Posts Tagged ‘artificial intelligence’

How Customer Service Automation Is Revolutionizing Contact Centers

Posted on: August 28th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

In today’s CX-driven world, customers can choose from a number of platforms when they want to communicate with your customer service team. As a result, businesses receive inbound conversations on far more channels than they used to.

It’s clear that your agent team on its own would struggle to respond to all of these incoming conversations that your business receives. However, by automating some of your processes you’ll be able to handle thousands of conversations simultaneously across all channels while keeping customers satisfied.

Implementing customer service automation processes in the call center has many advantages. Here are the top benefits!

Increase your productivity

Just because your agents are on the phone all day long, it doesn’t mean they are making productive calls or being efficient. Many call centers still rely on manual dialers, with agents having to dial numbers themselves. And many of these calls end up lost on answering machines, or with agents waiting too long for a customer to pick up.

Customer service automation can greatly benefit your call center’s productivity. With a predictive dialer, for example, you can automate your dialing process and thus potentially double your efficiency by reaching as many customers as possible.

Indeed, one major advantage of predictive dialers is that they can greatly enhance agent efficiency. Firstly, by relying on a predictive dialer, agents save time as they no longer need to manually dial numbers. Secondly, when an agent finishes their current call, a predictive dialer already has the next call ringing and ready to handle.

Furthermore, you can also provide automated responses to the most recurring customer queries, and thus free up your agents from typing out the same response multiple times a day. In fact, automating some of your workflows can potentially add up to hours of saved time per day.

Deliver better customer experience

Let’s face it, customers rarely look forward to contacting customer service lines. Having to contact a company’s customer service several times, and then being put on hold for several minutes, is clearly a frustrating customer experience.

With proper customer service automation processes, however, customer issues can be easily resolved without them (and you!) having lengthy and inefficient phone calls with customers.

Amongst other things, skills-based routing is a technique being increasingly used to direct customers to an appropriate agent by routing incoming calls to specific agents based on the service requested. As a result, customer experience greatly improves as agents are not only actively talking to customers but are also resolving their issues at potentially the highest level of efficiency.

It is also worth considering that it is increasingly common for companies to use automation tools such as an IVR system to handle their customer service traffic more effectively. However, voice-based IVR systems often mean customers calls take longer than expected, and actually don’t bring the results customers are looking for. So, if you want to unlock the full potential of IVR systems then make sure you opt for a visual IVR. Visual IVRs allow customers to use touch-screen menus to find the answers they’re looking for, instead of waiting for traditional IVR systems as they read out every option.

Lower your costs

As we all know, lowering costs is the number one priority in any call center. Saving costs by reducing staff numbers, however, is a gamble that is not worth taking, as during peak times it may actually end up costing you more in terms of poor service.

In contrast, customer service automation will allow you to cut costs by reducing the amount of labor used on individual tasks, rather than your number of agents. By automating some of your processes, you’ll not only be able to free up your agents from repetitive, low-value activities but also reduce the number of customer calls your call center receives. And, most automation tools are available on a subscription basis, allowing you to only pay for what you use and also easily scale up based on your needs.

So, for example, if your call center receives a lot of repetitive questions, you can assess your calls and automate the repetitive ones, for example, using an IVR feature. The more calls your IVR system can handle the more money you can save on your workforce.

Reduce your agent workload

Handling low-value repetitive tasks, such as answering the most commonly-asked questions a company receives, is a nightmare for any call center agent, a soul-sucking activity which can easily result in them burning out. This is definitely one area where customer service automation can help.

Chatbots, for example, can carry out many kinds of repetitive tasks on behalf of call center agents. In recent years, chat solutions have become massively popular in the call center industry, allowing call centers to reduce agent workload and letting agents focus on higher-value activities.

Another great customer service automation tool is customer self-service. The benefits of self-service are obvious: if your customers can resolve simple queries themselves, this will allow your customer service agents to use the resulting additional time to handle more complex issues. The result will be significantly-reduced customer service call volumes, and so substantially reduced agent workloads.

Customer service automation is more than just about offering customers a more convenient experience. It enhances productivity and quality, while also allowing you to better manage your resources. Make sure to leverage it in order to get the most out of your customer service interactions!

VCC Live® to Participate as a Diamond Partner in the XIV National Customer Service Conference

Posted on: October 10th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

We’re delighted to announce that VCC Live® will be participating as a Diamond Partner in the annual Hungarian National Customer Service Conference, which takes place on 17-19 October. It is an honor to be able to contribute to Hungary’s leading customer service event as the highest-ranked partner, and we are very much looking forward to hearing our fellow customer service experts talk at the conference about their latest experiences and best practices.

