Automation in the Post-COVID Contact Center

Automation is playing an increasing role in communications service providers’ (CSPs) contact centers, driven by a continued focus on improving customer experience (CX) and the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stay-at-home orders have forced CSPs to shift most contact center agents to work from home (WFH). T-Mobile US, for example, shifted 12,000 agents across 17 contact centers worldwide to WFH. Shankar Arumugavelu, group CIO at Verizon says 20% of the operator’s contact center agents were working remotely before COVID-19. Once the pandemic hit, however, his team “had to shift 20% to 100%” across multiple geographies and tens of thousands of employees.

More than 75% of CSPs saw intelligent automation playing important roles in their CX before the pandemic, according to a recent TM Forum survey. Now, in the fast paced, high-pressure post-COVID-19 setting, where agents are working from home, intelligent automation is proving to be a key tool for increased process automation and performance.

A key role for intelligent automation in the contact center is to automate processes agents traditionally perform manually. A simple example is automating the multiple manual logins and queries an agent performs to pull up customer account information.

A more complex example is automating the issuance of a customer credit in the correct billing system as a background process, rather than one the agent fumbles with while trying to keep a customer engaged and confident.

Using bots to automate these manual systems interactions also adds a layer of security by design because most agents no longer require direct access to systems that house sensitive customer data. Every digital worker interaction with such systems is logged and auditable. This enables better compliance with increasingly stringent security policies and data privacy regulations and reduces the risk of exposure, breach or misuse of credentials.

Digital workers may also bolster an increasing trend toward omni-channel automation. For example, many CSPs are using smart chatbots across web, app, social and messaging channels to take on more front-line customer care and support responsibilities. Digital workers play a useful role in connecting chatbots intelligently to backend processes and data stores, enabling chatbots to respond quickly, execute more complex tasks and deliver a more personalized CX.

Read more here: Automation in the Post-COVID Contact Center

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