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Let Agents Focus on Customers (Not Notes) While on Calls

A customer service agent on a call
When agents have fewer manual tasks to check off, they can focus on providing personalized, empathetic support.[Getty Images]

When support call data is processed like any other digital channel, service teams can use automation to make life easier for both customers and agents.

Do you ever call customer service only to speak with an agent who doesn’t seem prepared to help? Their slow responses accompany the sound of frantic keyboard clicking as they struggle to collect basic details about your service issue. Sound familiar? This common scenario is maddening for customers and agents alike.

When service agents are expected to manually take notes on every phone call, their connection with the customer suffers. There is a better way. Customer service teams who integrate their CRM with their voice channel increase agents’ productivity and focus with help from automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

By using the phone as a digital channel, calls are transcribed in real time while the agent focuses on the conversation in progress. Service teams can then use AI to help automate next-best actions, initiate process workflows, and reduce time needed for post-call wrap ups. 

Automating routine customer support processes creates a seamless experience for agents and customers. In fact, 77% of agents say automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work, according to Salesforce’s latest “State of Service” report. When agents have fewer manual tasks to check off, they can focus on providing personalized, empathetic support. So, integrating voice as a digital channel is a smart move for your customer engagement strategy.

Explore how digital telephony works to improve the customer and employee experience

Here’s what every service leader needs to know.

Below are two ways using voice as an integrated digital channel improves service performance through AI and automation. 

Unlock the power of your voice channel with digital transcriptions

Many call centers record calls and perform ad hoc reviews, but they are missing the benefits of digital transcriptions. Even when a call is manually transcribed, the ability to glean insights from any individual call and aggregate insights across calls is complicated and time-consuming. 

When you connect your phone channel into your CRM, customer service teams can take advantage of real-time transcriptions. AI-powered automation scans the transcriptions to help spot trends, identify key points, and extract the meaning of every conversation while an agent is still on a call. After a call, service teams can use that data to improve further. 

Even the best service center leaders can’t review and extract insights from the transcripts of hundreds of calls per day — but AI can. Customer temperament and satisfaction are scored objectively and over time remain more reliable and consistent than a score assigned manually by an agent. 

Let’s look at a real-life example from a personal finance company. Their agents are handling a high volume of calls that deal with FAQs, including topics that the company is not legally permitted to answer. 

As a solution, the company does three things: 

  1. Quickly redirects callers to the best support channel for their issue by integrating digital telephony with CRM. 
  2. Puts the customer at the center with a 360-degree view of their interactions with the company.
  3. Deploys a chat to help agents have personalized live chats based on how members and prospects are engaging on the website. 

As a result, customers receive quicker responses to FAQs, while agents have more time to handle strategic issues and close cases faster.

Take the customer experience to the next level with AI

While we can learn a ton from aggregated call transcript data on a large scale, real-time transcription paired with AI-powered automation provides insights when they matter most — during a call. All the best practices, insights, and tips for handling challenging scenarios are just a keyword or intent trigger away from an agent’s screen. It’s easy to build out alerts in real time with coaching, suggestions, and prescriptive next-best actions. 

Here’s what that looks like in practice:

Next-best actions

  • A customer asks about rescheduling an order, and the next-best action suggests a workflow that walks through how to reschedule.
  • A business owner has questions about servicing their old espresso machine, and a next-best action pops up with a suggestion to ask if they want to upgrade to a newer model with a trade-in promotion.
  • When a customer mentions a product, AI auto-suggests an article or action.

Call-center coaching

  • Keyword alerts set the stage for real-time coaching in critical areas — for example, a supervisor may want to coach an agent on improving their refund process.
  • If the agent says something improper, automated real-time notifications alert the supervisor there is a potential compliance issue.

Conversational intelligence

  • Digital transcription helps AI detect customer sentiment and point agents to resources in real time.

Voice is here to stay — here’s why

As long as your customers have complex challenges that need an empathetic agent to help solve, the voice channel isn’t going anywhere. That’s why it’s important to fully integrate it into the rest of your digital customer service channels.

When combined with AI, digital voice with its real-time call transcription provides rich insights into agent performance. These insights help managers improve customer experience and  give agents objective feedback based on benchmarked key performance indicators (KPIs).

A few specific KPIs that digital telephony typically improves include:

  • Agent productivity
  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Customer retention
  • Employee retention
  • First-call resolution

KPIs that typically decrease include:

  • Average handle time 
  • Call wrap-up time
  • Supervisor admin time
  • Agent onboarding time

Explore how digital telephony works to improve the customer and employee experience

Here’s what every service leader needs to know.

Patrick Beyries VP of Product, Service Cloud

Patrick Beyries is a vice president of product for Service Cloud, driving product strategy and execution. He helps service organizations transform their operations and connect more productively with their customers. Patrick enjoys discussing the future of service and how best to help companies with evolving needs.

More by Patrick

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