The heat is on for contact centers to keep up with growing call volume. Spurred on by a pandemic that drags on and a critical agent shortage, contact centers are under pressure to serve up positive experiences for customers. The current crisis has led to the conclusion that you simply can’t scale compelling customer experience with just humans. Today’s contact centers are turning to AI and machine learning solutions to manage peak loads and allow workers to focus on those tasks that matter the most.
In this second article in the “Digital RX for CX” series that focuses on solving contact center pain points, Venu Gooty, Vice President-Transformation and Strategy, HGS Digital, shares his insights on what’s driving today’s high call volumes in contact centers and how digital solutions can offer the right remedy.
What is driving today’s high call volumes?
Today’s contact centers are struggling to understand drivers of high call volume and the opportunities to optimize customer interactions. Traditionally, content centers have not effectively leveraged technology to understand call drivers, which can be used to identify interactions that can be optimized, streamlined or automated. The result is that when there is a spike in call volume due to seasonality, special promotions or a crisis like the pandemic, businesses are still relying solely on humans to answer all of those queries. That is creating significant challenges amidst the talent hiring crisis across industries.
What is the Impact of failing to address high call volumes?
Failure to effectively address high call volume can result in dire outcomes for organizations. An increase in frustrated customers can lead to lower satisfaction, loss of business and brand reputational damage in social media. There are several ways that technology can be leveraged to minimize any negative impact of high call volumes. First, enabling tools like Interactive Voice Assistance (IVA) supported by natural language processing (NLP) allows contact centers to identify customer intents and immediately respond and resolve a good portion of customer queries. Second, optimizing core channels including websites, mobile and social media can direct customers to self-service options such as knowledge bases or chat bots. Third, providing agents with tools that provide quick access to information can enable them to provide quick customer responses.
What top three steps can contact centers take now to resolve high call volumes?
First, start by identifying why customers are calling. Analyzing existing data or running a couple thousand calls through an AI engine will provide a solid initial review of call drivers. By identifying those drivers, you are in a better position to assess which types of interactions or tasks can be automated.
Second, provide customers with self-service options via web and mobile channels. Working with web, mobile and social teams to identify the point of origination allows you to provide self-serve capabilities around specific interactions.
Third, provide appropriate tools and training to agents to empower them during customer interactions. A lot of institutional knowledge currently resides within senior agents. We’ve built solutions that allow businesses to capture this tribal knowledge. Given the current labor shortage and high attrition, it’s imperative that contact centers proactively provide newer agents with the right training and access to this tribal knowledge. Agent Assist solutions and other tools can provide agents with that information in specific context to a call. Doing so significantly reduces the frustration of customers and agents alike.
The HGS Digital differentiator
HGS Digital leverages industry-leading technology to transform internal contact centers to technology-enabled contact centers. Our leading six-step CX Optimization methodology provides in-depth analysis to help contact centers identify critical challenges and associated process improvements. Supported by a strong analytics practice with a team of automation and analytics experts, we help contact centers design the right data foundation for their needs. Our solutions focusing on Agent Assist tools, chat bots, customer experience improvement solutions support an end-to-end customer experience strategy for contact centers.
Best HGS Digital Advice
Be aware that there are many tools, technologies and best practices to leverage to address high call volumes. Look beyond outsourcing needs and identify a partner who can help you design a holistic customer experience strategy supported by automation and self-service capabilities. Together, these efforts will allow you to streamline and automate interactions, reducing customer frustration and increasing brand satisfaction in the process.
Need to get a handle on high call volume? Contact an HGS Digital expert to learn how you can reduce high wait times and deliver better customer experiences.