How the multi-channel Contact Centre can work smarter


By Alf Saggese, Chief Revenue Officer at TrustPortal




Every organisation wants its Contact Centre to rapidly deliver frictionless, personalised, simplified, interactions, and multi-channel experiences for employees and customers. But examine most Contact Centre environments and you’ll see agents burdened with labour-intensive inefficient process across lots of complex old systems, as well as limited or disjointed digital capabilities. These constraints mean that almost all are struggling to deliver enhanced services and experiences.


Industry statistics reveal ever-longer call times, slower speed to answer, more abandoned revenue generating calls, missed opportunities to upsell and more. And this is being magnified for those industry sectors experiencing a huge increase in contact volumes resulting from COVID and other macro events, including the energy price crisis. So, we’re seeing lower quality services generating higher agent and customer churn.


I know many forward-thinkers running and supporting Contact Centre operations appreciate this status quo isn’t acceptable or sustainable for agents, customers and balance sheets. And with inflationary pressures also squeezing operating margins, they’re thinking how to start addressing this ‘mission impossible’: faster, easier, with less resources – and avoid missing out on huge opportunities.


Traditional approaches aren’t working

Traditional approaches to innovating in these complex environments often include replacing core systems or creating new, bespoke digital services, but are hampered by the cost, time and staff investment needed. Adding more agents isn’t the answer either: they’re getting harder to source, and re-skilling takes time and money that’s not readily available or within budgets.


Over time, innovative technologies including robotic process automation have been trying to liberate enterprises from the complexity and cost of digitising end-to-end services, across legacy systems. But most organisations are only automating parts of processes and partly delivering digital services.


Current automation tools are designed to perform basic transactions just within the contact centre. They deliver things like ‘get me some information or submit a form’. And with every second critical to offering the best level of service, automation tools need to be working in real-time. Without additional abilities, they can’t deliver the guided, real-time dialogues and instant, digital interactions demanded by agents and customers – across all channels and certainly not easily, effortlessly and at scale.


Smarter Contact Centre augmentation

This is where a new technological capability comes in that’s uniquely enabled by us. It’s an advanced, no-code, SaaS-based HyperAutomation layer that intelligently orchestrates and unifies a workforce of multi-vendor software robots, MiniBots, digital, AI tools and agents in real-time, to rapidly automate and digitise front-office and multi-channel operations. It’s a layer operating on top of the oldest, most complex IT estates, while seamlessly integrating with, and hugely augmenting the scope of existing processes, core systems, digital services and channels.


With this HyperAutomated way of working, each task within any end-to-end process, of any complexity and business function, is precisely performed by the most appropriate combination of robotic and human workers: augmented by tools such as digital and AI – all within seconds. These capabilities are delivered to agents and customers via robot-guided, real-time dialogues and interactions. Presented as intuitive digital user interfaces, they’re intelligent, contextual and consistent, across all channels, including IVR, web, mobile, telephony, email, chatbots, voice recognition, live chat, SMS and more.


In the background, robots are made to work in real-time: accessing multiple old systems in parallel, based on what they find, they dynamically create the next step, or ‘next best interaction’ in a guided journey. Robots instantly create customer relevant 360 view information that’s immediately provided to agents, in the right user interface, at the right time, given the task at hand. AI tools can also be embedded in user interfaces: further equipping agents with predictive analysis capabilities, so they perform next best interactions that swiftly solve customer issues.


Customers can also self-serve through any digital channel, or even switch across multi-channels: guided by the same robots servicing agents, so they’re immediately able to support customers on web, mobile, chatbots, and more.


For example, a customer may start a loan approval process on the web but hit an issue, so they call in and the context of that call is automatically transferred to a front-office agent. Our technology instantly transfers information between different self-serve channels such as a chatbot. When a chatbot runs out of talent and requires human assistance, it calls our technology via a simple API and asks ‘create me a task for an agent to pick up this case’ which is actioned by our Tasks MiniBot. This avoids customers’ pet hate of having to repeat the whole process and removes huge pressure and costs from the Contact Centre.


Real-world use case

What also differentiates us is our capabilities have been exclusively designed, proven and are continually evolved within mission-critical, real-time Contact Centre environments. So, we know what works and swiftly discard what doesn’t.


This is most notably the case at Telefónica Spain, where its 12,000 Contact Centre agents must handle up to 200,000 calls per day. All agents use our HyperAutomation platform as a single, easy to use, digital interface, delivering 85 end-to-end, digital services, across multiple channels: faster, easier and at scale. So instead of the agent spending minutes working across multiple systems, robots immediately provide them with deep "Customer 360" insights - while retrieving data and updating multiple legacy systems simultaneously.


This means even complex Telefónica processes can be completed in minutes, rather than hours - or even days. Simple robot guided interactions for agents, mean significantly less training, cut from months to weeks, far easier multi-skilling and 100% process compliance.


Telefónica has already achieved 50 million euros savings per year, over 50% faster service completion times are being achieved. Enhanced customer experiences are generating +5 Customer Services Index scores, improved agent experiencesare generating 30% less churn.


Final thoughts

Every Contact Centre, from the most digitally mature, to the most legacy challenged operating in any sector, is desperately seeking innovative ways of doing more with less. The good news is that all these capabilities discussed in this article are available now and are already solving Contact Centre problems faster, with less capital and resource, than most organisations believe is currently possible.


Our HyperAutomated approach requires no coding or integration effort to augment ways of working across legacy and digital systems: regardless of their complexity. Existing automation and other tech investments are also augmented, so ROI is delivered in months, not years: and at 10% of the cost of traditional digitisation and automation approaches.