Improve the Customer Experience with Conversational Service Automation

It’s always great to win new customers, but most companies understand that it is the ability to keep existing customers that will drive their long-term success. However, customer loyalty is increasingly elusive in a fast-moving world where consumers have a plethora of choices. Research shows that U.S. companies lose more than $136 billion a year due to customer attrition.

People today simply won’t tolerate a poor customer experience. According a new survey, 82 percent of U.S. consumers have stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service, and 85 percent of those have warned others about doing business with the company.

In an effort to reverse this trend, many customer service organizations are ramping up their use of artificial intelligence, automation and analytics to gain a clearer picture of customer expectations and experiences. An emerging category of solutions known as Conversational Service Automation (CSA) provides a seamless way to integrate these advanced capabilities with existing contact center platforms.

CSA effectively connects digital touchpoints with analog touchpoints to create a seamless customer engagement across multiple communication channels. For example, a CSA system might initially connect callers with a chatbot or voice assistant to answer questions or guide the caller through a procedure. If the process becomes more complex, calls are seamlessly shifted to a human agent. At that point, the CSA system continues to function as an intelligent assistant by providing the agent with dashboard access to an integrated knowledge bank, customer history, guided workflows and more.

Big Talk with Conversational Service Automation

From a customer perspective, CSA delivers exceptional value by keeping the focus on conversational experiences. American consumers overwhelmingly prefer voice communications when they require assistance, according to a new survey in which more than 80 percent of respondents said they prefer to speak to a live agent.

However, connecting with live agents has become more difficult during the ongoing pandemic. The shift to work-from-home contact center operations combined with significant spikes in call volumes have dramatically impacted agent availability. The survey found that 33 percent of callers waited more than 30 minutes on hold, with 5 percent waiting more than two hours. Seventy-two percent said they eventually ended the call while still waiting to speak with someone.

CSA’s mix of AI, automation and analytics can help organizations handle evolving demands by linking human and digital conversations in a way that improves responsiveness and reduces the need to put customers on hold. Additionally, advanced analytics contribute to improved call resolution by providing context and insight about the customer’s issue.

The Good Word for Contact Centers

Contact center operations have always generated huge volumes of raw voice data, but it has been difficult to extract insights due to the challenge of analyzing conversations. CSA uses several subsets of AI such as natural language processing and computational linguistics to systematically analyze conversational data to identify and quantify customer opinions. It allows organizations to monitor and evaluate not only what customers are saying, but also the tone of their voice. CSA can also extract subjective information from text records, survey responses and social media posts. The CSA system then presents all this data to agents in a unified dashboard view, giving them real-time access to correlation analysis, root cause analysis, trends analysis and even solution suggestions.

According to a recent Opus Research study, contact center agents say real-time conversations help them understand customer intent and match objectives and requests with the sources of relevant data. Agents also said CSA improved their efficiency by automating repetitive but essential tasks such as post-call summation and reporting. Managers, meanwhile, reported measurable ROI and payback produced by greater agent efficiency, reduced average hold times and faster detection of root cause. They also report that CSA enables improved agent evaluation with real-time analysis of key performance indicators such as call volumes, first call resolution and customer sentiment.

Forget the old bromide that talk is cheap — conversations have immense value for your customer service operations. CSA solutions help give your customers a voice and your representatives valuable insights for improving the customer experience.