Customer service remains one of the top ways customers interact with your brand. How you address customer complaints and challenges can leave a lasting impression — and customers demand better results the more they interact with you. More than half of all customers expect an improvement in customer service year-over-year, according to a recent study (registration required).
This demand for more knowledgeable and personable agents comes at a time of upheaval and turnover for the industry. Contact center turnover hovers between 30-45% and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t help matters.
In this environment, many contact centers are turning to technology to reduce the stress on their agents. Solutions such as robotic process automation (RPA) and AI are increasingly being deployed with existing channels to create an intelligent virtual agent to help customers solve difficult issues without the need to speak with a live agent. This can increase customer satisfaction and boost employee satisfaction and retention.
Two particular technology pieces are unattended robots and AI. With robots and AI working together with existing service channels you can create an intelligent virtual agent available 24x7x365. This helps organizations move the needle on metrics like self-service containment and call deflection. The ability to provide support at all hours increases customer satisfaction by eliminating the need to wait until normal business hours to call in. Reducing the number of calls can both reduce wait times and improve agent productivity by focusing their time on solving complex challenges. Finally, robots can improve the employee experience by easing the stress of your agents. This in turn can reduce turnover — essential at a time when many employees are short handed.
How else can robots support your customers? Here’s 4 specific things robots can do to support your customers.
Help Customers Help Themselves
One of the key ways intelligent virtual agents can assist your customers is by unlocking systems and processes that today require live agent assistance. Robots can unlock access to systems and data to allow customers to help themselves by allowing them to securely perform the same steps as a real agent. For example, a global fintech provider leveraged a UiPath robot connected to their existing interactive voice response (IVR) system to automate common customer inquiries, eliminating an estimated 10,000 calls per day to the contact center.
Create a Proactive Engagement Model
Although customers these days have a multitude of different channels to engage businesses with, research shows that two-thirds still prefer to resolve issues over the phone, making phone service a key component of your customer service strategy. Virtual agents allow your organization to move from a reactive to a proactive engagement model. For example, you can leverage robots for when a customer needs to be contacted. Given a set of parameters, robots can determine who should be called, when to call them and what should be said or asked. The robot can then provide this information to the virtual agent to place the actual outbound call. Once your virtual agent interacts with the customer to gather and provide updated information, the virtual agent can give everything back to the robot to update the CRM as well as other systems.
When one clinic needed to check in on their patients to get updates on their COVID symptoms, they used UiPath robots together with their existing IVR. As the IVR read from a prepared script, robots were updating patient info in real time, freeing clinicians from having to speak to everyone and only focusing on those patients who needed immediate attention. Another health care company sought to use RPA and AI to expedite documentation completion, streamline bill payment and automate prescription refills. Together, robots work to both help customers and help customers help themselves.
Hand Off Tasks
Much like your agents shouldn’t have to do everything themselves, neither should your virtual agents. Robots can complete a number of repetitive, low-level tasks to support your customers. The virtual agent can instruct robots to perform a number of background tasks, such as securely unlocking accounts, filing claims forms, starting loan applications, triggering fraud claim investigations, disputing transactions and many more.
If you’re connecting with your customers on channels other than voice, particularly text-based channels such as email, SMS or through chatbots, an intelligent virtual agent can offer many of the same benefits we see above. See how to handle non-calls using UiPath RPA and AI as a virtual agent. Templates such as this allow you to take advantage of AI’s and RPA’s abilities to further deflect interactions and better serve customers.
As the labor market remains tight, many organizations have turned to automation to improve customer service and reduce stress on their contact center. RPA and AI can combine with new and existing self-service channels to form a virtual agent to handle routine customer service tasks. Virtual agents can improve self-service containment rates, route calls more effectively, create a proactive engagement model and increase customer satisfaction by increasing the efficiency in which customer challenges are addressed.