This year the conference will take place in Tapolca, near Lake Balaton, attracting industry leaders, customer service professionals, companies and anyone who’s interested in the industry. The event promises to be an unmissable opportunity to gain inspiration, participate in brainstorming sessions and leverage networking.

Furthermore, we’re proud to confirm that Péter Málhai, VCC Live®’s Head of Business Development, will be amongst the impressive lineup of presenters. On day one of the conference Péter will talk about the latest trends in international customer services, and on the following day he will share his thoughts on AI and chatbot usage.

The main focus for this year’s conference is the hotly-debated subject of man vs. machine, with both the latest technological trends and the continuing importance of the human factor being discussed at the event. In addition, there will be exciting customer experience business insight discussions and debates, featuring industrial leaders and experts from throughout Hungary. As gastronomy (an important element of customer care) is the conference’s specific theme, speakers including restaurant owner Hubert Hlatky-Slichter and gastro blogger András Jókuti will share their experiences with attendees.

On the first day of the three-day conference, presenters will discuss the latest customer care methods, highlighting in particular the factors that contribute to the delivery of high-quality customer service and positive customer experience. Attendees will be able to hear about the latest industry trends via case studies, thought-provoking presentations and exciting roundtable discussions.

The second day will focus on the human factor. What are the challenges of human resource management in our digitalized world? What will the role of humans be in a world where most activities can be carried out by robots? The conference’s keynote speakers, including experts from Microsoft, Chatler.ai and Comnica, will discuss various topics, including the rise of artificial intelligence, chatbots, and trending digital solutions, and will have all the answers to share with attendees.

During the afternoon, attendees will be invited to take a gastronomic journey through presentations by prestigious gastro bloggers and fine-dining restaurant owners, who will share their thoughts on the challenges of gastro customer care.

The third day will be devoted to case studies and success stories. Management experiences, gamification, cloud-based solutions and text analytics will be discussed by various panels of experts. The conference will be closed by Gabriella Jakupcsek and Iván Fenyő, who will talk about the power of communication.

We hope to see you at the conference! After all, customers are at the heart of every organization…

To register as an attendee, or to see the conference schedule and more details, please click here: www.uszkonferencia.hu 

Microsoft Launches AI Features for Dynamics 365

Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

We’re always excited to hear about the latest technology advancements in the call center and customer service industry. And luckily, there are plenty of them at the moment.  

The industry’s leading companies are always competing with their rivals to rule the market. And in order to rule the market, they need to continuously innovate their technologies and processes.

Just recently we talked about Google Duplex and Contact Center AI, Google’s artificial intelligent applications that are capable of communicating with customers over the phone.

This time, it was Microsoft’s turn to introduce something big, and they certainly did: the tech giant announced the release of new AI features in Dynamics 365, a CRM system that was introduced two years ago.

It seems that the rise of machine learning continues to grow, but how does the latest AI technology affect the customer service industry, and more precisely call centers? Read on to find out for yourself!

What is Dynamics 365?

Two years ago Microsoft – in a similar way to other tech giants – embarked on a mission to help businesses accelerate their digital transformations by launching a business application, called Dynamics 365.

Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based system that brings together the best of Microsoft’s customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions into one integrated, cloud-based service.  

Amongst other things, the software has a customer service module that helps businesses manage and track customer service activities, while allowing them to deliver a fast and personalized service.

This customer service hub was designed to help customer service agents keep up with ever-changing customer demands. Its advanced features allow call centers to track customer issues, record every customer interaction, manage performance and productivity through reports and dashboards, and create and schedule services.   

Also included are some more call center-specific features that help empower customer service representatives to deliver an exceptional customer service across several channels.

Dynamics 365 AI features

Two years after its introduction, a number of AI features have now been added to Dynamics 365.

By announcing these new features, Microsoft has taken its journey into AI one step further. As Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Alysa Taylor noted, “the new class of AI applications will not only unify customer data but also infuse it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions”.

The solution now includes customer data and insights, LinkedIn integration, and other intelligent technology, such as machine learning and predictive analytics.

Previously, Microsoft introduced Dynamics 365 AI for Sales, its first AI features added to the Dynamics 365 solution, with the aim of helping sales teams improve their performance by using features such as sentiment analysis and warnings about deals being at risk.

Now, the company has further expanded its portfolio by adding two new solutions, Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service and Market Insights. The Customer Service feature focuses on leveraging natural language understanding to predict customer service problems, as well as helping with the deployment of chatbots that can handle customer queries.

