Scaling contact centers with human resources has been a tried and true tactic for growing customer service. But there’s many limitations and frustrations with this method. Human agents are expensive, hiring and training them is time and resource intensive, and having enough agent capacity at all times is nearly impossible.
Contact centers that rely on human agents to scale will continue to be reactive and frustrate customers with hold times. Alternatively, contact centers that adopt elastic customer service have the ability to quickly adapt to changes, are more operationally and cost efficient, and see higher customer satisfaction.
Here’s how elastically scaling your contact center with AI gives customer service organizations an advantage.
Contact center capacity becomes elastic
Meet demand 100% of the time, without compromising on quality
Elastic capacity enables contact centers to meet customer demand 100% of the time, without compromising on the quality of customers’ experience. When you have a 1:1 agent-to-customer ratio, customers never have to wait on hold. Their call is immediately picked up.
There have been multiple studies on wait times and customer expectations, and the findings are clear. Customers are willing to wait just a few minutes or not at all. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed consumers said they’re willing to wait two minutes or less before they hang up. Over 13% said no hold time is acceptable. By eliminating hold times, you’ll give customers the on-demand service they want and reduce the likelihood of customers going elsewhere.
Customers’ experience can suffer when agents are rushing to work through long call queues as quickly as possible or when you outsource calls. By having AI resolve high-volume, transactional, and repetitive calls, you can ensure a consistent experience and take pressure off of agents. Agents are freed up to focus on issues that require creative problem-solving, empathy, or domain expertise.
Spikes in call volume are flattened
Repetitive calls are usually the types of calls you’ll receive when experiencing a call spike. Airlines are a perfect example of this. When flights are canceled due to weather, airlines experience an influx of customers asking to rebook their flight.
Having elastic capacity flattens these spikes, since AI acts as the first line of defense in taking all incoming calls. While some calls may require a live agent, elastic capacity drastically reduces the amount of calls that human agents need to take. This helps prevent agents from being overwhelmed.
Increase your speed and flexibility of ramping capacity up or down
You’ll rarely ever get a heads up that allows you to plan and adjust your capacity. When contact centers are reacting to fluctuations in days or weeks, it can negatively impact customers’ perception of your brand. With elastic customer service, your capacity adjusts in minutes because you’re no longer increasing or decreasing the number of human agents. AI can quickly ramp up in response to higher call volumes and scale back down just as quickly when volume goes down.
This speed and flexibility enables companies to grow their customer service faster. Since agents are only handling a fraction of all call volume, you can rapidly acquire new customers and ensure they’re supported.
Cost becomes elastic
Forecasting and scheduling requires contact centers to commit to a certain amount of agent capacity and pay for that amount. This is a fixed-cost model that locks you into paying for whatever you’ve anticipated. If you’ve underestimated, you’ll also need to ask for more budget, which you may not get.
When contact centers can elastically scale their capacity with demand, costs become elastic too. You’ll only pay for the capacity you use, which is the amount of time the AI is on the phone with customers.
Contact centers that adopt elastic customer service have lower costs. Aside from only paying for the capacity you use, you don’t pay for wait times and calls are 30% to 50% shorter.
Scaling with AI is a lot cheaper than scaling with humans. Even compared to a highly optimized BPO, AI is about 50% cheaper.
Having no hold times, the perfect amount of customer capacity at all times, and reducing customer service costs by half no longer needs to be a dream. Elastic customer service enables contact centers to achieve these results today.
Ready to experience the benefits yourself? Get the steps to adopt elastic customer service in The Ultimate Guide to Elastic Customer Service: Ensuring Your Contact Center Capacity Always Matches Demand.