The involvement of machine learning in contact centers is a game changer.
Businesses must leverage the technology to make the experience of dealing with contact centers less tedious for already aggrieved customers.
The success of contact centers is measured based on, more or less, two key performance indicators — the average call handling time (AHT) and customer satisfaction ratings. This means that each call made by a customer not only has to be completed quickly but also with the caller’s grievance resolved for good (preferably with no need for callbacks or escalation). That is a tall task during the best of times but becomes especially hard to accomplish during a difficult phase such as a pandemic. Machine learning and cognitive automation can be useful to resolve such problems and make contact centers faster and more effective in terms of customer grievance handling and query resolution. The implementation of machine learning in CRM can positively transform the contact centers of the future. Here’s how:
1. Reduction of Call Handling Time
If there’s one thing customers hate doing when they call a contact center, it is waiting on the line for an extended period. Long waiting times are incredibly frustrating for callers, and several customers may feel that organizations are simply disrespecting their valuable time for the sake of it. To return the favor, customers may cease using the products or services of an organization just because they’ve had to wait a long time before getting to hear a customer service executive’s voice. According to a study, long waiting times are the reason why Americans consistently incur collective losses of about US$100 billion annually. From a business perspective, that translates into productivity losses of about US$900 per employee for organizations.
The deployment of voice chatbots and text chatbots helps businesses resolve this problem to a great extent. For example, voice chatbots can immediately engage with customers, cutting the waiting time of a given call right from the onset. Voice chatbots use NLP to “understand” customer problems. In contact centers of the future, such applications will also be able to resolve calls involving simple customer grievances or demands—such as adding a hold bag or correcting a duplication error in one of the travelers’ names in a booked flight reservation. For complex queries, grievances or requirements, the system can simply redirect calls to appropriate Subject Matter Experts (SME) for resolution with minimal delay. This represents a massive upgrade over the same situation playing out in an AI-less environment wherein callers will end up wasting several hours trying to explain their situation to a customer service agent before even getting to speak to an SME.
2. Improvement of Customer Experience
Several organizations have their contact centers located in offshore regions. Customer service agents in those countries may find it challenging to understand international customers’ accents and other linguistic intricacies during a conversation, making it impossible to have a call completed and a query resolved quickly. NLP enables voice chatbots to comprehend what a customer says, regardless of their language or accent.
Customers generally find it highly irritating when they’re made to repeat themselves over and over again during a call. The involvement of AI in CRM enables callers to have their queries understood and resolved in double-quick time, thereby raising the overall customer satisfaction index.
It is safe to say that contact centers of the future can add several layers of effectiveness and speed by including AI in CRM-related communication.
Om e-postsäkerhet i hybridarbetets tid
With remote working the future for so many global workforces – or at least some kind of hybrid arrangement – is there an impact on email security we are all missing? Oliver Paterson, director of product management at VIPRE Security, believes so.
“The timeframe that people expect now for you to reply to things is shortened massively,” says Paterson. “This puts additional stress and pressure on individuals, which can then also lead to further mistakes. [Employees] are not as aware if they get an email with a link coming in – and they’re actually more susceptible to clicking on it.”
The cybercriminal’s greatest friend is human error, and distraction makes for a perfect bedfellow. The remote working calendar means that meetings are now held in virtual rooms, instead of face-to-face. A great opportunity for a quick catch up on a few emails during a spot of downtime, perhaps? It’s also a great opportunity for an attacker to make you fall for a phishing attack.
“It’s really about putting in the forefront there that email is the major first factor when we talk about data breaches, and anything around cyberattacks and ransomware being deployed on people’s machines,” Paterson says around education. “We just need to be very aware that even though we think these things are changing, [you] need to add a lot more security, methods and the tactics that people are using to get into your business is still very similar.
“The attacks may be more sophisticated, but the actual attack vector is the same as it was 10-15 years ago.”
This bears true in the statistics. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found in its Phishing Activity Trends Report (pdf) in February that attacks hit an all-time high in 2021. Attacks had tripled since early 2020 – in other words, since the pandemic began.
VIPRE has many solutions to this age-old problem, and the email security product side of the business comes primarily under Paterson’s remit. One such product is VIPRE SafeSend, which focuses on misaddressed emails and prevents data leakage. “Everyone’s sent an email to the wrong person at some point in their life,” says Paterson. “It just depends how serious that’s been.”
Paterson notes one large FMCG brand, where a very senior C-level executive had the same name as someone else in the business much lower down. Naturally, plenty of emails went to the wrong place. “You try and get people to be uber-careful, but we’ve got technology solutions to help with those elements as well now,” says Paterson. “It’s making sure that businesses are aware of that, then also having it in one place.”
Another part of the product portfolio is with EDR (endpoint detection and response). The goal for VIPRE is to ‘take the complexities out of EDR management for small to medium-sized businesses and IT teams.’ Part of this is understanding what organisations really want.
The basic knowledge is there, as many organisational surveys will show. Take a study from the Enterprise Security Group (ESG) released in October in terms of ransomware preparedness. Respondents cited network security (43%), backup infrastructure security (40%), endpoint (39%), email (36%) and data encryption (36%) as key prevention areas. Many security vendors offer this and much more – but how difficult is it to filter out the noise?
“People understand they need an endpoint solution, and an email security solution. There’s a lot of competitors out there and they’re all shouting about different things,” says Paterson. “So it’s really getting down to the nitty gritty of what they actually need as a business. That’s where we at VIPRE try to make it as easy as possible for clients.
“A lot of companies do EDR at the moment, but what we’ve tried to do is get it down to the raw elements that every business will need, and maybe not all the bells and whistles that probably 99% of organisations aren’t going to need,” Paterson adds.
“We’re very much a company that puts a lot of emphasis on our clients and partners, where we treat everyone as an individual business. We get a lot of comments [from customers] that some of the biggest vendors in there just treat them as a number.”
Paterson is speaking at the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Global, in London on December 1-2 around the rising threat of ransomware, and how the security industry evolves alongside this threat. Having a multi-layered approach will be a cornerstone of Paterson’s message, and his advice to businesses is sound.
“Take a closer look at those areas, those threat vectors, the way that they are coming into the business, and make sure that you are putting those industry-level systems in place,” he says. “A lot of businesses can get complacent and just continue renewing the same thing over and over again, without realising there are new features and additions. Misdelivery of email is a massive one – I would say the majority of businesses don’t have anything in place for it.
“Ask ‘where are the risk areas for your business?’ and understand those more, and then make sure to put those protection layers in place to help with things like ransomware attacks and other elements.”
Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Kolla upp Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London.
Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge här.
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