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Blog | Aug 11, 2020

The Case for Contact Center Self-Service During the Pandemic & Beyond

By Michael Marchuk
VP Global Advisory Programs
Read Time: 3:28

By now, you’re already aware that ‘the world has changed’ and ‘we’re in unprecedented times.’ It’s likely that your contact center has already transitioned to some sort of virtual connection, allowing agents to work from home where they can, but this has introduced all sorts of issues related to communications infrastructure, at-home office space and employee management. In fact, according to a recent Genesys survey, the COVID-19 crisis is even changing the way customers connect with your contact center. Rather than calling into an agent, customers are using electronic communications in a much greater capacity:

  • E-mail up 51%
  • Web chat up 47%
  • Social media up 37%
  • Call abandonment up 10%

It's very likely that your contact center employees weren’t allowed to work from home prior to the pandemic. The transition to remote working structure has likely brought up a lot of concerns about employees work from home, since it’s more difficult to manage remote teams. According to the Genesys survey, there is a general concern about the risks of having employees work from home with nearly 41% of respondents identifying potential security and fraud risks. These concerns are understandable, but what if there was a more secure way to allow customers to get the help they need when they reach out to your contact center?

Affects on Customer Service and Employee Productivity

According to research done by McKinsey, nearly two-thirds of customers try self-service options before they reach for the phone to call into your contact center. A solid, self-service technology infrastructure with knowledge bases, FAQs, community forums, mobile apps, AI-enhanced chat bots, and websites, may be able to significantly reduce the volume of calls into live agents while boosting overall customer-satisfaction by giving them a way to service their own requests quickly and at any time of the day or night. Working with your existing technology and systems, a digital workforce can help you create a robust self-service infrastructure quickly without any associated downtime.

With your contact center teams working from home, the challenges of productivity can be magnified as many workers are facing issues with family needs, work space, and technology limitations. School-aged children are now required to learn at home during their typical school times. To make matters more complex, these workers generally don’t have the same type of well-defined workspace as they did in the contact center which introduces special conflicts with others in the home that need to work or learn. Finally, the bandwidth required to create a positive customer experience may be impacted by multiple people engaging in online video learning or web conferences. These all impact the productivity of the at-home contact center worker.

Digital Workers in the Contact Center

In addition to creating a robust self-service infrastructure to help with customer service, digital workers can also enable unique customer-facing service options like mobile apps, websites, or chat bots while maintaining security and flexibility. These front-end solutions don’t require a heavy integration layer to provide a connection to your internal systems. By using lightweight, no-code intelligent automation, these customer-facing solutions can be quickly and securely connected to any internal system, while providing the governance required to operate a telecommunication contact center. By building a digital workforce to support these customer interactions, you can substantially improve customer service. According to the McKinsey report, “effectively deploying conversational AI can create a twofold improvement in customer experience; reduce cost to serve by 15 to 20 percent; improve churn, upsell, and acquisition by 10 to 15 percent; and result in a fourfold increase in employee productivity.” These are dramatic customer service improvements that don’t increase the number of human employees required in your contact centers.

With all of the changes your business has already experienced, no doubt you’re looking for ways to improve the interactions you have with your customers, not just to keep them but to improve the level of service you offer them in a big way. What would happen if your contact center had a digital workforce that could reduce the cost to service your customers while increasing your customer experience and, according to McKinsey, make your employees 400% more productive? It kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

Tags: Contact Center, Executive Insights, Industry Trends, Third Party Research

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