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How Conversational Service Automation can boost your contact center

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CIOL Bureau
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How startups across the world are fighting Covid with leading-edge innovations

CSA has the capability to provide a massive overhaul to how contact centers function by using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Natural Language Processing and RPA, writes Umesh Sachdev, co-founder and CEO, Uniphore.

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The crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has created huge upheaval across industries. Just as hospitals needed to ramp up capacity, contact centers today need to handle more calls than they have had to before. Additionally, they have to support those calls with a workforce that cannot meet in tightly packed office spaces. People showing even the slightest symptoms are being advised to call their physicians, instead of walking into a hospital, in order to reduce the burden on the already pressured healthcare system and to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is not only healthcare companies that are seeing an uptick in call traffic. There are huge spikes in the number of people calling government agencies, telecom utilities, banks, travel companies, etc., as life as we knew it has been dramatically changed over the past few weeks.

Typically, contact centers are designed so that hundreds of workers can sit at a centralized office location with designated areas and managers and supervisors, on hand to closely monitor the teams. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced these centers to shut their offices as per government mandates. While India is a major hub for offshore call centers, a lot of these workers do not own laptops and high bandwidth internet, which are the primary requirements for remote working. Over and above physical connectivity is the need to ensure compliance for data sensitive verticals such as in the BFSI sector. Most of the legacy technology used by call centers are just not equipped to monitor and assist human agents working remotely, and COVID-19 has brought that inefficiency into sharp focus.

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Automating conversational service a better way to approach it

Conversational Service Automation (CSA) is an emerging category of technology which has the capabilities to provide a massive overhaul to how contact centers function by using technologies such as AI, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Robotic Process Automation. It enables businesses to save money while providing transformative customer experiences. More importantly, it can allow a call center agent to work remotely thus ensuring his/her safety.

CSA also provides an intelligent self-service option to customers, thus reducing the burden of calls on an agent and enabling the agent to focus his energies on providing more personalized service where required. Via this option, simple things like ticket booking, cancellations, money transfers, doctor appointments, etc., can easily be addressed. A solid CSA platform can identify a distressed caller and can seamlessly and immediately transfer the call to a human agent. In order to further aid the agent, CSA can also procure information on customers’ needs, intent and sentiment along with relevant customer data on recent transactions and requests, to enable the agents to render accurate responses to customers in real time, every time.

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The technology has the capability to intelligently assist the human agent and handle mundane tasks such as preparing a call summary sheet, extracting the conversation history or pulling up the caller’s background at the onset of a call, so that efficiencies are introduced and the time spent on each call is drastically reduced.

During a global crisis when agents need to work remotely, some contact centers will struggle with tight restrictions and regulations for the transmission and storage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Today, a cloud-based CSA solution can actually redact PII in real time, before it gets to the agent and then monitor the call to ensure other elements of compliance. This is a huge benefit and facilitates remote working while being compliant with government regulations.



The New Normal

The pandemic has pushed the world to change faster. Businesses that were planning to automate in the next couple of years are being forced to take that decision right now. Contact centers are stepping up with AI and automation driven systems as they begin to understand the value of such emerging technologies. With a change in the way business will run in a post-COVID world, the need for automation in contact centers will keep growing. CSA will be the new normal for call centers in the next couple of years.

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