The Contact Center Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future: Part 2

Dec 20, 2021
IT Leadership

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year? The Ghost of Contact Centers Present

call center
Credit: iStock

By Steve Forcum, Sales Engineer, Chief Evangelist, and Podcast Host for Avaya

In part 2 of this 3-part series we are visited by the Ghost of Contact Centers, Present. Tackling elevated customer frustration levels while lowering the overall temperature during the call process is vital, especially during the holidays.

No matter how much automation your organization invests in, the majority of calls must still be processed by subject matter experts. This means callers wait in ever-expanding queues, which can test the patience of even the most forgiving customer. When these callers land on the employee’s desk, they often feel that they know more than the agent does about their issue, which can lead to friction. In reality, every caller, and every call, that an agent handles is different and unique. This requires time spent listening, digesting, researching, and then suggesting potential answers. The more time that is spent in the research and suggest cycle, the longer the waits and the greater the frustration for subsequent callers.

The answer to this fundamental problem? Artificial intelligence (AI). 

Let’s go back to Dickens for a moment. When Scrooge first meets the Ghost of Christmas Present, he is taken aback by the joyful, opulent scene, and frankly, he’s overwhelmed! Your employees might be feeling the same way about AI and the abundant opportunities that come with it. Many call center employees fear the advent of artificial intelligence because it’s seen as a threat to their employment. However, spending some time getting to know how and when artificial intelligence can be deployed in an assistive manner can reveal incredible outcomes that could convince even the most skeptical employee. AI can listen in on every call, in real time, identify questions the caller is asking, and instantly suggest answers to the agent. When callers express frustration, either spoken or unspoken, AI can provide guidance to ensure better outcomes. Wait times in queue go down as agent productivity goes up; again, granting the contact center operations their wish – doing more with less. 

While the primary goal of assistive AI is to deliver operational efficiency that delights callers and increases productivity, a third benefit also arises. Being an agent in today’s contact centers can be thankless work. You handle frustrated caller after frustrated caller, basking in the moments spent in wrap-up mode like an oasis, only to realize it’s a mirage. When AI creates better customer outcomes, agents return to the queue more satisfied with their call resolutions. In other words, happier customers create happier agents, and happier agents create happier customers. It’s a compounding benefit which leads to lower employee turnover, especially valuable in today’s tight labor market.

To learn more about automation and how Avaya can help, reach out to a sales representative today.