Contact centers used to be primarily responsible for retaining business. Your customer support agents resolve queries, collect feedback, and act as your first line of defense when unhappy customers come knocking. But as customer experience has become an increasingly important brand differentiator, contact centers now serve an additional purpose: revenue generation.
See, customers don't just care about prices and products anymore. They're also prioritizing the experience you offer them. How seamless is your buying process? How dedicated is your support team? What's your brand story? And what does it mean to be your customer?
As the importance of delivering superb customer experiences has only grown, contact center AI has a big role to play in helping you differentiate your brand. Artificial intelligence and automation can transform your contact and call centers, empowering agents to serve your customers better while reducing your employees' workloads.
You can leverage AI to reduce response times, increase your first call resolution, and reduce burnout for your team.
5 Ways to reduce your response times with AI
We've made some fairly bold claims about customer service AI's potential, but is it really all that? Let's take a closer look at what AI can do for your contact centers and response times.
1. Automated call routing
When a customer calls your helpline, some agents may be better suited to solve their problem than others. This might be because these agents have a more relevant skill set, their personality could be a better fit, or they might have previously interacted with the customer.
Now, imagine if you could connect each customer to the right agent at the right time—you’d provide them with a better, more seamless experience. And that's exactly what contact center AI can help you do. Intelligent call routing (ICR) technology uses conversational AI (like natural language processing) and smart routing to seamlessly connect customers with the right virtual agents.
ICR uses historical data (like support history and past purchases), caller data (like verification numbers), and caller data (like account details and the type of query) to determine the best-fit agent to connect to each customer. Additionally, if a customer has had a previous conversation with an agent, ICR will connect them to that agent, giving your customers a more consistent experience.
ICR helps reduce wait times by automating your call routing process, and it can also increase your first call resolution by matching customers with agents who are best equipped to solve their problems. ICR can also help your agents balance workloads by notifying them about fluctuations in call volumes and helping them manage their cases accordingly.
2. Templates and generative AI
Let’s face it—customer support requests get quite repetitive. You definitely get complex queries that require a lot of thought and careful consideration, but most of the requests you receive are probably straightforward: refunds, information requests, order status inquiries, etc. Fortunately, repetitive queries are perfect candidates to automate with tools and AI.
Enter Magical, an AI task automation tool that frees customer support agents from boring, repetitive tasks. Magical lets you create and save text shortcuts, which can be templated customer support responses, or different customer service scripts for navigating tricky situations. You can use Magical to quickly send personalized responses over live chat, email, and direct messages to reduce your response times.
Magical’s AI Assist also helps agents quickly craft personalized responses with generative AI. AI Assist is powered by OpenAI’s API and gives you ChatGPT powers wherever you work. Just open up the Magical Chrome extension, navigate to the AI Assist tab, and enter your ChatGPT prompt to get your desired output. You can also use AI Assist to create your own response templates and save them as text shortcuts.
3. Automated data collection
When your contact center agents connect with customers, having the right customer data on hand helps them resolve queries more efficiently. But they'll usually have to pull up information from different systems. They might need to verify your customer's account details, check their order history, or look up previous inquiries. This increases your customer's wait time and makes their experience less than ideal (being left on hold is the worst).
Fortunately, intelligent automation (IA), which is a combination of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence, can really transform the way your agents access data. IA not only aggregates structured data from your systems (like account details and order history), but also collects unstructured data (such as from live chats, calls, texts, web requests, etc.) and extracts relevant information to give your agents a 360-degree customer view.
IA helps you reduce response times by quickly arming your support agents with the right information. It also improves the quality of responses and helps agents deliver better experiences and satisfactory resolutions.
P.S. If you need to pull data from your CRM or another one of your open tabs, Magical’s Transfers feature can help you out, too. Magical uses RPA to teleport data across your open tabs effortlessly.
4. Leverage conversational AI
According to one study, 68% of consumers would rather try their luck with an online chatbot than wait for a customer service rep to take their call. That's a pretty solid majority. This statistic highlights how much consumers are prioritizing 24/7 support. And while human agents can't work round-the-clock, chatbots sure can.
And no, we're not referring to dated, clunky, click-as-you-go chatbots. We're talking about the newer breed that use a combination of conversational AI and flow-based logic to help businesses radically transform its self-service support. You can train these platforms on your internal data and knowledge bases, equipping them to handle straightforward customer queries and deliver 24/7 support.
Conversational AI chatbots also help reduce your agents' workloads, which means they can handle the remaining cases (especially complex interactions) quicker, reducing your response times.
5. Real-time coaching
OK, so this use case is quite interesting, especially because you might rely on different types of technologies to achieve it. The idea is to help your agents serve customers better by providing them with recommendations and insights during their interactions. And AI can help you achieve this in different ways. For example:
- Dialpad, a fully integrated contact center solution, offers AI Agent Assist. This feature collects and summarizes information from your knowledge base to help agents handle tricky interactions in real time.
- IA platforms like UiPath use data extraction and text summarization to provide your agents with real-time insights from unstructured data, helping them serve your customers better.
- Sentiment analysis tools (like Dialpad's AI Agent Assist) let supervisors know the overall sentiment of an interaction in real time, so they can step in and help if necessary.
Providing your agents with in-the-moment insights improves the quality of customer interactions and helps them resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
Embracing your AI-powered contact center
While AI isn’t quite at sci-fi levels yet, it’s come a long way. Used right, contact center AI can help your agents balance workloads while providing your customers with seamless experiences and frictionless interactions. AI tools can help you achieve a 360-degree perspective of your customers (or close enough), craft personalized responses quickly, analyze sentiments in real time, and make sure customers connect to the best-fit agents every time.
The result? Better customer experiences, which can help you retain customers and differentiate your business from the competition.
If you’re ready to arm your customer support team with AI superpowers, Magical is a great starting point. You can add the free Magical Chrome extension to your browser in one click and get started today.