The Market Insights app will allow businesses to access a great amount of social sentiment, and help them increase their brand loyalty by analyzing these insights.

Calls centers utilizing Dynamics 365 AI

This set of new AI features introduced by Microsoft is clearly promising for call centers.

However, it’s important to mention here that AI usage is nothing new in the customer service industry. In fact, most call centers already utilize AI solutions, such as virtual agents who resolve customer issues on agents’ behalf, and virtual assistants that support them with suggested answers during a customer interaction.

The main advantage of AI solutions in call centers is that they can improve customer experience by making it more personalized. And, as already mentioned in a previous article, when it comes to customer care, personalized customer service can make all the difference in our ever-more competitive business environment.

AI solutions used in call centers can analyze huge amounts of customer data, including purchase history, and are able to use this information to deliver personalized offers.

Furthermore, as Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service is able to predict customer service problems, it can allow call centers to increase their First Call Resolution by helping agents resolve queries more efficiently. In addition, AI-powered chatbots can help provide a fast and smooth call center experience for customers, and thus increase customer satisfaction significantly.

For example, chatbots can be programmed to answer routine questions and therefore take responsibility for some automated conversations with your customers – however, if any problem occurs, a live agent can always intervene in the situation and take over the communication.

Chatbots can also carry out repetitive tasks instead of call center agents, thus allowing agents to handle more complex tasks. As a result, agent workload and potential burn out, due to the struggle of dealing with never-ending and low-value repetitive tasks, can be reduced.

Take away

There’s no doubt that AI technologies have already changed a multitude of industries, including the call center and customer service industry. There are many pending questions yet to be answered, but one thing is certain: artificial intelligence continues to evolve each year, impacting how we live and work.

Forward-thinking call centers already leverage solutions as Google’s Contact Center AI and Amazon’s Dynamics 365 AI on a daily basis. And we expect many more solutions to appear in the next few years.

Contact Center AI: What’s Behind Google’s Latest Technology

Posted on: September 6th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

Call centers keep looking for smarter and smarter ideas that enable them to further improve their customer experience. This year, it seems that call centers may greatly benefit from the latest technology advancements released by Google.

The tech giant introduced not only Google Duplex earlier this year, an artificial intelligence that is capable of making phone calls and communicating as if it were a real person but is also building a complete solution which it calls Contact Center AI.

It’s clear that the aim of the Contact Center AI solution is to take customer service to a whole new level. But what’s behind the latest technology launched by Google?

In this article, we’ll show you how the latest tech solution works and how it will affect the customer service industry. Make sure to read on and keep up with the latest news straight from the tech world!

What is Contact Center AI?

There’s no doubt that AI is the future of most businesses, especially where a lot of customer interactions take place.

Luckily, by using comprehensive AI technology, customer service teams can now provide exceptional customer experience to their clients.

At this years’ Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, Google announced that it is developing a contact center AI technology that is able to interact with customers over the phone in the form of a human-sounding voice.

Considering its features, Contact Center AI may remind you of Google Duplex, but Google’s spokesperson confirmed that the two are distinct products that share some components.

As we already talked about in our previous article, as Google Duplex can conduct conversations without anyone ever knowing they were speaking to an AI, the new technology raises privacy and security concerns.

With Contact Center AI, however, it is customers who initiate the calls and then are connected to a smart bot that is able to understand them instead of making them wait on the line while listening to poorly-designed IVRs.

Consequently, chances are this technology has more potential to transform the call center industry in the future.

How does it work?

Call Center AI basically connects a caller with a virtual agent, which tries to resolve the customer issues just like any bot would, but with much more sophisticated natural language understanding. If the issue is too complex and requires human interaction, the AI passes the customer to a live agent and acts as an assistant to help them resolve the issues by providing information and solutions relevant to the conversation in real time.

Indeed, by using the contact center AI released by Google, businesses can build their own virtual agents that are able to speak with customers based on company knowledge. Customer conversations are automated with the use of Dialogflow, a feature created by Google to help companies build interfaces that offer engaging customer interactions.  

Furthermore, as we all know, however up-to-date your technology solutions may be, your customers will always need the human element in the customer journey. Luckily, Google has a solution: in case the virtual agent cannot handle the customer interaction, the Contact Center AI passes customers to live agents and provides valuable agent assistance based on previous interactions, helping customer service reps provide personalized customer service and relevant up/cross-sells.

