The way companies operate is changing as customers become more comfortable in seeking help online. This is an opportunity to engage people and win their loyalty, but a huge influx of inquiries is putting customer service teams under a lot of pressure. To keep up, they have to do more with less.

One way to go about that is by deploying a text-based customer service funnel comprising human, self-serve, and proactive layers of support. The self-serve aspect of this funnel is particularly important for serving customers in a cost-effective way with chatbots, IVR, and other automation solutions doing the grunt work. They ensure you can deliver personalized support at scale without damaging customer experience.

Many benefits of automation technologies

Artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies enable companies to fully or partially automate a range of customer interactions. McKinsey, a global consultancy, estimates that currently available solutions might replace 29% of support agent responsibilities. And the effects of this trend go beyond cost savings.

For one, customer effort will be minimized as software tools provide immediate answers to simple queries and repetitive questions. This increases customer satisfaction and allows human agents to focus on more important tasks. Also, smart technologies empower smaller teams to handle ever more inquiries without hurting service quality.

Chatbots take care of repetitive tasks

Among various automation solutions available on the market, chatbots have proven to be an especially effective one. These programs are typically powered by AI and simulate a human-like conversation with customers through various channels, including messaging apps, websites, and social media.

Chatbots can guide customers in different scenarios ranging from login issues and payment problems to address changes and booking instructions. They’re also learning from each interaction and adjusting their actions to provide better support. And since they don’t need to sleep or take a break, chatbots can deliver 24/7 support, tackle up to 80 percent of routine questions, and reduce customer service cost by a third.

IVR, ACD, and virtual hold streamline call volume

Besides digital interactions, automation and self-serve solutions also help with streamlining and reducing call volume. An interactive voice response (IVR) system, for instance, routes customer calls through a series of automated questions to connect them to the right agent and department. The machine can answer repetitive questions, such as simple billing info or queries about office hours, without the involvement of a live agent. An automated IVR interaction costs as little as $0.25, a significantly lower figure compared to talking to a live agent that cost $6 to $12.

Companies that get numerous incoming inquiries regularly can up their automation game by using automatic call distribution (ACD) software. This technology automatically distributes incoming contacts to the right agents using various parameters such as CRM data, IVR interactions, and the number dialed. You’re then able to provide customers with personalized and rapid support.

And to ensure that these callers aren’t kept on hold for long periods, you can introduce ‘virtual hold’. This feature gives customers the option to receive a return call as soon as an agent is available without losing their places in a queue. Customers will end up being less frustrated as they won’t wait and can even specify at what time they’d like to be called back. Your team will also benefit as you’ll get to better manage peaks and lulls in call volume without overloading agents.

Partnering with RingCentral

Automation technologies are a game-changer for support agents that spend as much as 90% of their time dealing with the same problems over and over again. Relieved from these tasks, they can have more time for handling complicated issues.

Getting to this point, however, requires providing your team with powerful software tools. RingCentral, in particular, is well suited to enable you to harness the power of chatbots, IVR, ACD, and other solutions.

RingCentral Engage Digital, a digital customer engagement platform, is compatible with various chatbot solutions like Google Dialog Flow or Cognigy. This makes it possible to build bots that can be deployed in various communication channels, including Facebook Messenger and Apple Business Chat, to pre-qualify incoming inquiries, automate the handling of repetitive interactions, and perform various other tasks. RingCentral contact center software also comes with IVR and ACD features. And it’s equipped with automated speech recognition (ASR) capability that allows callers to respond to IVR prompts by speaking.

These and many other functionalities make RingCentral an ideal partner to help you introduce automation and self-serve capabilities into your support team.

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