Being Human in the Digital Age: Balancing Automation with a Human Touch

It’s no secret that companies looking to recession-proof their businesses must make their operations more efficient. In the CX space, introducing automation into the contact center is the obvious way to streamline processes, whilst reducing resource.

However, survival in a tough economic climate isn’t just about cutting costs. Businesses must ensure that they guarantee repeat revenue, by delivering personalized, human service experiences that build customer loyalty. On Wednesday 4th November, industry leaders from around the globe came together to discuss how to strike the balance between man and machine, in a session hosted by Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO and Co-Founder of Content Guru, and CCW Europe.

Seizing the life line

The benefits of automation were clear to all attendees, many of whom had already implemented intelligent routing and self-service systems to cope with the influx of contacts caused by the Coronavirus crisis. With an intelligent routing system, businesses can identify caller intent before passing them to an agent. This ensures that customers reach the correct department rapidly, whilst allowing businesses to avoid the inefficiency of multiple call transfers, as well as ensuring that calls are not accidently routed to more costly staff. Once transferred to the most appropriate destination, an AI-backed knowledge management solution can be employed to screen-pop all relevant customer data to the agent, removing manual look-ups from the agent’s task list, improving AHT, and ensuring that all staff appear knowledgeable, and can deliver exceptional customer service.

Removing lengthy, repetitive tasks from employee workloads was a top priority for many attendees, who saw empowering agents to build emotional connections with customers as the key to their recession strategy. When asked which form of automation they would be most interested in implementing, 100% of attendees selected ‘digital self-service’. By resolving simple enquiries automatically, businesses can liberate agents to handle more complex queries, whilst delivering immediate satisfaction to customers seeking information. Several of the leading CX practitioners attending noted how their existing self-service platforms had proved invaluable during the pandemic, making them eager to expand these capabilities further.

Words of warning

Words of warning were shared about the ways in which automation should be implemented for CX success. One attendee cautioned that, without consistent digital transformation across channels, customers learn to distrust the service they receive from a business. In order to ensure uniformity of service, businesses should choose an evergreen, omni-channel, cloud solution that is entirely hosted on a single architecture, through which updates can be rolled out simultaneously across an entire CX estate.

By far the biggest challenge attendees found when implementing automation was that of building customer trust. Several attendees noted that public perception is holding their consumers back from embracing automated channels. Although such services are vastly cheaper to run, businesses must know when to back up their automation with human input. For example, with AI-backed sentiment analysis, companies can identify when a customer is struggling with an automated interaction, and hand them directly to an agent, whilst ensuring a seamless transition by screen-popping their interaction history to that agent.

Drive value from every customer interaction with AI-backed decision making

In order to guarantee customer loyalty, whilst embracing the cost benefits of CX automation, businesses must choose an intelligent solution that works in tandem with human service delivery.