As companies outsource their customer support operations, they often turn to third-party providers who specialize in providing customer services over the phone. These companies offer various services, from basic telephone answering to complex software solutions.
The most popular service is call center outsourcing, which involves contracting with an outside company to handle incoming calls and route them to agents or other employees within your organization. Outsourcing this function frees up internal resources to focus on more critical tasks.
Call centers are used by many different types of businesses, including banks, insurance companies, telecommunication firms, and retailers. Almost any industry where customers need assistance uses call centers. And, in the last few years, the call center industry has seen a rise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which have been used to create chatbots that can answer questions about products or services—giving rise to artificial call centers.
This article comprehensively explains an artificial call center, how it works, and why it’s valuable for business owners. It also includes information about the various artificial call centers available and tips for choosing one that meets your needs.
What Is An Artificial Call Center?
An artificial call center (ACC) is a contact center that uses artificial intelligence technology to automate some or all of its functions. An ACC is usually staffed by people who work with access to tools and systems, such as Drop Cowboy Ringless Voicemail, that allow them to interact with customers using voice recognition and speech synthesis.
In addition to handling incoming calls, ACCs can perform many other tasks, such as routing calls to appropriate departments, tracking sales leads, monitoring customer satisfaction levels, and managing marketing campaigns.
How Does An Artificial Call Center Work?
Most ACCs use automated scripts to answer questions posed by customers. The scripts are written by human operators who create them based on the answers provided by previous customers. Scripts are then tested and refined until they reach a level of quality that satisfies both the customer and the provider.
Once the scripts are ready, they’re uploaded into the system, along with instructions on how to respond to each script. When a caller dials the number associated with the script, the system automatically routes the call to the correct agent or service department. If no live agent is available, the system plays a prerecorded message explaining the situation and offering options for resolution.
Artificial call centers use tools like Auto Dialer Software and other automated technologies to ensure every call gets answered quickly and efficiently. In addition, these tools can monitor the performance of individual agents and identify problems before they become serious issues.
Here’s how an artificial call center works:
- Customer Service Agent (CSA) Matching
The software matches incoming calls to the best-suited CSA through predictive call routing. An AI software matches incoming calls to the best-qualified CSA. This process is called ‘matching.’ Matching software typically includes algorithms that analyze factors such as the caller’s location, time zone, language preferences, and past interactions with the company.
- Answering Recorded Questions
With interactive voice response (IVR), systems can answer questions from customers without requiring live agents to take the call. It allows you to resolve issues faster than if you had to wait for someone to pick up the phone.
According to IBM, companies that use IVR systems can satisfy their clients by completing their initial queries within two minutes. That means you don’t have to worry about waiting too long for a live person to answer your call.
Artificial call center software programs simulate conversations between humans and computers. They can be used in place of live agents to assist customers. For example, they can handle basic inquiries, such as account balance inquiries, while allowing agents to focus on more complex issues.
- Providing In-Depth Analytics
An ACC can also help you track key metrics, such as average time spent talking to a customer, average conversation length, and average rate per minute. These numbers will give you insights into what works well and needs improvement.
As a result, you can adjust your strategies accordingly. You can even set goals for your company or department to know where you stand at any given time.
- Sending An Automated Follow-Up
Keeping tabs on your client base is essential to ensure your business stays profitable. After all, happy customers tend to refer others to your company.
That’s why many ACCs offer automated follow-ups. These messages are sent after a certain amount of time has passed since the last contact was made. Some providers send out emails, while others send text messages. Either way, this method helps you stay connected with your clients.
Why Do You Need An Artificial Call Center?
You might be asking, “Why not just hire real live people to answer my calls?” After all, isn’t that what traditional call centers do?
Well, yes, but there are several reasons businesses and organizations prefer using automated call centers over live agents. Surveys revealed that 87% of global organizations agree on the competitive edge that artificial call centers provide their businesses.
Here are some more reasons why having an ACC is better than relying on live employees:
- Helps Lower Costs
You save money outsourcing your phone operator services because you don’t have to pay payroll taxes, healthcare premiums, retirement plans, or other employee expenses. You also avoid the hassle of training new hires and dealing with high employee turnover rates because you’ll never have to replace someone who quits.
