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Tag Archives: Intelligent Automation

Where Intelligent Automation Implementations go Wrong

In our conversations with the customer service leaders in our community, we hear about the challenges of implementing intelligent automation often. Whether their organization is taking its first baby steps or already executing their sophisticated AI strategy, there are a few common pitfalls executives have shared:

Lacking Necessary Resources

There is no out-of-the-box solution to implement intelligent automation in your organization. Companies seldom account for the IT infrastructure automation demands and are rarely prepared to produce data sets that are accurate and large enough for effective machine learning. Without these key ingredients, AI projects will fail.

The Fix: Before you invest in a vendor solution, ask the service providers you are scouting what you would need to use their tool. If data is a problem in your organization, you may be able to find a solution that leverages a different resource—one your company can provide.

Organizational Silos

Meeting resistance from other departments can stop your automation initiative before it gets out of the gate. Because customer experience touches so many areas of an organization, it’s vital to think through the consequences to each business unit before implementing the solution.

The Fix: Beyond involving the leadership in the departments who will be affected, training can be a great opportunity to get buy-in from the ground-level employees who will be using the AI solution. Instead of merely training workers on the tool, consider sharing the reasoning behind the automation and what benefits the company expects to get from it.

Choosing the Wrong Problem to Fix

Because intelligent automation is new to many companies, leadership is often leery of sinking too many resources into an AI project. If the initiative doesn’t live up to expectations, automation may suffer a setback at your organization. Too wide a scope, and your project will take years to reach completion. Too narrow, and it doesn’t make an impact.

The Fix: Create an initiative that will move the needle in the area your company is most focused on at the moment. If your organization is in cost-savings mode and you can use automation to reduce call volumes or the time spent on service tickets, it gives you the ammunition you need to use AI for other goals, like increasing customer satisfaction. Continue reading

How AI Automation Has Changed Customer Service Operations

The following is a guest blog by Charles Schrier, Director of Marketing  at SmartAction.

As a lifelong customer service professional, you’ve watched the customer service function change from necessary evil to cornerstone of business success. For so long, businesses found ways to cut costs and increase efficiency in the call center because it was always viewed as a “cost” center. But with today’s customer demands for experiences that are easy and effective, and with more contact channels than ever before, it is getting near impossible to forecast and staff the call center, train agents in the proper skills, and offer consistency across channels and touchpoints.

Companies have an amazing opportunity to meet customer demands and create a strategic advantage over the competition by incorporating AI automation into their customer service operation. Forrester research tells us that 2/3 of consumers said that valuing their time is the most important thing to them, which helps to explain the rise in self-service adoption. With conversational AI automation, businesses are offering self-service for many of the simple and complex repetitive tasks that their call center agents had always been doing. Thanks to consumer tech products like Siri and Cortana, customers are actually very adept and comfortable interacting with conversational AI, whether through voice or digital media. Therefore, companies with AI automation are outpacing competitors by offering the effortless experience their customers want while migrating their operations towards sustainable growth.

AI automation’s most impactful ROI promise is in helping call centers conquer headcount challenges. As contact volumes explode through more and more channels, it has become increasingly difficult to forecast and accurately staff the call center. Even when volume spikes are predictable, they are still expensive to manage using live agents alone. The answer to higher volumes is no longer to hire more people, but rather to use AI agents mixed with live agents in order to automate more and make the live agents more effective for the inquiries that require the human touch. Many companies have found success using an AI virtual assistant service to:

    1. 1. Automate repetitive calls, chats, and texts with live agent failover. This helps agents focus on the top priority customer conversations because the routine tasks, like checking order status or making payments, are taken care of by AI.
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    3. 2. Gather customer data upfront before passing to live agent for assistance. An example is customer account authentication with screen pops for agents so that customers do not need to repeat information.
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    5. 3. Automate outbound calls and SMS texts for appointment confirmations, delivery reminders, reorders, or other alerts. This is normally a huge cost and time-suck for live agents.
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    7. 4. Offer a conversational AI Front Door, which uses a natural language greeting like, “How can I help you?” to capture intent. Conversations then get routed either to the IVR, a live agent, or additional AI self-service.

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