The Rising Demand for Customer Service Innovation
The first step to business innovation today is outsourcing. The BPO industry has the technology to thank for its existence. Without mobile technology, such as the internet and telecommunication, offshoring would not exist. However, now that the artificial intelligence is getting smarter, BPOs have two options: to see it as a threat or see it as a tool to move forward and change.
To see what the demand is for customer service tools, we first look at the challenges a contact center manager faces daily.
- Am I understaffed?
- How do I combat tardiness and excessive leave-taking among my employees?
- How do I get started on coaching and what topics should I cover?
- Which agents are free to catch the overflow of tasks streaming in unexpectedly?
- Is there an app that could alert me about issues before it forms into a problem?
Ultimately, all these questions point to this every businessman’s wish: “Why can’t I just run my day-to-day business and get a system to automatically notify and solve arising business issues for me?” Well, the answer to this pervasive question may just be around the corner.
The way businesses typically address these concerns is fast turning antiquated. A combination of disparate problem solving, adding human capital, and painstaking documentation of processes isn’t going to combat the root issue. The drawback to this approach is that it’s — well, human. They are costly, slow, and limited. Their tendency is to get lost in the details, fall in the routine, and fail to grasp the bigger picture. It leaves the business running in circles.
Innovations with Artificial Intelligence
Here’s a fact most contact center managers would agree on: Decisions are often consistent and actions are repeatable. The logical response to that is: automate this process! After all, any action that is repeatable is best left automated. But here comes the challenge: How do you automate human logic?
Scientists have been trying to find the answer to that question for a long time. To understand their developments, there are what they call the three stages of artificial intelligence (AI):
Automation is an assisted intelligence that adds value to a human activity without changing it. Take for example Gmail, it sorts incoming email into Primary, Social, and Promotions tabs without changing the way people use their emails. People may have manually sorted their emails before, but now their emails can sort themselves out automatically. Here, programmers feed the process directly for the machine to know what to do.
Augmented intelligence machine learning adds new capabilities to human activities which fundamentally alters the nature of the task. Netflix has done this with its suggestions algorithm based on user behavior patterns. Users still interact with the app, but it gets to “know” their movie tastes by picking up their decision-making patterns over time. This way, users teach the machine what it needs to learn to do.
This robotic autonomous intelligence is novel as it is meant to be independent of direct human involvement. This is the farthest we have come so far, and it is still fairly new and rare. For example, NASDAQ is one of the early adopters of this AI in the form of their automated stock market trading system. Humans present the raw data and the rules into the machine, and it comes up with its own analysis and orders. The human no longer plays any role in the machine’s decision-making process.
So, now the question is: how do we incorporate this into our customer service processes? The field is exciting and its possibilities are endless.
Business Trends in Customer Service
Let’s take a look at how businesses are coping with science. WFM service providers are popping up to partner with companies ready to take on the business innovation challenge. They offer intelligent automation services to help these enterprises enter the digital realm. It proposes a new customer service IT Infrastructure where Intelligent Automation is the mother umbrella.
The Customer Service Infrastructure
The customer service infrastructure we know of today is based on sensitive company data collected through its operations. These are either stored on a data cloud or the office network. It’s also common practice now for companies to make use of business applications to bridge the gap between raw data and production management. Above the production lines are the business decision-makers.
This is where the change happens. The business decision-makers currently sit at the top layer. They are the logicians looking over and analyzing processes. However, with the new business intelligence tools, another layer will be added above the top management to help them gain refined business insights to help them oversee the entire company processes. In intelligent automation, these AI tools will be smarter and more efficient, putting it at the top of the pyramid. This new paradigm may have more structural levels but it speeds up the process efficiently. The old way requires a lengthy analysis of the business insights report to point out a problem, followed by brainstorming for the right strategy.
Now, with autonomous intelligence, the software not only drafts a report, but it can also automatically detect issues and decide which is the best action to take based on machine learning from past and current experiences. It yields more accurate, timely results for less.
As human morale and pay shifts, these WFM software companies push for their systems to handle the rote administrative work. This, they promise, keeps the essential human workers engaged and better-compensated. It promises a return on investment on five things: administration cost reduction, real-time business insights, increased efficiencies, falling attrition rates, and soaring employee satisfaction.
But how about businesses who still can’t afford these systems?
Getting Started with Outsourcing
As you can see, there’s a huge shift from the traditional brick-and-mortar call center providers to a software-based customer service system. From TDM came the VoIP, and soon after it came the data cloud. However, these are all fairly new and even the Fortune 500 companies are still experimenting with these systems.
For large businesses, investing in these tools may be cheaper in the long run in terms of the accumulative expenses of upkeeping a dying work tradition. They develop these systems to innovate key strategic business applications. It targets the functions with the most impact on analytics, processes, workforce, and brand communities.
So the benefits are undoubtedly worth it. However, for smaller businesses, it may not be as feasible. The costs of experimenting in the SME context outranks waiting for the polished systems to be turned public and commercialized. So, how will they compete?
The industry is heading away from the average live agent contact centers to high-level live support agents partnered with chatbots. For now, there are plans for segregating customer service problems, wherein the simple issues will be directed to chatbots and the complex troubleshooting will be redirected to highly competent live agents. But these are still plans.
While we wait for the big companies to lead the way for better systems of work, small businesses don’t need to be passive. Accessing the systems may be costly but partnering with a customer service outsourcing company will enable SMEs to have access to this software. Better yet, offshoring teams offer a blend of human and technology services, giving you the best of both worlds.
Anderson Group BPO, Inc.
Anderson Group BPO, Inc. offers business solutions for small businesses worldwide. We offer customer support services through inbound calls, outbound calls, email, chat, and social media management. Our skilled back-office teams can also help you keep operations flawless with data entry, data cleansing, data analysis, and market research.
Reach out to us and find out more about our services.