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Contact Center Automation: Your Guide to Efficiency and Customer Happiness

Male office worker, in a blue dress shirt, talking with a customer on headset while looking at his computer in an office setting / contact center automation
Contact center automation can help you deliver efficient, personalized, and complete service — all while reducing costs for your business. [svetikd / Getty Images]

With contact center automation, you can reduce wait times and frustration for customers while increasing operational efficiency and saving money for your business.

When it comes to great customer service, your contact center plays an important role. We found that 94% of customers say a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make a purchase again. Yet, only 13% of customers say they can get their issues solved with little effort. Contact center automation can help you deliver personalized, efficient, and complete service — all while reducing costs for your business. 

When you automate processes in your contact center, your agents can work more efficiently and provide better support for customers with more complex issues. Instead of being frustrated by inefficient service, your customers will get answers faster — and they’ll be more inclined to stay loyal to your business. Here’s how you can get started with contact center automation and save money while delivering the kind of service your customers expect.

Modernize your contact center

The right mix of customer service channels and tools can help you become more efficient and improve customer satisfaction. Our guide reveals how high-performing service orgs make it happen.

What is contact center automation? 

Contact center automation streamlines operations and takes on repetitive tasks previously done manually by people. Automation helps to increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve accuracy, and frees up agents to focus on cases that require critical thinking and empathy.

Let’s look at six ways you can use automation in your contact center today:

  1. Chatbots: Leave tasks like order tracking and scheduling appointments to chatbots. Chatbots powered by generative AI can handle more complex questions without human assistance and share links to help resources. 
  2. Interactive voice response (IVR): Let IVR bots built on natural language processing engage callers and provide fast, personalized customer service.  
  3. Robotic process automation (RPA): Leave data entry, information sourcing, and other time-consuming tasks to an RPA, a bot that can intelligently process documents or take action on someone’s behalf.
  4. Knowledge bases: Let AI create, organize, and deliver self-service content, so your agents can focus on more complex cases. Plus, your customers can always get answers — even at 3 a.m.
  5. Omnichannel routing: Route questions from any channel — email, SMS, and social media — to the right agent for the most efficient resolution based on skill set, availability, and capacity.
  6. Workflow: Set up workflows that can handle tasks in one click, such as sending emails and updating case status in one click and guiding agents through multi-step processes.

What are the benefits of contact center automation?

Contact center automation offers many advantages for businesses looking to improve operations and reduce costs without sacrificing customer experience. These benefits include:

  • Increased efficiency: Nobody likes to wait. Automation streamlines workflows so your customers can get their problems solved faster.
  • Improved accuracy: Mistakes happen, especially when mundane work is involved. By automating repetitive and tedious tasks, you can minimize the risk of data inaccuracies.  
  • Cost savings: Automating routine tasks frees up your agents — helping to cut costs by handling repetitive, time-consuming work and streamlining processes.
  • Increased scalability: Workloads are going to increase — especially at certain times of the year, like holidays. Automation helps to manage capacity spikes while taking the burden off your agents and still meeting customer demand. 
  • Better customer experience: Automation provides round-the-clock service to let customers from different time zones get help when they need it and avoid the hassle of long wait times. 

Best practices for automating your contact center

Now that you’ve decided you want to use contact center automation, how can you be sure it’ll be a success? Here are six best practices:

  1. Align your automation strategy with your organization’s overall customer service strategy. Change management is key to getting your whole team on board.  
  2. Prioritize your customers’ needs to make sure you’re giving them the service experience they want. Use customer satisfaction surveys to understand what your customers like and dislike to make better business decisions. 
  3. Use customer data, like CSATs and first resolution, to improve automated processes and make them more personalized and efficient. 
  4. Make the integration between automation and human agents seamless to let your agents step in when needed without impacting customer experience.
  5. Regularly update and expand your automation capabilities to stay current with customer expectations and technologies, like generative AI
  6. Invest in training for your team to make sure they have the skills needed to use automation effectively while providing personalized customer support. Trailhead, Salesforce’s online self-paced learning platform, offers training on everything from streamlining customer service with automation to effective communication.

Get started with contact center automation

Contact center automation can change your business and customer experience for the better, so it’s important to take the right steps to get the most out of your investment. Here are four ways to set up for success: 

  1. Identify the recurring problems and repetitive tasks in your contact center. Be sure to ask your agents what they’d like to see improved or automated. 
  2. Develop a clear automation strategy. Outline the processes to be automated and your expected outcomes, such as improvements in customer effort score, average ticket handling time, or net promoter score.
  3. Research and choose the right automation tools and software that support your specific goals, whether it’s chatbots for handling routine inquiries, streamlining workflows, or creating knowledge base articles.
  4. Start small — you don’t have to do everything at once. Use a phased implementation to gradually introduce automation into your workflows and continuously monitor and adjust based on performance, employee feedback, and customer data. 

Maximize your contact center performance

Your contact center should be a modern, omnichannel engagement center that both agents and customers love. See what’s possible with contact center software built into your CRM, powered by AI and automation.

Zoe Sitrin Senior Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce

Zoe Sitrin is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce. She focuses on marketing, messaging and customer engagement for Service Cloud's contact center solutions, including Service Cloud Voice.

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