The COVID-19 pandemic, and the unique challenges it has posed, has engulfed customers in a wave of fear and uncertainty and put organizations in a jiffy.
There has been a sharp spike in the volume of calls as anxious customers seek support on a variety of issues.
A majority of customers consider call support as a flexible channel of communication as it allows them to verbally explain and negotiate with the agents. Moreover, customers prefer calling for urgent matters, including cancelled flights and refunds, health insurance coverage, timings of convenience stories, appointments for COVID-19 tests, loan approvals, and much more.
Particularly, contact centers in industries like banking, airlines, retail, and healthcare have been experiencing a nightmare with the unprecedented surge in call volumes.
To deal with the above issues and reduce contact center call volume, organizations can use a call deflection approach driven by AI chatbots. Call deflection involves diverting incoming customer calls to alternate means of answering questions like self-service and digital channels e.g. chatbots.
AI Chatbots can handle an unlimited number of requests at the same time, provide instant support, and decrease costs for the organization as lesser employees are needed to handle customer queries. Moreover, they can answer routine customer questions 24×7, without the need for human support.
A combination of call-deflection and AI-enabled virtual assistance can improve the productivity of contact center agents, while simultaneously managing the surge in the volume of calls.
Irrespective of whether your IVR is based on legacy technology or deployed on the cloud, it is possible to shift the incoming call traffic to a text-based channel.
When the customer is ready to engage via text, the virtual assistant can converse with the client using natural language processing to handle simple requests, such as leading the customers to the required information. Or it can enable them to self-transact. Or it can be an extensive bot that offers complex capabilities, like drawing up the required background information to provide personalized solutions to customer queries.
The purpose of deflecting incoming calls is that a bot can handle customer requests that are basic and repetitive, and thereby it eliminates the need for agent involvement. The request will be transferred to an agent only when a customer specifically requests the transfer or the bot determines the conversation is too complex for it to handle.
Proactive and reactive call deflection are the two ways of diverting calls to text-based channels –
Proactive call deflection is an approach in which measures are taken to prevent customers from calling to the contact centres in the first place and instead drive them to proactively use self-service digital channels. This involves:
Proactive deflection, when supplemented with automation, allows customers to engage in a two-way interaction with a chatbot to resolve issues without waiting for agents. Thus, customers can operate in a self-serve mode for routine queries, and be directed to human agents only for more complex ones.
A reactive approach to call deflection starts once customers call the contact center. On calling the contact center, the customers should be allowed to select the channel of their choice.
Customers may then opt to resolve their issue in a self-serve mode, with the help of AI-enabled chatbots enabled in messaging channels like SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp etc.
An alternate way of doing this is using Conversation IVR systems which leverage Natural Language Processing to interact with customers via voice and resolve their queries.
A study by Gartner indicates that, “As much as 40% of today’s live volume could be resolved in self-service channels.” Here are some benefits of using call deflection supported by AI.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in the number of customer calls to contact centers. To ease the burden off support agents, organizations can implement a combination of call deflection (proactive or reactive) and AI-enabled chatbots.
Such automation enables customers to self-serve and provides them with a 24X7 interactive experience at significantly lower costs. It also allows the support staff to focus on the complex queries, leaving the chatbots to handle routine asks.
BotCore presents several benefits –
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our experts for a personalized consultation.