Increase your call centre efficiency tenfold through Voice AI
An effective customer engagement strategy can help improve the customer experience and journey
Whether they’re in retail, financial services, internet services, or logistics, businesses are willing to pay top dollar to increase and maintain their customers’ happiness — that’s why the outbound customer service market is worth about US$300 billion, and the inbound CS market is worth US$1 trillion.
The millions spent to reach, activate, and acquire new customers through conventional channels such as cold calls and advertising, or more modern online acquisition marketing campaigns, all come down to the same objective: taking care of customers in every stage of the process, keeping them happy enough and engaged so the lifetime value (LTV) of customers can justify the customer acquisition cost (CAC).
Today, traditional call centres still play a vital role in customer service and CX. Studies have shown that over 85% of businesses still use dedicated customer support teams in call centres as part of their customer engagement strategy. These teams vary in size and complexity, from three-man setups to thousand-strong departments, all performing multiple functions and services such as:
Businesses often conduct telemarketing to raise awareness about new products, services, and other offerings to existing customers or potential new ones. However, the success of a telemarketing campaign depends heavily on factors like smart targeting, sales agent efficiency, and call centre scalability.
Like telemarketing, tele-sales advocate new offerings to customers, but with a direct sales approach. Optimal outcomes depend on accurate targeting. Data analysis and staff coaching can also improve sales efficiency over time.
- Important message delivery
Businesses may contact their customers to inform them about order validation or incoming delivery, or when an unexpected situation crops up. For example, if a customer subscribes to certain services that become temporarily unavailable, the service provider needs to notify those customers sooner rather than later to avoid potential dissatisfaction. This is a process that needs to be done efficiently and quickly.
- Information verification
Businesses such as restaurants, beauty salons, and hospitals need to contact their customers for appointment reminders and so forth, which tend to be routine by nature but large in volume. These day-to-day interactions ensure the completion of services to customers’ satisfaction. Optimal performance depends on factors like timeliness, scalability, and automation.
- Payment collection
Financial service companies and financial institutions (FIs) depend heavily on this type of customer engagement. Companies operating in the supply chain industry also rely on payments collection to maintain their cash flow. Successful payment collection through call centre operations depends heavily on efficiency, regulatory compliance, and the presence of specially trained representatives who understand the terms that will be used.
- Know Your Customer (KYC) processes
When new customers sign up for certain services, businesses must collect relevant personal information for better customer service and regulatory compliance. These KYC processes can be lengthy and complicated, with some customers abandoning signup mid-way. However, a well-designed process and an effective guidance mechanism for customers can minimise the turnover rate and customer acquisition costs.
- Cash-On-Delivery coordination
Online shopping is booming across emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere. As cash is still the major medium for retail in these markets, Cash-On-Delivery (COD) orders still make up a great proportion of transactions. A lack of close coordination between merchants, logistic partners, and buyers can lead to high transactional and miscellaneous costs. An efficient customer engagement strategy may help facilitate the necessary coordination between parties, lowering transaction and miscellaneous costs in the process.
- Inbound customer care
This is a broad category for a wide variety of customer interactions, including information enquiry, services signup, and customer feedback. Businesses and their customer service teams need to differentiate and understand their customers’ demands when an inbound contact is initiated by the customer. Customer service teams need to handle a wide diversity of demands, maintain a high availability and have the capacity to serve a high load of customer calls, which often take a toll on customer service representatives and lead to longer wait times for customers.
Taken together, these services are becoming increasingly inefficient and unsustainable for call centre businesses. Across the board, many call centres experience difficulty finding and retaining talent, complying with stringent compliance requirements, and keeping up with inefficient processes — all of which hinder optimal outcomes and affect the business relationship with customers.
Traditionally, call centre management and operations are time consuming and inefficient. Routine tasks such as hiring, training, and ensuring compliance are full of tedious administrative steps, all of which require little creativity but consume enormous amounts of time.
Process automation is a great way to increase your call centre efficiency and better fulfil customer service demands — it has become indispensable for modern call centres because of how great it can improve operational efficiency and scalability.
The most common process automation involves re-establishing customer service processes as automated workflows. This can be done with software by providers such as Genesys and Zendesk. However, these software’s workflows are preset and still heavily depend on human labour to complete the task at hand. As a result, while this type of automation does alleviate manual and routine tasks to a certain extent, businesses will continue to face major challenges in achieving true automation.
The future is automated, and we are seeing the next generation of call centre tools leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in voice recognition, generation, as well as natural language understanding and processing.
Voice channels will continue to remain the mainstream way for businesses and customers to communicate with each other. Compared to other channels, voice is the most efficient, effective, and accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds.
However, call centres must also contend with the high human resources costs to keep pace with customer demands and the high volume of inbound and outbound calls. In fact, AI technology may be the key to this conundrum thanks to its high concurrency (capacity of engaging customers using telephone calls) and scalability.
Enter Voice AI: a platform that passes on a high volume of repetitive and routine tasks to voice assistants, thus freeing up human agents’ time to focus on more complex matters. Each of the above scenarios we mentioned above can now be handled partly or completely by Voice AI robots.
Voice AI can help to automate processes like quality assurance and data processing (such as leveraging Automatic Speech Recognition to convert audio to textual data) in real-time, which would otherwise take customer service representatives a long time to complete manually. Additionally, as voice (audio) data is traditionally more difficult to manually store, analyse, and use, integrating Voice AI into your customer engagement strategy will help automate these processes, which will lead to incremental improvements in the overall customer service quality over time.
Studies have also shown that Voice AI creates more meaningful opportunities for humans. Further, this synergy and interchangeable AI-human paradigm can vastly outperform human-only customer service teams up to tenfold, particularly in call centres where a large customer base needs to be served day in and day out.
Adopting AI in call centre operations does not need to be a complicated affair.
Before introducing a full-fledged AI software, businesses can choose to use AI for customer engagement simply by integrating the API (Application Programming Interface) with their existing customer service software – allowing AI to immediately become part of the workflows, handling virtually unlimited incoming and outgoing customer service tasks 24/7, without pause.