B2C Call Center Technology Trends - Mobile, Cloud, AI and More ...

Will Artificial Intelligence ultimately replace human agents in the centers? Does crowdsourcing agents really work? How is mobile and clound impacting call center operations? In our blog we focus on the latest trending technologies and tools used by call centers around the world.

Artificial Intelligence Technologies in Call Center

Almost 50 years ago when IVR (Interactive Voice Response) was gaining popularity, people thought it was going to cut down labor force significantly in call centers. It did help increase the operational efficiency significantly but IVR in no way replaced or will replace human agent on the other end of the line. In the past 10 years, Artificial Intelligence, especially so called Deep Learning is reshaping how companies deal with the huge amount of data they collect from the interactions and transactions with customers. Below are a few examples how call centers are or will benefit from the advancement in new technologies.

Fraud Detection - Pindrop (https://www.pindrop.com)

Their technology identifies suspicious callers on the first call using a multi-factor analysis engine and adaptive machine-learning technology. Here is an excerpt from the webiste - "Pindrop provides enterprise solutions to secure phone and voice communications. Pindrop solutions reduce fraud losses and authentication expense for some of the largest call centers in the world. Pindrop’s patented Phoneprinting technology can identify, locate and authenticate phone devices uniquely just from the call audio thereby detecting fraudulent calls as well as verifying legitimate callers. Pindrop has been selected by the world’s largest banks, insurers, brokerages and retailers, detecting over 80% of fraud, even for attackers never seen before. Our solutions are allowing our customers to reduce call time and improve their customers experience even while reducing fraud losses. Pindrop is restoring confidence in the security of phone-based transactions.". 

Language Transation - Google

The latest Deep Learning technology has been applied to various areas, such as Autonomous Driving. NPL (Natural Language Processing) is another hot area where DL is applied. In 2016, Google published their results (https://research.googleblog.com/2016/09/a-neural-network-for-machine.html). Its accuracy and performance has significant improvements over the previous results. Imagine in the future, an agent speaking Japanese can assist customers speaking English. In-between the machine translate in real time in audio and both parties don't either notice they are talking to someone speaking a different language!

Emotion Analytics - BeyondVerbal (http://www.beyondverbal.com/)

"Your call is very important to us. Please wait". Who likes to call customer service and be put on hold for 30 minutes with the boring background music? I don't. Plus when a customer needs to talk to an agent, it is very likely about some trouble in the product or service. A few years ago there were companies starting offering solutions to analyze the voice recordings and identify pieces that the managers should pay close attention. By doing so, they may be able to save an unsatisfied customer from leaving and also identify the 'bad apples' in the agents. With the advancement of NLP and Deep Learning, this area is ready to benefit significantly. Imagine that the machine can actually 'understand' the conversation and notify the manager if attention is needed. 

Will Machine Replace Human Agents in Call Centers One Day?

The answer is YES. But when? If I have to guess, I'd say at least 50 years. Here is why -  Artificial Intelligence today can recognize patterns in a way that even human may not be capable of, but being able to reasoning is the key of true intelligence. Remember it took about 50 years for Neural Network to evolve into Deep Learning and gain popularity in industries. We are not there yet to make machines that can reason. Researchers have started working on this topic but so far the results are very limited. So for people who work in call centers, no need to worry about it.

Continue reading
195 Hits

Cutting Off Landlines Impacting The Business Of Call Centers

Call centers are places where organizations deploy their agents to handle phone calls and maintain their logs. Call centers are used for telemarketing, mail-order cataloging, to provide help-desk services and/or by any large organization who need to sell their products off to the general public through phone calls. These centers often outsourced their work to outstations who would then work for this. It is a whole circle providing great employment opportunities to many individuals out there. However, the trend is changing nowadays. In the fast pacing world, nobody has time to sit down and attend those long call telemarketing calls. People do not want to be bothered by the calls from unknown numbers anymore. Moreover, many of these call centers are shutting down due to fewer returns that they are making from this business nowadays. The growing trend of cutting off all landlines is affecting the whole call center business a lot.

 

Cord cutting trend

The world is moving towards digitizing itself in every way possible. We are in an era defined by high-speed internet, smartphones, wireless chargers, portable gadgets. There is no room for cords and wires in our homes anymore. Why go through the hassle of getting our home turn into a wiring station when you can very well enjoy the same services from a wireless platform. TV Cables are being replaced with OTT services. Landlines are being replaced by smartphones and android applications. Personal computers are no more in fashion. People now prefer owning laptops that come with long battery lives. Instead of using the landline, people now prefer using wireless phone services. There is no room today for cords and long annoying wires in our homes anymore. They are being replaced smartly with better options.

Growing trend of smartphones

Everybody is on the move nowadays. This is what calls for a need to provide options that can help them stay connected. With landlines, you cannot do that. They restrict you to your homes and do not provide the services that you can avail if you shift to using smartphones instead. As per a survey conducted in the USA in 20185, there was a whopping figure of 53.4% for the people who used smartphones in that region. According to its report, more than 1.42billion phones were sold all over the world in 2015 alone. This trend is picking up a pace and it is estimated that by 2019, the smartphones penetration in the USA will increase by many folds.

Changing behaviors

The reason for a variable trend for availing call center services can largely be attributed to the changing behavior of people nowadays. This comes with its own pros and cons for the call centers.

Pros:

  • There was a time when the customers on receiving calls from the agents in call centers would have no knowledge of what they are talking about. Now they can look up information in real-time for all sorts of calls that are being made to them. This is why most of the calls now refer to their digital side of marketing as well because the agents know that the customers would give a better response if they are linked to the world they can connect with more.
  • It is easier for call centers to reach out to their customers. They do not need to wait for them to be home to interact with them. With smartphones, they have the chance of communicating with customers without having to worry about them being at home or not.
  • There are times when you call up some help desk services for information and they in return send you text messages and emails with their detailed response. This facility of using text messages and emails to interact with the customers has changed the whole outlook of call centers. Gone are the days, when customers were put on long holds while the call centers’ agents would look through the information they would need. Those were the times when calls would end up getting really long. With the advent of emails and text messages, the call centers keep their calls short and to the point. This way their productivity is enhanced as well where they get to reach out to more users in less amount of time.
  •  The era of text messages and emails has led to better communication. No more getting confused or baffled by the amount of information that is sent their way. Customers have a chance of being better informed and taken care of especially when the call centers have more platforms to help them out with.
  • There was a time when the calls that were made for sale purposes were mostly in vain. This is because very few of the people who were called knew about the relevant details of the services that were being offered to them. Now with wireless communication, customers can look up the services on the web in real time especially with the advent of slide phones. This helps the call centers get a better response.
  •  It is easier for customers to reach out to the help desk services since they can look up their numbers easily now.

 

Cons:

  • Customers can now easily block the calls through the call blocking applications that are available online. This way if call centers call them too much, they can have their number blocked to not be bothered by it again.
  • Customer care applications are replacing call centers. Instead of calling the help desks, customers now prefer logging on to customer care applications that are built especially for their help.

The trend of cutting up the landlines has affected many call centers in negative and positive ways. The ones who adapted to the change have sustained and the ones who didn’t have ended up closing down. Call centers are there to help the customers and market products and services. Why restrict to calls only when you can make use of other platforms to fulfill the same purpose. 

 

Continue reading
168 Hits