Natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and other adverse events can severely disrupt day-to-day activities of many companies. Your employees might be prevented from working in offices and delivering products and services the way they used to. Uncertainty and rapid changes make customers anxious, too. This will lead to a surge in customer requests and inquiries, with contact center teams under growing pressure. Companies are well-advised to plan for such scenarios to ensure business continuity and the smooth running of essential operations.
Remote agents and chatbots working together
Tackling this challenge, fortunately, is far from impossible. Thanks to an array of cloud-based solutions, including those offered by RingCentral, your in-house contact center agents can easily work from home. Also, you can go beyond voice-based support by opening digital channels for your customers to reach the company.
Whether it’s live chat, Facebook Messenger, or something else, messaging has become one of the preferred methods of communication for many people. And you can further improve your digital communications by deploying a chatbot, an AI program that simulates a human-like conversation with customers through messaging apps, websites, social media, or the telephone.
AI chatbots improve customer service operations
Companies can train chatbots to handle a range of tasks. They can help with routine queries, such as login issues, address changes, and payment problems. These AI programs can also guide customers in ordering products, finding stores, booking tickets, and other more complex services. Chatbots are learning customer preferences with each new interaction and adjusting their actions accordingly. And in situations when AI can’t solve the query, it will gather relevant information and transfer the customer to the appropriate human agent.
Chatbots are therefore an effective way to automate customer service. They don’t need to sleep or take a break and handle a high volume of requests with ease. In fact, chatbots can answer up to 80 percent of routine questions. They can also be trained to proactively contact website visitors, offering product recommendations and up-selling from product catalogs.
These features enable chatbots to speed up response times of human agents and free them up for more challenging tasks. The importance of this capability can’t be overstated. Companies spend over $1 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year and cutting these costs while improving customer experience is of vital importance.
RingCentral integrates with different chatbots
RingCentral enables its users to harness the power of chatbots to respond to customers faster. Companies can use RingCentral Engage Digital, a digital customer engagement platform, which integrates into various chatbot solutions like Google Dialog Flow or Cognigy, to create bots that can pre-qualify a client inquiry, augment incoming inquiries with additional data, and automate the handling of common interactions. The chatbots can be deployed in various communication channels, including Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, web chat, and others.
Using the virtual assistant from Cognigy, not only leads the conversation but also recognizes VIP customers, categorizes messages, and routes inquiries to a live agent with relevant skills.
RingCentral also integrates with Google Dialogflow, a machine learning development suite for a conversational interface.
This integration allows users to automate certain aspects of customer service, improve the quality of customer interactions, solve queries faster, and provide agents with historical and contextual information when an escalation arises.
Future-proofing by going remote and investing in chatbots
The world is becoming increasingly unpredictable and viruses, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, and other disasters can strike suddenly. Companies need to be ready to adjust their operations to adverse events. Allowing agents to work from home and deploying chatbots is a major step in that direction. It can not only ensure business continuity but also lead to many other benefits.
Take, for example, the fact that contact centers are usually located in areas where real estate is cheaper. Companies then have to hire a workforce near that location. But remote contact centers can be staffed with talent from multiple regions, enabling managers to tap into a wider talent pool.
On top of that, companies can save money by cutting costs related to office rent, utilities, furniture, office supplies, cleaning services, internet access, and more. Workers also save money by not having to commute. They tend to be more productive as well because their work-life balance is improved and flexible schedules enable them to juggle personal needs with business tasks.
When it comes to customer service, remote work and chatbots can be a game-changer. If you’re looking to transform your contact center into a remote team and use the power of digital communications, RingCentral can help you and take your business to a whole new level.
Originally published Apr 21, 2020, updated Aug 27, 2020