The competitive edge of AI-powered guided workflows in contact centers

Tashu Aggarwal

May 3, 20238 min read

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The competitive edge of AI-powered guided workflows in contact centers

Imagine you're in a frantic rush to block your stolen credit card, with the clock ticking down and your heart racing. You're counting on a customer service representative to come to your rescue. But instead, the representative seems to be running in circles, unsure of what steps to take next, and keeps putting you on hold to consult with a supervisor. How would you feel in this situation?

Chances are, you'd feel frustrated, angry, and ready to take your business elsewhere. According to a survey, 69% of customers have discontinued doing business with a brand due to a negative customer service experience.

While it's easy to blame the agents in this scenario, the reality is that contact center agents are expected to be human encyclopedias, dealing with complex problems that demand them to know the answers to any query within minutes. This involves multitasking, which can be challenging — searching across multiple knowledge bases to find solutions and workflows, all while having a quality conversation with the customer.

The solution to these problems can be found in AI-powered guided workflows. Think of it as the trusty co-pilot for customer service agents, guiding them through the turbulent skies of complex customer inquiries.

With the power of artificial intelligence, these workflows can understand customer intent and provide a wealth of knowledge at agents’ fingertips. By breaking down complicated tasks into simple, step-by-step instructions, guided workflows make it easy for agents to navigate through a range of call and chat flows with confidence.

These flows encompass a variety of scenarios such as providing technical support, resolving billing disputes, assisting with product recommendations, and managing returns and refunds.

An image of a sample guided workflow for an order-related query

But what makes AI-powered guided workflows so crucial for contact centers to remain competitive? Let's explore a few key benefits.

Reduced average handling time (AHT)

A key metric for contact centers is average handling time (AHT), which measures the average time it takes to resolve a customer issue.

By understanding the customer's intent and providing instructional guidance and real-time support to agents, guided workflows can help them resolve customer issues faster and with greater accuracy. This means that customers spend less time on the phone or waiting for a response, leading to reduced average handling time (AHT).

But what does this mean for your brand's competitive advantage?

Well, reducing AHT can lead to improved operational efficiency, which can have a ripple effect across the organization. Contact centers can handle more inquiries with the same level of staffing, reducing the need for costly overtime or additional hires. This can result in significant cost savings for the business, making it more competitive in the marketplace.

Moreover, reducing AHT can also lead to improved customer satisfaction. Customers who have their issues resolved quickly and effectively are more likely to become loyal customers and recommend your brand to others. This positive word-of-mouth marketing is like gold in the digital age, where one happy customer can lead to many more through social media and online reviews.

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Building trust through compliance

In the era of information and social media, the stakes are higher than ever for brands to maintain strict compliance. Even the smallest misstep can have disastrous consequences, with fines and penalties that can hit the bottom line hard.

However, the true cost is far greater: a damaged reputation among customers, tarnishing the brand's image and eroding trust that may have taken years to build. In a world where public perception can make or break a company, compliance is no longer a choice but a critical business imperative.

Guided workflows, powered by AI, ensure that agents are following the correct procedures, such as verifying customer identities, adhering to data privacy laws and maintaining accurate records.

For example, a healthcare contact center must comply with various regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

Guided workflows can help agents handle sensitive information properly by guiding them through the necessary steps to ensure compliance, such as encrypting data, limiting access and securing communication channels.

Similarly, in the financial industry, agents must comply with regulations such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to protect customer financial information. Guided workflows can help agents collect and process financial information securely, such as by using encryption protocols, validating customer identities, and securely storing data.

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Customers are more likely to do business with a company that they trust, and compliance violations can erode that trust. By consistently following regulations and industry standards, a contact center can differentiate itself from competitors who may have a history of non-compliance.

Additionally, a focus on compliance can improve the overall customer experience by ensuring that customers are treated fairly and consistently, which can lead to increased loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Reduced errors and repeat contacts

Let's say a customer calls a software company's contact center because they are experiencing issues with installing a software program they recently purchased. Without guided workflows, the representative may struggle to diagnose the problem, leading to errors and potential frustration for the customer.

However, with the power of AI, guided workflows can quickly analyze the issue, provide a step-by-step solution, and even schedule a technician for on-site assistance if needed.

In another scenario, a customer calls a telecom company's contact center to report a service outage. Without the guidance of a workflow, the representative may not have the proper steps to take to resolve the issue.

As a result, the representative may give the customer incorrect information or take actions that do not address the root cause of the outage, leading to frustration and a negative customer experience.

However, with the assistance of a guided workflow, the representative can quickly identify the cause of the outage and follow a step-by-step process to resolve the issue for the customer, reducing the likelihood of errors.

When customers have positive experiences due to reduced errors, it instills a sense of trust and reliability. This, in turn, encourages customers to return for future purchases and customer service needs.

Moreover, satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the brand to others based on their positive experience, leading to further business growth and a competitive advantage for the brand.

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Reduced operational costs

Guided workflows can be seen as the mighty champions of contact centers, swooping in to save the day by assisting agents in working more efficiently and dramatically reducing operational costs.

By providing agents with a trusty sidekick in the form of real-time support, guided workflows help them resolve customer issues with lightning-fast speed, reducing the need for extra staff or overtime. This not only saves money for the contact center but also ensures that customers receive prompt and effective solutions to their problems.

But that's not all! Guided workflows can also be a lifesaver when it comes to agent onboarding. Instead of spending weeks in training, new agents can jump right in and access the guided workflows to help them answer customer inquiries with confidence. This means less time and money spent on training, and more time focused on serving customers and growing the business.

By saving on operational costs, contact centers can stay ahead of the game and maintain a competitive edge. With more money in the bank, they can invest in new technologies, hire more talent and improve overall customer service. It's a win-win situation that benefits both the contact center and its customers.

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Guided workflows integrated into a brand's website to assist customers

Guided workflows on a brand's website can help the company stand out in the market by serving as an effective customer service tool. Here's how:

  • Self-service options: Customer-facing guided workflows offer self-service options that allow customers to resolve common issues with ease. From tracking orders to initiating returns, these workflows can be the perfect solution to reduce contact center workload and help agents focus on more complex queries.

  • Personalized support: By collecting data about customers’ previous interactions and purchase history, the guided workflows can tailor their guidance to provide a more personalized experience.

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  • Cost savings: By providing customers with self-service options and reducing the need for contact center support, guided workflows can help reduce operational costs. This helps companies improve profitability, freeing up resources for investing in new technologies and customer service improvements that keep customers coming back for more.

Parting thoughts

In the race to stay ahead of the competition, call centers must constantly look for the right tools that enable them to achieve service level objectives without overburdening their agents.

AI-powered guided workflows offer a unique solution that can help call centers achieve these objectives while also streamlining processes and improving agent efficiency.

And the best part?

Guided workflows offer a quick deployment schedule, allowing call centers to reap the benefits in no time and show a positive ROI.

By harnessing the power of both human and automation, this is one tool that can take call center performance to the next level of excellence, revolutionizing the industry as we know it. So if you're looking to join the league of top-performing call centers, AI-powered guided workflows should definitely be on your radar! Try it for free here.

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