As we head into the holiday season, many call centers will be dealing with a peak in demand. These can be hard to accurately forecast, prepare for and manage. Overwhelming demand in the call center not only frustrates your customers, it also contributes to burn-out for call center agents, lower morale and higher rates of attrition.
Voice assistants are invaluable for managing peaks in call centers, and below we identify 7 of their benefits during these times.
1. Answer calls 24/7
Voice assistants delight your customers by answering their calls 24/7 – without the additional costs incurred by staffing a 24/7 call center. Voice assistants can answer every single call, day or night, resolving queries or taking down information to pass to your agents when they’re back in. Your customers will be able to get answers to their questions when it suits them, not just during your call center’s business hours.
Not only can voice assistants answer all calls, they can also handle your most common transactions in much the same way as an agent would. Thanks to advances in conversational AI, voice assistants can now hold complex, multi-turn conversations to solve your customers’ queries without needing to hand off to an agent.
2. Minimise risk of overstaffing
Overstaffing during peaks is often unavoidable to accommodate for staff absenteeism and unforeseen demand. Call center managers have the unenviable job of maintaining and even improving customer satisfaction score during peak periods while also not hiring and training too many extra staff who then sit around waiting for the phone to ring.
Voice assistants are able to handle thousands of calls simultaneously, making them a great solution for peak times. During quieter periods they can also sit quietly and wait for calls to come in, without costing you a penny.
3. Add new promotions and information effortlessly
New/seasonal offers, promotions or changes to information can be added quickly and easily to your voice assistant, ensuring that it has an accurate and up-to-date database of information. You don’t have to worry about voice assistants getting information wrong or having to put customers on hold to double check information.
Older conversational technology required large fees and long wait times for any changes to be made. New developments in AI technology means that this process is now as simple as adding information to the voice assistants’ knowledge base. (Read more here about the technology that allows PolyAI’s voice assistants to learn and grow in the same way your human agents do.)
4. Lower agent attrition
If a peak has been unexpected or forecasted incorrectly it can create a stressful and unpleasant work environment for your staff, increasing sickness and attrition. If your agents aren’t happy, the service they provide to your customers won’t be as good as it should be.
Voice assistants can take the stress away from your agents, handling thousands of calls and efficiently completing repetitive tasks, leaving your agents to focus on the truly value-adding conversations that drive customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. Voice assistants can answer FAQs, complete identification and verification processes, update customers’ account details, take bookings and reservations and more.
5. Provide consistent customer service
Mismanaged or unplanned peaks can have a negative impact on the customer service provided by your call center. Inexperienced agents often take 1.3 – 1.5 times longer to complete a task than your experienced agents. They need to rely more on experienced agents for help, and may even give incorrect information to the customer. This all adds up to create inefficient customer service and increased AHT.
Voice assistants provide the same high level of customer service for every single call. PolyAI voice assistants only need customers to provide information once and can recall it quickly and accurately throughout the course of a conversation. They can even provide personalised service, identifying previous callers and recalling past conversations to increase efficiency and delight your customers. Voice assistants are able to identify when a customer is vulnerable or asking a question that requires an agent, and hand them off with the information collected so far.
Voice assistants also provide transparent insight into conversational flows, making it easy for third parties to audit them to ensure conversations are aligned with business policy and brand voice.
6. Identify issues as they arise to deal with them proactively
Customers pick up the phone when other digital alternatives fail. PolyAI’s voice assistants collect conversational data which can be accessed on live dashboards, so that managers are able to see a rising trend in calls about specific topics. The ability to analyse conversational data in real-time can help organisations react faster to unforeseen risks and issues such as website problems, current affairs, or a rise in specific product enquiries. You can access full call transcripts to understand the issue and react quickly and proactively to it, before it gets out of hand.
7. Collect detailed conversational data for specialised training purposes
Agents may be unable to take detailed notes during peaks, whereas voice assistants collect notes automatically on every single call. This detailed data will show the most common requests and conversations your customers are having, so that call center managers can pinpoint what training needs to be delivered to agents to make them better at responding to customers.
Voice assistants are an invaluable tool for managing peak volume in call centers
Using voice assistants to offer self-serve customer support over the phone is a great way to prepare for peaks in your call center, increasing staff proficiency and morale, and providing excellent customer service. They allow you to forecast with detailed live data, so you can be prepared for peaks during holiday periods, product launches, marketing campaigns or events.
To find out more about adding voice self-service to your call center to prepare for your next peak, request a demo today.