Call center technology has always been ahead of the curve, but now it’s evolving at unprecedented rates.
By the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalizing AI, driving an exponential boost in data analytics, according to Gartner.
Data analytics, of course, being among the chief ROI boosters in today’s technology landscape by providing insightful information that businesses use to inform their processes, marketing efforts, customer service, and more.
Keeping with that trend, many of the top call centers have already integrated AI and data analytics into their call center technologies. This has helped empower businesses’ customer service processes, which in turn has helped diminish customer attrition and boost ROI.
One important note is that technically speaking, call center technology typically only covers voice, but as the industry continues to merge both contact center and call centers together, we’re going to take a look at innovative technologies that apply to both terms.
Call Center Technologies in 2021
The call center industry emphasis on technology is not going to change in 2021.
Quite the opposite; we’re set to see a strong upward surge in digital interactions and reliance on developing technologies to make them smoother, more efficient, and more pleasant for customers. In fact, digital customer service interactions across the board will increase by 40% in 2021, according to Forrester.
In other words, with the pandemic causing a pivot towards digital technology in all industries, contact center technology is ahead of the game. Call centers have been in the process of perfecting digital customer interaction for years now with developing AI technology.
And, the demand for quality customer service – something that call centers excel at delivering – will be higher than ever in 2021.
With 59% of consumers caring more about customer experience when they decide what company to support or buy from post-COVID-19, this growing focus on customer service and retention is a wise move indeed.
Call centers are experts in leveraging technology to provide superior customer service outcomes and boosting ROI. Call center solutions are empowered by a variety of evolving technology, but we’ll focus on several main segments:
- AI and automation
- Data analytics
- Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP ) Trunking
- Automatic Call Distributor (ACD)
- Omnichannel support
When properly implemented, call center technologies can be hugely beneficial to your sales funnel in addition to your customer retention and loyalty-building efforts.
A sales funnel is the customer journey, which includes:
- A potential customer becoming aware of your brand, product, and service
- Converting that potential customer into a qualified lead
- Converting the qualified lead into a buyer
New and evolving call center technology has helped augment this process for companies the world over.
Let’s dive now into how AI, cloud, and data analytics are key call center technologies that will drive higher ROI, augment sales, and improve customer service outcomes in 2021 and beyond.
AI, Automation, and Interactive Voice Response
Chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) have become nearly ubiquitous in today’s marketplace.
You’ve certainly experienced it before: landing on a website and being instantly greeted by a chatbot.
Many chatbots are rule-based, which means that they have a database of common responses they can draw from when prompted by a user. They cannot generate their own answers and therefore can be ill equipped to deal with certain customer queries and concerns. This can in turn result in a frustrated customer who has their time wasted by an insufficient chatbot service.
AI-powered chatbots (like ours, featured below), by contrast, use innovative machine learning to generate more organic and precise responses to customer queries. This reduces the likelihood of being misdirected or misunderstood, while improving overall customer experience.
This immediate interaction with the prospective customer helps begin easing them down the sales funnel by providing a direct and easily accessible point of contact, or providing an immediate connection for customers seeking support.
For answering quick questions, 29% of customers chose chatbots and direct messages as their preferred method of contact, according to a CGS survey.
That’s a significant portion of leads and potential customers that your business could lose out on if it does not already feature a chatbot. Innovative call center software and systems are growing in sophistication and application in order to better serve customers.
Interactive Voice Response
IVR is another service that has been long present in the call center industry. IVR is an industry term for something you’ve no doubt experienced: the robotic voice on the other end of a customer service line, which directs you to the appropriate department using touch-tone or voice recognition.
Historically, one of the major drawbacks to IVR is that in complex situations with a variety of responses or issues at play, IVR doesn’t use logic or common sense to understand user intent. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities for IVR to route customers incorrectly.
The good news is that more sophisticated and advanced IVR systems are making far fewer mistakes and growing in applicability. These advanced systems are helping to streamline business processes at a more efficient rate than ever before.
Contact centers are adopting artificial intelligence technologies to enhance traditional chatbot and IVR solutions for a more personal and humanized customer experience.
