The holiday season is officially here and contact center managers around the world are prepared for the busiest time in retail. Traditionally, much of this preparation has focused around staffing up to manage peak volume, strategizing to hit KPIs, hardening websites and IT infrastructure and optimizing inventory and fulfillment. This can be taxing and distracting for center management and employees at the busiest time of year. But, as a result of the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, contact centers can stay focused on what matters most: meeting the needs of consumers.
In the contact center environment, it has always been the job of customer service professionals to find efficiencies and cost savings within their operations. Today, AI and automation have shifted the landscape. More specifically, these technologies can be leveraged in a social customer care and engagement strategy to create efficiencies that make our agents and operations more productive by increasing response rates and response times.
Here is how:
- Artificial Intelligence – One of the biggest challenges in social media management is handling an ever-growing volume of posts with limited resources. Engaging with actionable posts and weeding out in-actionable posts is a time consuming process. To address this challenge, certain AI models are designed to extract spam, news articles, retweets, international posts, and other in-actionable content so that agents don’t waste valuable time reviewing posts that don’t warrant a response. In addition, AI can be used to help prioritize posts in the order of importance. For example, posts where customers are in-store shopping and need immediate help locating an item would be prioritized over someone asking a typical customer service question, such as inquiring about store hours.
- Automation – Automation can be used to deliver appropriate responses automatically based on keywords and context. Additionally, an automated rules-based engine can route the right post to the right team member or internal department to deliver the right response. Both strategies can result in huge cost savings and efficiency gains.
While AI and automation can help build in efficiencies that reduce the strain on resources during seasonal peaks, the value of the human-element in social customer care and engagement can’t be left out of the equation. Hiring the right talent – individuals who are empathetic, natural problem-solvers and excellent communicators – and training them to engage, respond and resolve any situation that may arise will ensure success of your social customer care strategy. By allowing AI and automation to organize and prioritize the constant flood of social media posts, customer care representatives can truly shine, engaging with empathy, fun and surprise.
Forward-thinking companies are already using a combination of bots and brains to deliver next-generation customer experiences and optimizing their operations. While there is still time to make adjustments for the 2018 holiday season, now is a good time to start preparing for next year’s continuous improvement projects to remain competitive.
Lauren Kinzierski is VP of Solutions & Product Marketing at HGS