Five emerging call centre technologies that boost performance
The call centre industry has shed its reputation for poor service by embracing new technologies.
Call centres were once the butt of jokes, renowned for poor service and dreaded by customers faced with dealing with them. No longer. Today’s call centres rely on rapidly evolving technologies to provide a richer level of customer service than ever before. They have become contact centres, able to provide unified communications: a seamless response to customers reaching out across any channel, from voice to social media, and to do so 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Digital technologies underpin this transformation. Automation, digitalisation and artificial intelligence already drive contact centre performance and are advancing rapidly. The market research analyst Gartner predicted some time ago that by the end of 2018, virtual digital assistants will be able to recognise individuals by face and voice, and to do so across multiple channels. “The last mile for multichannel and exceptional customer experiences will be seamless two-way engagement with customers and will mimic human conversations,” it forecasted.
Yet while digitalisation and automation offer speed and efficiency, contact centres also recognise that customers want the option of speaking to a human, especially for more complex needs – 73% of consumers want a human when seeking advice or looking to resolve a complaint according to Accenture research.
Continuing the drive towards automation while maintaining the human element will be an ongoing challenge for contact centres in the years ahead. But the sector has a range of innovative tools at its disposal. Here are just five new technologies set to play a huge role in the contact centre of the future.
- Biometric authentication is a technology that enables customers to use their voice print to prove they are who they say they are, and then to access other services and applications, or to complete particular transactions. The advantages of such tools are numerous: the identification process for customers becomes much closer to frictionless, fraud is reduced and call-handling times are should be shorter.
- Secure screen sharing means contact agents can show key materials to customers with whom they’re dealing on their own devices, send and receive documents live and securely, and sign documents electronically in real time. The opportunity is to enhance customer interactions, simplifying the conversation with visual aids and accelerating processing times; that has the potential to drive both business efficiency and customer satisfaction.
- Virtual digital assistants will be the agents of the future in automated contact centres, providing an always-on service for customers who want to deal with organisations at any time of the day or night. Such agents can handle high volumes of routine queries, leaving human advisers with more time to focus on customers who have more complicated requirements – and they can operate flexibly across a range of channels, delivering a much more personalised experience than traditional automated contact centre tools.
- Speech and text analytics technologies now employ intelligent tools that can analyse the mood and voice of customers in near real time. That potentially enables the contact centre to function as a rich source of data and business insight for the organisation. Such data may help businesses identify particular problems or issues with which customers frequently express frustration or even to earmark new opportunities to build stronger relationships with individual customers and broader customer segments.
- Advanced call recording services can help organisations to add value while meeting their compliance obligations. While organisations in many industries are now legally required to record customer interactions for compliance purposes, facilities built into recording services can deliver gains in areas such as fraud detection, secure payments, speech analytic and business processing efficiency.
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