AI is growing in sophistication each year. Conversational AI, for instance, is developing the ability to easily process and direct customers facing complex, layered difficulty, while still providing a ‘human’ experience.
AI will reduce the time it takes to resolve issues by directing callers to helpful resources, routing them to the appropriate agent or department, and in some cases providing a resolution without getting a live agent involved.
This, in turn, helps boost ROI by improving customer satisfaction and lowering the amount of time they spend on calls, freeing your live agents to focus on the customers who need them most.
In sum, AI automates many of your customer service processes. Automation is one of the easiest ways to reduce expenses and improve customer experience. Predictive dialing, for instance, will save your business time, resources, and money by having numbers automatically dialed and only ever be routed to a service agent if a customer or lead answers.
This can be especially helpful during outbound sales calls where agents are dialing many potential leads and you don’t want to waste expert sales agents on a rote, low-skill, repetitive task.
Leveraging artificial intelligence for automation can improve:
- Repetitive transactions
- Intuitive call routing
- And much more
Frankly, we’ve just scratched the surface of what AI can do to empower your business, but the above represents an overview of the many ways that artificial intelligence technology can augment your funnel and boost ROI.
AI thrives on data.
The more data and real-time analytics you feed your AI system, the more it will be able to improve itself.
In other words, AI, like a human, learns from every interaction. This constant self-improvement helps identify and eliminate uncertainty and improve accuracy in order to provide the best possible customer experience.
So the more data you collect and supply to your AI, the better it will be in boosting your business’s ROI.
But data isn’t only important to your AI.
A Deloitte survey of the call center industry found that 80% of businesses believe that customer feedback is:
- Core to their DNA
- A core input to business decisions
Compared that to 2013, when only 45% of respondents said the same. This represents a trend whereby all industries are using data analytics to better understand their customers and inform business decisions.
In terms of collecting that data, businesses in the Deloitte survey were asked to list the most effective methods of capturing customer feedback. Answers included:
- Customer surveys (77%)
- Call monitoring (64%)
- Social media listening (45%, representing the fastest-growing channel)
Many dashboards are even incorporating real-time analytics into their displays, so agents can monitor the time of a call and compare it to average call time metrics, providing insight into how long these types of calls typically take and informing their next actions.
Screen pop is another powerful analytics tool
Screen pop involves the integration of your phone system with a service agent’s desktop. When your agent answers a call, they’ll receive information regarding the customer that was collected by the IVR.
For inbound calls, that information could include:
- Caller ID
- Automatic number identification
- Dialed Number Identification Service
- Additional info provided to the IVR system
- And more
Not only does this data empower your service agent with the information necessary to come to a faster resolution (thereby saving them time) it also helps prevent the customer from repeating themselves, something they are loath to do.
And best of all, any additional data from the calls can be fed back into the AI system, leading to further self-improvement and providing even more insightful data for future calls.
Data analytics can also help at multiple stages of the sales funnel, including:
- Identifying qualified leads
- Determining the most successful (highest ROI) lead nurturing methods
- Determining best practices for sales agents
- Providing sales agents with information to close sales
Call Center Technology from an Industry-Leading Provider
There’s never been a better time to leverage these call center technologies to the benefit of your business.
For over 33 years, Humach has been helping global brands integrate new technologies to help enhance the customer service experience.
Our powerful and innovative AI technology has helped businesses automate their customer service through:
- Chat services
- SMS/Text services
- Email services
- Natural language processing
- Text-to-speech capabilities
- Voice biometrics
We’re experts at seamlessly integrating new technology into your existing systems, so you can get revenue-boosting call center improvements implemented almost immediately.
We have all that you need to boost your business with traditional or cloud-based call center services.
When you partner with Humach, we can:
- Automate 30% of customer interactions in 120 days or less.
- Improve first contact resolution by 22% via next-generation customer engagement
- Assist with 100% migration of your omnichannel platform to the cloud in 90 days
- Optimize customer service workforce management
- And much more.
If you’re looking to boost lead generation with AI – or just want to take advantage of innovations in phone system technology and customer service delivery – contact us today!