliable network. Managed network services can help your contact center team put its best foot forward, engaging customers with crystal clear communications over voice and video calls from wherever they happen to be working. For example, a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) can be configured with quality of service settings that prioritize critical voice and video traffic, ensuring that customer communications are always smooth and reliable.

Delight customers and grow your business with contact center automation tools

Businesses that automate the contact center can deliver improved customer experiences and increased employee satisfaction. When pursuing automation for the first time, however, you may benefit from teaming up with an experienced service provider that intimately understands contact center technology and can provide a network service that is up to the task. A trusted partner can help you craft a plan for automating your contact center, ensuring you achieve all of your goals. That way, your business will have everything it needs to delight customers and grow the bottom line well into the future.

Discover how Verizon’s managed network services can help your business deliver a satisfying customer experience.