In a previous article, we already talked about the power of data. And if you’re still not convinced why your business should make good use of the data it accumulates, let’s take a look at the new technology’s Contact Center Analytics feature, which uses company data and customer interactions to train virtual agents to better serve customers.

Take away

Businesses these days need to embrace emerging technologies to ensure that they deliver exceptional customer experience.

Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist for Google AI stated in a post that “the Contact Center AI is a flexible solution that adapts to the needs of each and every call and provides a seamless experience between live and virtual agents, playing as big or as small a role as the situation demands”.  

There’s no doubt that the new technology has the potential to reshape customer interactions, but it remains to be seen whether or not it’ll be a game changer in the call center industry.

What do you think of Google’s Contact Center AI technology? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

How Technology Enhances Customer Service

Posted on: July 11th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

New technologies not only contribute to our daily lives and make everyday activities easier, they’re completely changing the way we live and work. Like it or not, it’s now a fact: technology has become an integral part of our daily routines.

In our competitive the business world, where the importance of delivering exceptional customer experience cannot be emphasized enough, technology has the power to help shape the future of customer service. It’s no surprise then that forward-thinking businesses have started to utilize the current tech boom to this end.

By leveraging the advantages of technological advancements, businesses can more easily satisfy and retain their customers and improve overall customer experience.

In this article, we’ll look at five customer service technology solutions that have already started to shape the future of customer service. Check them out, and make sure you too are leveraging up-to-date technology to deliver better customer experience.

 

Omnichannel communication

Nowadays, more and more businesses are recognizing that a customer journey may begin on one channel and end on a completely different platform.

When it comes to contacting customer service, customers can today take their pick from phone, email, SMS or webchat, and this omnichannel communication allows businesses to personalize their customer service by letting customers communicate via their preferred platform.  

Providing omnichannel customer service is no small feat, but the real challenge businesses have to tackle is to deliver consistent levels of customer service across these channels. Therefore, it is important to ensure that customer communication quality is equal for all the channels you use in order to be able to quickly resolve issues.

And don’t forget, sometimes less is more: instead of being present on every platform, make sure to focus on the channels your customers want you to be present on.

 

Social media

Chances are you’ve checked your personal social media platforms at least once in the last few hours, and perhaps even came across this article via a social media channel.

There’s no doubt that the popularity of social media platforms is continuing to grow, and a number of platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have turned into important customer service channels.

These days, instead of calling a customer service representative, customers prefer to go online and check social media platforms to get real-time information.

And as conversations on social media channels are often in the public domain, your potential customers can see how your business handles customer queries (for more info, check out our article on the importance of online reviews). If you resolve an issue quickly on a channel seen by your customers, they will be reassured that you’re taking good care of them. On the other hand, unanswered or negative comments will easily scare potential customers away.

 

Self-Service is the new customer service

Self-service is definitely a hot topic in customer service at the moment. And with consumer behavior developing as it is, it is really important for businesses to keep up with these new trends.

Customers today are looking to solve their problems themselves, rather than dialing customer service lines. As a result, self-service options have become ever-more popular for companies, with a knowledge base or FAQ on their website allowing them to provide a comparatively simple way to manage customer queries.

Other popular self-service options include the implementation of chatbots (more on this below) and self-service IVR solutions. Giving customers information quickly helps reduce call volumes, while a well-constructed FAQ helps narrow down calls to those involving more complex issues.

 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to change customer service as we’ve never seen before, with chatbots undoubtedly being the next big thing in the tech world. According to research conducted by Oracle, 80% of businesses are already using or plan to use chatbots in their customer service by 2020.

Evolving chatbot technology is becoming more and more important in customer service, as it is increasingly being proved that chatbots can deliver exceptional customer experience. While customer service reps can struggle to respond to all incoming conversations, chatbots can intervene and easily handle thousands of conversations across several channels.

Implementing a chatbot solution as part of customer service activity is an inevitability for any organization that wants to deliver exceptional customer experience – it’s just a matter of time.

 

Data analytics

As data continually flows through call centers, forward-thinking companies have started to utilize this information to deliver improved customer experience. Data analytics, for example, allows you to better understand your customers’ behaviors and needs, and thus help you make your customer service more personalized.

But if you want your customer service reps to use data to help deliver prompt customer service, then you’ll need to invest in tools that support it. By using powerful reporting tools and call center software solutions, your customer service reps will be able to turn data – such as call recordings, chats, social media messages and SMS messages – into valuable customer feedback.

VCC Live®’s call center software is a good example of what can be achieved, offering real-time statistics that allow you to understand and continually improve your customer interactions.

