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Contact Center Automation Trends: Don’t Overlook Call Automation

Simone Somekh

September 20, 2022

Running a contact center has become an increasingly expensive and challenging operation. Costs are up, agent attrition rates are high, and hiring new agents has been difficult; all of this has resulted in longer wait times and a decline in resolution rates, which ultimately lead to a poor customer experience. 

Whether their customer interactions are mostly inbound or outbound, more and more contact centers are looking into digital transformation and automation as the ingredients for a winning strategy to overcome the ongoing crisis. These technologies and solutions may look “new” today, but they are set to become the industry standard within a few years. Early adopters are certainly going to reap the benefits and be ahead of the learning curve.

As you map out a strategy to automate your contact center channels, you might face the question of which channels are worth investing in the most. Which channels should you be focusing on as you plan a digital-first approach to customer interactions?

In this article, we’ll explore the ramifications of contact center automation and explain why you should not overlook voice-first channels and call automation as you plan the future of your contact center.

Which Contact Center Channels Can Be Automated?

Contact center automation is the process of adopting technological solutions that process and respond to customer service queries automatically. Of course, many internal workflows within the contact center can be automated; but, most importantly, the channels that customers use to interact with the contact center can be automated using artificial intelligence.

Learn more: Contact Center Outsourcing vs. Contact Center Automation

Automation of chat contact channels: Chatbots are available to customers 24/7 and can easily source the answers to frequently asked questions. A chatbot is usually available on the company’s website, but they can also be integrated with popular social media and messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Automation of voice contact channels: Call automation for call centers is not an entirely new concept. It became popular in the 1980s with IVR (interactive voice response) technology and the use of DTMF responses (dual tone multi frequency). In recent years, voice automation has significantly evolved, with the emergence of conversational voice AI (artificial intelligence), which is a more sophisticated technology than IVR.

Conversational AI Is Booming Right Now

Conversational AI is one of the biggest trends to monitor right now. A new report published by Research and Markets estimates that the conversational AI platform market will reach $13.2 billion by 2027, with North America leading the market, followed by Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

The report suggests that 36% of enterprises will shift their customer support function entirely to virtual assistants—such as voicebots and chatbots—within the next decade. AI-enabled interactions allow for hyper-personalized experiences across multiple channels and platforms, while servicing customers around the clock.

Voice-led tools and technologies are booming—also thanks to the prevalence of voice assistants and smart speakers like Apple’s Siri and Amazon Echo. Deloitte estimates that, by 2030, there will be a proliferation of voice-led technologies all over the world.

In customer service, voicebots like Skit.ai’s Digital Voice Agents can handle conversations with multiple back-and-forth, contextual interactions, which have a much more natural feel and can actually lead to a problem resolution.

The Benefits of Voice Calls as a Contact Channel

Text-based contact channels — such as live web chat, chatbots, and social media apps — are particularly popular among younger users, such as millennials and Gen Z customers. Many people are used to both texting and speaking on the phone, but younger people generally prefer texting, while adult and older people prefer voice calls.

One possible limitation of chat-based tools for customer service and customer interactions in general is that they require some degree of familiarity with the chat tools themselves. Users who are not tech-savvy and are not familiar with these tools — such as older users — may find these channels more difficult to use.

Additionally, some users prefer the immediacy of phone calls, which can feel more personal and more suitable to discuss complex issues.

The Voice Automation & Customer Experience Metrics You Should Know

If you think your company might be overlooking voice calls as a contact channel, you should take a look at these statistics about voice-based communications:

  1. A report on contact centers and customer experience published by CFI Group in 2020 showed that phone calls are still the preferred customer service channel, with 76% of respondents saying that they seek customer service over the phone.
  2. A Stanford Study conducted in 2016 revealed that speech recognition software writes text messages more quickly than thumbs. According to the study, dictating a text in English is 3 times faster than typing; speech-to-text (STT) also has an error rate 20.4% lower than typing. The researchers got similar results when they conducted the experiment with Mandarin Chinese: dictation was 2.8 times faster than typing.
  3. Another study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology indicated that talking by phone or over a computer creates a stronger social bond than communicating by text or email.
  4. Smoother interactions with a company’s contact center and a faster resolution contribute to a positive customer experience; we know that customer experience contributes to fostering a customer’s brand loyalty and willingness to spend more.
  5. A study by Gartner indicated that artificial intelligence was the most prevalent technology for investment to improve customer experience in 2021. Among the most common uses of AI to improve CX, the study highlighted:

Learn more: The Unique Advantages of Skit.ai, a Speech-first Voice AI Platform

The existing data indicates that, despite the emergence of new technologies over the past decades, voice is still a winning channel. That’s why companies should not overlook voice calls, as they are still a powerful and popular channel to interact with customers.

Call automation enables a call center to take and initiate an unlimited number of calls at the same time, assisting customers in need with inbound calls and reaching consumers with outbound calls, and escalating the more complex calls to human agents. As you prioritize voice, investing in call automation is key.

Do you want to learn more about how you can adopt Voice AI? Use the chat tool below to book a demo with one of our experts!


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