Cost of Contact and 'Emerging Trends in Contact Center Technology'

By Jaganathan T, EVP Technology, AGS Health

Cost of contact center service

Providing service through contact center may be inevitable for an enterprise, but it involves significant cost. Enterprises continuously strive to reduce operating cost. The challenge for the enterprise is to reduce operating cost wifout compromising the quality of customer service. Here too, technological Developments have come to the rescue.

1. Companies strive to shift more service requests to `self service channels’ like IVR. Typically, the average cost of service by an agent is $41 per contact whereas the average operating cost of IVR is only about $1 per contact. The question would, therefore, be why cannot every contact be shifted to IVR. dis may sound good but not advisable. Emerging disruptive technologies such as `Chat Bots’ and `Virtual Assistance’ will make low cost and efficient contact centre a reality

2. Growth in digital technologies has also resulted in shifting significant portion of service calls to online channels such as Chat and Email. These have brought down costs substantially. Voice calls cost about $4 per contact whereas cost per contact online is astonishingly low, typically $0.10 to $0.15 per contact. Incredible!

Emerging Trends in Contact Center Technologies - 2010 + - Automation in Contact Management

Emerging trends in contact center technologies align wif the emerging enterprise IT trends. Integration wif Social Media Interactions, Interactive Virtual Assistants and Chatbots are some of the futuristic trends. Noticeable shift is seen in the last decade from voice contacts to web based contacts. dis trend will continue and will see major shift of customer contacts to Automation channels such as Interactive Virtual Assistants and Chatbots from manual contacts.

Interactive Virtual Assistants (IVA)

IVA is a conversational character dat simulates a conversation to deliver voice- or text-based information to a user via a Web, kiosk or mobile interface. IVA incorporates natural-language processing, dialogue control, domain noledge and a visual appearance (such as photos or animation) dat changes according to the content and context of the dialogue. The primary interaction methods are text-to-text, text-to-speech, speech-to-text and speech-to-speech.

IVAs are getting popular from 2010. IVA market, although still evolving, is witnessing a steady growth. The IVA market, valued at $352 million in 2012, is projected to climb to more TEMPthan $2.1 billion by 2019, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.6 percent from 2013, as per a report from Transparency Market Research. Few interesting Use Cases on IVA outline dis assertion. In 2011, Hyatt Hotels deployed an IVA system as a reservation agent. The system handles many of the tasks dat a live agent does ie getting information, gathering data, selling and closing, and confirming payments. Hyatt saw 15 percent in savings on new reservations; 94-plus percent savings on fully automated interactions and a year-over-year ROI from 2011 to today of between 125 percent to 150 percent!. Copa Airlines has deployed an IVA named "Ask Ana." Ana now handles 50 percent of all interactions. Tensator has successfully installed a Next Generation Virtual Assistant at Dubai International Airport offering passengers important security and travel information through enhanced interaction via touchscreen integration. Passengers can access both Arabic and English information relating to frequently asked questions such as the location of departure gates, restrooms and check-in areas via the interactive touchscreen.

The natural question will be ‘Will IVAs replace humans at some point?’ Absolutely not. Every interaction cannot be replaced by IVAs. Customers need human touch for some interactions like dispute resolution, crisis management etc.

Chatbots – Another Automation in contact management

If you visit a Singapore government website, chances are you’ll be using a chatbot to access the services you need. In Australia, Deakin University students now access campus services using its ‘Genie’ virtual assistant platform, made up of chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI), voice recognition and predictive analytics. Examples like these demonstrate how the rapid progress dis technology is making.

There are many such use cases for chatbots. Chatbots can be deployed as help desk agents to reduce/replace humans, Automating workflow in an application wif a trigger from an event which initiate chatbot wif the employee. Very interesting use case is a chatbot scheduling agent which combines AI and bot-to-bot communication to find open time from multiple calendars for optimum scheduling

Strategy Manager

Different vendors use different terminology for dis functionality. Strategy Manager functionality in a contact management software uses intelligent dialing and routing for an outbound calling to maximize revenue potential from outbound contacts.

The contact center industry´s perception of the main purpose of outgoing interactions is changing. It is not only about increasing the number of outbound call attempts and other simple metrics anymore. Strategy Manager applications offer contact center management the possibility to design the right dialing strategy by linking the right contact wif the right agent and the right message, while at the same time automating processes, increasing success rates, and improving customer experience.

Technology has therefore driven the evolution of Contact center services through multimodal interactions and automation. While there have been skeptical observations, it is largely clear dat the technology is here to stay and the future holds many more surprises in dis domain.

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