Are you looking for a way to improve your customer interactions with your contact center? Both contact center outsourcing and customer service automation are viable options to do just that. Understanding the difference between these two options and the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you make the best decision for your contact center as well as your overall organization.
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What is contact center outsourcing?
Contact center outsourcing is big business. When contact centers experience high call volumes or find their wait times are getting too long, they may turn to outsourcing as a solution. Typically, an organization will choose to use a third-party vendor to manage one or more customer service processes such as taking overflow incoming calls or handling a segment of outbound calls.
According to Forbes, “there are tens of thousands of call centers around the world involving millions of jobs. In India there are over 250,000 call center jobs in Bangalore alone; in the Philippines there are over 700,000 such jobs. In states like Florida, Arizona and Texas call centers are big employers; Texas alone has over 600 call centers with 250,000 employees.”
Ideally, this third-party company faithfully represents the brand and has well-trained representatives who can handle customer service inquiries and tasks as well as the company’s own internal agents. Outside vendors should follow the business’s specific guidelines and are typically paid on a per-call or per-seat basis.
What is customer experience automation?
Unlike outsourcing options, which typically add third-party managed live agents to the equation, customer service automation uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to augment contact center services.
This call center intelligent automation is excellent at managing rote tasks like
- requesting proof of insurance,
- handling frequently asked questions like ‘what is my account balance?’,
- or solving Tier One customer inquiries such as canceling an order.
For the customer, this means 24/7 service and the elimination of wait times. Let’s face it, attention spans are shorter than ever. In fact, PRWeb reports, “In a unique study that surveyed more than 2,500 consumers, nearly 60 percent of respondents believe that one minute is too long to be on hold.”
For contact center agents, this call center intelligent automation means reducing or eliminating the mundane or repetitive aspects of their jobs, giving them more time to spend helping customers with more complex challenges. This can lead to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
How does automation affect the customer’s experience vs. a live agent?
In some cases, automation may result in a negative customer experience. For example, old-fashioned phone trees or interactive voice response (IVR) systems often leave customers frustrated with their interactions. Many people struggle to get out of such systems just to talk to a live agent. Then, that agent often needs to start the entire inquiry process from the beginning.
However, “contact center outsourcing” using conversational AI technology can be a very positive experience. In this case, Tier One inquiries are often handled efficiently with zero wait times or human interaction. In fact, these solutions can result in customer satisfaction scores that are equal to or better than live agents.
How is technology changing contact centers today?
One of the most significant changes in contact center technology is that all channels including voice, text, and chat can now be used by customers. Data from all these channels can be collected to provide the foundation for improvements and future planning.
The right level of question or inquiry is directed to the correct source–whether that is an automated system or a well-informed live agent. Customers are happier with faster resolution. Agents enjoy more challenging work. It’s a win-win.
If you are responsible for contact center outsourcing at your company, give Replicant’s solution a try. We have years of experience helping contact centers just like yours and would love the opportunity to share a demonstration of our product. Click to learn more about customer service automation now.