 

As you can see, evolving technology is continuing to reshape the business world, and customer service departments are no exception. But if you make sure to keep up with the latest trends, you too will be able to utilize up-to-date technology to deliver exceptional customer experience.

Google Duplex technology: will the AI affect call centers?

Posted on: June 13th, 2018 by dorarapcsak No Comments

There’s been a lot of buzz around newly emerging, ever-more sophisticated AI technologies that will transform our business and everyday lives.

There’s no doubt that technology is continuing to evolve at lightning speed, and it’s difficult to forecast how far it will advance in the coming years.

The most recent advancement came with Google’s announcement of its “Google Duplex” system at its 2018 developer conference. With Google Duplex, the tech giant took AI technology to a whole new level, creating artificial intelligence that can be used even without you knowing it.

But how will technologies such as Google Duplex affect our lives in the long-term? And more importantly, will they reshape the call center industry?

What is Google Duplex?

During Google’s annual developer conference, the company CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Google Duplex, the company’s latest AI technology. Google Duplex is the technology behind a new Google Assistant feature that allows it to place phone calls on a user’s behalf for appointments that need to be made over the phone.

The system makes conversations sound as natural as possible, with a human-sounding voice being used instead of a robotic one.

According to Google, this new technology is able to understand “complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks”. Furthermore, Google Duplex is able to converse with employees and even respond to unexpected questions in real time.

The aim of developing Google Duplex was to create artificial intelligence that could make calls when it wasn’t convenient for the user. Google Assistant is already able to find local businesses and dial numbers, but Google Duplex takes things one step further: it can speak with someone at the relevant business, and make an appointment on the user’s behalf.

How does it work?

Google Duplex relies on a machine learning model drawn from real-world phone conversations. It’s no doubt that this new technology is a breakthrough in speech recognition and text-to-speech synthesis, especially in terms of conversation purpose.

As you can see in its demo video, Google Duplex sounds so natural that it can conduct conversations without anyone ever knowing they were speaking to an AI. To make the technology sound even more natural, Google mimicked people’s speech imperfections, resulting in, for example, the AI waiting a few seconds before it responses, or even saying “hmm” as it processes information.

Furthermore, Duplex also manages to master human attentiveness. In the demo, Duplex was required to reserve a table while communicating with a non-native English speaker at the other end of the phone. Despite the linguistic difficulties, the technology managed to react to unexpected questions and completed the task successfully. Amazing, right?

Will such AI technologies affect the call center industry?

It’s true that the technology behind Google Duplex sounds miraculous and very futuristic, but it does raise a number of questions, one being: how will it affect the call center industry, which typically deals with customer interactions via the phone?

As we all know, these days call centers support their customers using a variety of communication channels. And while each communication channel is extremely essential for the proper functioning of any customer service department, inbound and outbound calls remain the foremost communication channel for call centers.  

So, as Google Duplex now seems capable of making phone calls and communicating as if it were a real person, it is likely to raise concerns in the call center industry. If AI is already able to make calls, how long will it take for it to learn how to receive calls? And as a result, will similar AI products take away center agents’ jobs?

At the moment it seems such a situation is far in the future. We all know that call centers handle a wide range of activities, including customer service, technical support, telesales, debt collection, surveying etc. As a result, call center agents have to be able to handle complex and varied-topic conversations with customers.

This is in complete contrast to the current capabilities of Duplex. Google’s engineers themselves stated in a post that “Duplex can only carry out natural conversations after being deeply trained in such domains. It cannot carry out general conversations”.

AI technology in call centers: friend or foe?

So, what is the future for AI in the call center industry?

Over the last few decades, we have seen artificial intelligence technology advance rapidly, with ever-more sophisticated chatbots coming onto the market (if you’re into robots as as much as we are, then make sure to check out our infographic on how chatbots learned to speak!).

As we already talked about in a previous article, the concept of chatbot usage is not uncommon in the call center industry, with customer service chatbots already starting to work alongside call center agents. However, rather than stealing each other’s jobs, together they form the perfect team: chatbots carry out routine work, while call center agents focus on more complex issues.

And this, we believe, is also the future of AI technology in the call center industry. Rather than replace human call center agents, the ultimate use of AI technology in call centers will be simply to help improve overall customer experience. As chatbots have already shown they can efficiently and effectively handle repetitive and monotonous tasks, we trust that in the future, voice-powered AI technology – like Google Duplex – will also be a force working with call center agents, rather than against them.

But, as the saying goes, only time will tell…