A trip to the gas station or grocery store is all one needs to realize that the country is heading for an economic downturn. Data from the Labor Department shows that inflation is the highest since 2005, and the consumer price index rose to 9.1%, the largest spike since 1981. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022) Yet another factor many don’t consider is that The Great Resignation is not over, and according to a global workforce survey, one in five workers plan to quit in 2022. (PWC, 2022)
From rising operating costs to labor shortages, contact centers need to leverage programmable communications – primarily AI-powered automation, to save money, enhance the customer experience (CX), and retain skilled employees. Moreover, automation and AI communications can take a significant load off overwhelmed contact center agents, serving as a wise and proactive investment not only for the economic downturn but also for when prices and inflation return to normalcy.
Save money by eliminating wasteful expenses
Depending on the company size, the cost per call with a human agent ranges from $6 to $15 – contact centers must use their human agents strategically. (CMSWIRE, 2022) But, what is the most valuable use of their time and energy? What monotonous tasks can get handed off to machines? During uncertain economic conditions, it is pertinent that businesses avoid unnecessary operational costs that don’t contribute to revenue generation. (Zapier, 2022)
With automation, contact centers can provide their customers with self-service options via virtual agents, allowing callers to solve their issues without needlessly using up a busy agent’s time, or – more importantly – the company’s limited resources. These machines can complete numerous types of inquiries, like reward points, password updates, hours of operations, etc.
Plus, AI-enabled automation processes let contact centers send out reminders, notifications, and alerts through voice, SMS, or social messaging. And by utilizing communications technologies to set up intelligent call routing, customers will always get directed to the right department or location, ensuring optimal satisfaction.
Refine the customer journey and increase satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is pivotal during an economic downturn as people are more stressed and on edge than usual – one bad interaction could lead to a scathing review. Contact centers can use automation to refine the customer journey, strengthening CX. For example, AI can automatically update clients about their order status before they call a human agent, providing great, fast service.
Additionally, contact centers can leverage intelligent call routing with communications automation to more effectively manage agent workloads, automatically deflecting traffic to guarantee no location gets swamped. Automating these processes will minimize call abandonment, reduce customer wait times and – according to an in-depth study – boost customer satisfaction by as much as 20%. (McKinsey, 2020) AI and automation are also central to eliminating human error while keeping processes customer centric. (Zapier, 2022)
Investment protection for the economic downtime
IntelePeer’s platform and services like Marketplace empower businesses to modernize their contact center and see a fast return on investment. Similarly, IntelePeer’s simple plug-and-play tools help companies quickly build and deploy communication solutions without rebuilding their platform with complex IVR. Prepare your contact center for uncertainty with IntelePeer’s platform and Marketplace offerings.