Please hold: How AI is changing customer service in call centers

Presented by Defined.ai

Excellent customer service is vital to the long-term success of any business. Yet, millions of people around the world are frustrated daily as call center agents keep customers on hold for long periods, are oblivious to a customer’s distress, or are unable to provide accurate information. Meanwhile, agents themselves are frustrated with their labor-intensive, repetitive jobs, resulting in a high turnover rate, and requiring businesses to spend more money to recruit and train new agents. All-in-all, it’s not a good recipe for business success.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in call centers is changing all that. Let’s take a closer look at how.

Happy customers mean a healthy bottom line

Good customer service matters. There have been many studies which prove the importance of happy customers to a healthy bottom line.

A Zendesk report considered the impact of customer service on long-term revenue and found that good service can change customer behavior. Of the 1,044 U.S consumers surveyed, 58% have previously stopped buying from a company because of bad service, 52% switched to a competitor, 52% told friends and family to avoid the company, and 48% would not consider buying from that company again in the future.

Unfortunately, for companies that do slip up, people have good memories of bad experiences. The same survey found that 46% of consumers remember a bad experience from two or more years ago, while only 21% remembered a good experience from a similar period. When you consider that it costs, on average, five times more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing one, and that the probability of selling your product to a potential customer is a lot lower (5-20%) than selling to an existing customer (60-70%), the impact of bad customer service becomes frighteningly clear.

Benefits of AI in call centers

1. Chatbots streamline lower-level inquiries

One of the biggest pain points for traditional call center agents is processing high volumes of simple support queries. Dealing with these queries impedes their ability to focus on more complex tickets.

Director of Machine Learning at Defined.ai, Christopher Shulby, explains how most customer support queries (for example, a request for a PAC (personal access code) from a mobile phone company or a request to check a bank balance) can be pooled into a few very simple categories. Automated customer support bots can relieve a huge amount of pressure on call centers by dealing with these requests (up to 80% of commonly asked tier-1 queries).

Crucially, the purpose of customer support bots is not to replace human operators but to relieve them from routine queries, giving them time to focus on more complex tickets. The benefits of this are two-fold: agents have the time to provide a better service to customers and are provided with more stimulating work.

2. Chatbots & IVRs lower operating costs

By 2022, it is expected that chatbots will save businesses more than $8 billion per year. With companies spending $4,000 on average to hire a call center agent and another $4,800 to train them, implementing cognitive technology can speed up response times, make their self-service channels more intuitive and efficient, all while saving them a staggering 30% in their customer service costs.

AI, a powerful tool for customer satisfaction

As advances in AI and NLP continue to present call centers with powerful tools to support agents, increase efficiency, cut costs, and enhance customer experiences, the fusion between human-operated tasks and machine-led insights is set to reinvent the face of customer care.

Dig deeper: Download Defined.ai’s white paper on AI in call centers to learn about more benefits of AI in call centers.

Plus, fuel your IVR machines with high-quality data, now with a 25% discount! Check out the offer here.

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