Karen Inbar at NICE explores relieving the burden of repetitive manual work in the contact centre with attended automation.
For contact centre agents, the past year has certainly not been easy. That’s why leading companies are looking at how they can use automation to address the pressures agents have experienced working from home and dealing with massive call volumes from distressed angry customers seeking reassurance from a human voice.
The new pressures put further strain on the stress points that existed in call centres before COVID-19—the challenges of keeping staff up to date with ever-changing tech and regulation, meeting higher customer expectations with a strong customer experience, and driving efficiencies in the contact centre.
In addition, most contact centre managers today face a major headache in driving higher levels of employee engagement and motivation in order to increase retention and performance of agents—especially at a time many of them are experiencing burn-out.
Many agents are frustrated with the technology and processes they use to do their work as well as with the work experience itself. The US Contact Centre Decision-Makers Guide 2021 reveals that 81 percent of contact centre decision-makers agree that multiple copy-and-paste leads to wasted time and errors.
Another 68 percent said that it’s important to reduce after-call work, while 76 percent agreed that agents find it difficult to learn new systems. Perhaps most concerning of all is the finding that repetitive work remains among the top three reasons for agent attrition.
The good news is that contact centre decision-makers are recognizing the role that digital technology can play in resolving some of these challenges. Seven in ten, for instance, report that robotic process automation (RPA) can help to reduce average call handling times.
Attended Automation: the Next Step Forward for Call Centres
The benefits of unattended RPA in the back-office are, of course, well understood at this stage. They reduce costs, enable scalable operations and let people focus on work that requires strategy, creativity and interpersonal skill rather than on repetitive processes.
Now, leading organizations are looking at taking automation a step further by putting robots on the frontline of customer service as enablers for contact centre agents. These desktop robots, also called attended automation, can assist agents to perform efficiently and accurately by taking away the need to manually navigate multiple screens and apps.
Attended and Unattended Robots Working Together
The benefits of automation really begin to compound when attended and unattended process bots are blended to scale operations and drive higher efficiencies. For example, an attended bot could automatically populate a form or provide the agent with links to data and real-time next best-action guidance as they help a customer to open a new bank account.
Unattended bots could be used to generate an e-mail to the client after the call with the agent is complete or to generate and categorize technical support tickets on behalf of the service agents. This combination of attended and unattended technology enables people to focus on adding value rather than on processes and systems.
For automation to be successful and sustainable in a contact centre environment, it needs to enable agents in real-time. Today’s sophisticated blend of cognitive, attended and unattended automation solutions delivers this functionality, helping to bridge the gap between employee engagement, customer experience and cost containment.
Today’s leading call centre operations are leveraging the digital workforce not only to make human agents more productive, but also to give them a better employee experience and to empower them to deliver a better customer experience in turn. This approach satisfies many of the contact centre agent’s core motivations:
- the power to help the customer
- knowing who the customer is when they call
- research support
- guidance around compliance
- ability to work efficiently to help each customer and serve more people
Enabling Contact Centres to Scale and Perform
Most call centres want to drive significant and continuous improvement across six metrics:
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Reduce handle time and increase efficiency
- Increase first contact resolution
- Reduce training time
- Improve compliance and process adherence
- Increase upselling during service calls
Automation enables enterprises to achieve these goals.For more information about NICE - visit the NICE Website
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