Making decisions when it comes to technology can sometimes feel like a catch-22. Most organizations want to find ways to reduce costs, which can be achieved through automation. However, those automation solutions require both an initial and ongoing investment. Understanding how customer service automation can help save money, in the long run, can make the initial decision easier for today’s contact centers.
What is Automated Customer Service?
Customer support automation is the technology and associated processes that allow incoming customer inquiries to be managed automatically regardless of channel. Calls, texts, or chats are answered immediately by an AI-powered system that can resolve customer questions and problems cost-effectively and without human interaction.
How Does Automation Help Customer Service?
Automating customer service helps deliver an excellent customer experience (CX) by eliminating hold times and resolving common questions and problems quickly and efficiently. Besides these benefits for the consumer, customer service automation also results in increased productivity of live agents who are now able to focus on more complex inquiries that require creativity and human empathy.
How Does Customer Service Automation Save Money?
Although automation technology will require an initial investment as well as some ongoing expenses, the bottom line is that a company must generate a good return on investment (ROI) within a reasonable amount of time. For example, it is easy and fast to implement Replicant’s technology as it can be totally integrated with most call center solutions. There is little to no need for IT support. Finding such a simple and affordable solution can make the overall decision easier.
Once the investment is made, automating your contact center can save money on an ongoing basis in three specific ways:
Reduce direct and indirect labor costs.
According to CXToday, both labor expenses and operational expenses result in a cost per call between $2.70 and $5.60. By using a customer service automation solution such as Replicant, contact centers have been able to reduce these costs by up to 55 percent when compared with optimized live agent business process outsourcing (BPO) solutions.
Decrease handle times and eliminate hold periods.
Call center technology can also be measured by average handle times (AHT). These can vary by channel and industry, but automation can lower cost per interaction significantly because inquiries can be addressed simultaneously, at an unlimited scale, and around the clock.
Pay for only what you use.
Unlike BPO solutions that require the training and retention of a set number of live agents regardless of actual usage, automated support allows contact centers to pay for only what they use.
Unfortunately, today’s alternatives to customer service automation can be costly. If an organization chooses to simply hire additional live agents to deliver 24-hour customer support, it will not only need to pay live agent wages but also incur indirect costs such as employee benefits and ongoing training.
With the tight labor market and the high turnover rates in the customer service industry, these costs are even higher as contact centers struggle to retain live agents and invest in ongoing recruitment and training expenses.
Third-party BPO solution providers, many of them offshore, have traditionally helped contact centers pick up the slack. However, many of these third-party organizations are struggling with the same labor issues as those contact centers hiring directly. As their costs rise, they must pass along those costs to contact centers, which are now under contract to pay regardless of the actual support needed or used.
Download our Definitive Guide to Contact Center Automation solution now. Learn how our AI technology offers value and long-term ROI that can save millions of dollars while improving customer retention rates, upselling/cross-selling opportunities, and reducing hiring and training costs.