Customer experience (CX) has not always been a top priority at agencies, but is becoming one rapidly. For instance, the Government Contact Center Council formed to discuss and share best practices to improve CX. Recognizing that contact centers are often the first, if not only, point of interaction with the public for many agencies, members of both houses of Congress have introduced legislation calling for ways to modernize contact centers.
The challenge is that the contact center increased in complexity in recent years, with agents now managing multiple channels, including voice, email, chat and even social media. This omnichannel environment requires a whole new level of automation that takes advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as an essential tool in improving both the efficiency and effectiveness of human agents and providing a better customer journey. A main example of this is bots.
Below are effective ways agencies can use this technology to address contact center needs:
Use contextual intelligence
This gives customers a warm, fuzzy feeling. For example, if customers have interacted with a virtual agent before, it remembers them and treats subsequent engagements as friendly conversation, plus it can begin to anticipate what questions they will ask. Also, that relationship gets passed to a live agent.
“When I call in, I know that the health department, [for example], is concerned about me. They know I called last time about my COVID test and they’re asking me relevant questions,” Petramala said. “From the agency, that contextual data that you’re gathering is important because you can make the call more effective [and] more successful.”
Build on that with sentiment analysis
This technology studies an interaction in real time to gauge the customer’s level of satisfaction. For example, it could determine that someone is getting frustrated with a chat bot and escalate that engagement to a human agent.
Use a bot that can understand common English
It should also be able to respond in a way that doesn’t sound robotic, using natural language processing. It also lets callers dictate the flow of the call, unlike traditionally used interactive voice response, and it increases agencies’ deflection rates as customers find information themselves. When they can’t, the system can automatically connect them with a live agent. “Natural language processing is the game-changer,” Petramala said.
Find the right agent to respond to a question or problem using AI
The more data a contact center collects, the easier it is for virtual and live agents to do their jobs. “The AI is tapped into the data that you provide, so the smarter you make it, the better it can be in terms of efficiency,” he said. “Not only can I pass along all that contextual information, but I can look at the data profile of the agents themselves, based on when they logged in, to know … that agent will have all the relevant information so we can have the most successful interaction at that moment.”
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “Clearer Connections: How to Build a More Intelligent Contact Center.” Download the full report here.