The AI revolution included no nuclear disasters or killer robots – it just kind of happened quietly. Now, AI and people work together every day, especially in the call centers of today.

While we’re still trying to figure out the best implementations of AI – there has been a lot of trial and error – AI has been a game-changer for call center optimization.

So, if you’re looking to keep your call centers on the cutting edge of tech developments, have a look at these eight automation tools and trends to keep in mind.

1. Automated Interactions

This is a blanket term for any kind of customer service tool that allows a customer to speak to a program, rather than a human.

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Rather than having customers listening to that mainstay of call center queues – cheesy hold music, automated software, with advanced voice recognition technology, can take care of many customer needs autonomously, reducing average handle time, and reducing potential customer frustration.

2. Workflow Automation

Automation software can take care of a lot of the mundane, repetitive tasks that call center agents have to deal with. Now, agents can fairly easily organize customer accounts and automate simple follow-up tasks like invoicing, emails, and call logging.

Having an AI handling these tedious tasks will increase productivity and reduce the potential for human error.

3. Marketing Automation

Simple sales and marketing activities can also be automated.

For example, let’s say you offer loyalty rewards to customers after six months of subscription.

Rather than manually sending each email, or text, to every individual customer, you can use automation software to send the message automatically, after the given time period has been triggered.

4. Agent Guidance

Call center automation tools allow call center agents access to information about a customer, as soon as they call. During a call, they can use a multifunctional user interface to access a customer’s account details, payments history, and basically anything they might need to help the customer with.

Automation software can also produce call scripts in response to customer requests, reducing the need for agent coaching while ensuring positive customer reviews.

5. Post Call Analytics

Another one of the great things about AI compared to humans, they don’t forget anything.

Automated call center software can store recordings, transcripts, and other vital information from every single call.

Targeted data analytics can reveal customer trends by having the automation software look out for keywords that are commonly used. For example, if a disproportionate number of customers mentioned “poor service”, this could be flagged and investigated.

6. Forecasting and Analytics

As a manager, automation software can also show you trends in your workforce. It will show you the occurrence of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and give you some insight as to why they’re happening.

Let’s say your call ASA (Average Speed to Answer) is incredibly low at certain times of the day. It could be the case that you have overstaffed during these times. Automation software gives you the best chance to make well-informed business decisions.

7. Scheduling Automation Software

Running a call center, especially a large one, will require a great deal of finesse when it comes to scheduling.

Managing hundreds of employees within a center that operates 24/7, while avoiding gaps and excessive labor costs, is a complex balancing act; one that is far better suited to a computer program.

Automated scheduling software will simply look at employee availability, and designate the perfect number of hours to fulfill your business needs.

8. Hunt Groups

A hunt group is a specific automated call center feature that will manage incoming calls and divert them to different agents, depending on the programmed criteria.

Instead of just sending every call to all available agents simultaneously, you can choose how you’d like calls distributed amongst your team based on certain criteria, and the automation software will handle the rest.

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You can still choose simultaneous call distribution, like traditional ring circles, but there are also four other options to choose from.

Longest Idle

This setting will transfer the call to the agent who has been sitting idle the longest, ensuring no individual agent is waiting for too long.

Round Robin

Also called “circular hunting”, the round-robin setup diverts calls to numbered lines based on availability. If line one is open, it will go there. If not, it will transfer to line two. If line two is busy, it will transfer to line three, and so forth.

Fixed order

As the name suggests, this system transfers calls using a numbered list of call center agents. The first call goes to the first agent, the second to the second, and so on, ignoring factors such as call length and idle time.

This is the fairest option when it comes to ensuring every agent gets the same number of calls.

Skill-Based Routing

With skill-based routing, calls will be diverted based on skill rating.

Each agent in a system will be assigned a skill rating (from 0 to 100). The automation software can then assess each individual call and send them to an agent who is capable of handling it.

For example, if a customer with a long history of complaints calls your center, the automation tools will be able to perceive it as a more difficult customer, and then transfer it to an agent with a higher skill rating.

Hunt groups can be managed and altered from a single user interface, and multiple hunt groups can be managed simultaneously, so you can adapt call distribution to your specific needs, throughout the day.

Keep Up With the Competition

Call centers are changing rapidly because of automation and the only way to keep up with the latest trends is to try it for yourself.

AI can’t quite replace the entire call center sector, not yet anyway, but it can ensure an overall more efficient and effective service.

Automation makes life simpler for your call center agents and management team while providing an all-around better experience for the customer.