As a business owner, you can focus on running your company instead of worrying about staffing needs and costs. That means you can spend less time and money recruiting, interviewing, and training new hires, and more time focusing on growing your business.
- Increases Customer Satisfaction
Another reason to consider outsourcing your phone answering services is that you’ll receive superior customer service. Live agents tend to treat customers differently, depending on whether they’re talking to a man or a woman, young or old, rich or poor. They also tend to speak differently to customers when they feel threatened or think they’ve been inconvenienced.
By contrast, ACCs provide consistent, personalized service regardless of the caller’s gender, age, income, or other personal characteristics, which makes them much easier to work with and helps keep customers happy.
Since artificial call centers are programmed to behave in certain ways, they can handle situations that would otherwise require human intervention. For example, if a caller asks for help with a billing issue, an ACC will ask the right questions and offer the step-by-step options that lead customers to the appropriate solutions without getting flustered or annoyed.
A study by Harvard Business Review mentions one of the common reasons that agitate customers is being transferred from one person to another. But, since ACCs are programmed to follow specific procedures and resolve problems as quickly as possible, they won’t transfer you to different departments or try to sell you additional products.
- Relieves Agent Stress
Relieving agent stress is one of the most important advantages of using an artificial call center over hiring live agents. When you use an ACC, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your agents aren’t going to quit or start taking sick days.
It doesn’t mean that artificial call centers can entirely replace real people. Sometimes, your customers need to speak directly to a live agent, especially if they have complex issues. However, for minor and repetitive inquiries, an ACC can be beneficial. It allows your agents to spend their time doing what they do best—helping customers solve their problems.
- Improves Sales Conversion Rate
One of the most significant benefits of having an ACC is that it helps improve your sales conversion rate. Statistics reveal that telemarketers using automated systems to answer and make calls garner significant monthly sales increase.
It’s no surprise why this happens—since your system is designed to answer all incoming calls or automatically dial outbound calls, it eliminates the possibility of missed opportunities. Your agents don’t get distracted by non-urgent calls, so they can concentrate on handling urgent ones. In addition, they don’t waste time figuring out how to deal with each caller. Instead, they focus on more pressing matters other than answering simple questions that an ACC could easily handle.
Different Types Of ACC Solution
There are many types of ACC solutions. These include:
- Inbound automated call center: An inbound call center is similar to a traditional telephone answering machine. You can set up rules to route calls based on the number called, the type of call, or even the language spoken. This way, you can direct calls to the correct department or agent.
- Outbound automated call center: Outbound automated call centers are used to place outbound calls. These calls are usually made to potential customers or leads. They’re also known as cold calling.
- Blended automated call center: Blended automated call centers combine inbound and outbound features. The main difference between these two is that blended automated call centers allow agents to choose which kind of call they want to take.
- Interactive voice response (IVR): Interactive voice response (IVR) is a technology that uses recorded messages to guide users through various steps before connecting them to a human agent. IVRs are commonly found at banks, insurance companies, and online retailers.
- Self-service interactive voice response (SVIR): This is a variation of IVR where customers can access information without speaking to a human agent. It’s often used in self-service applications, such as banking, insurance, and eCommerce.
How To Choose The Best ACC Software?
The market is flooded with hundreds of solutions companies offering similar products at varying prices. So, how do you know which ones are worth your investment? Here are things to look for when choosing the best ACC software for your business:
- Features You Need For Your Business
First, ensure that the software offers all the features you need. You don’t want to pay extra for something you don’t need. Make sure it has everything you need, like call recording, auto-attendant, IVR, etc.
For example, if you’re planning to expand into international markets, you should check if it offers multilingual support. Or, if you’re looking for a solution that can integrate with your CRM system, make sure it has this feature, too.
- Implementation Time Frame
If you’re unfamiliar with technology, you might struggle to get up and running with new software. That’s why choosing a company that provides training is essential so that you can learn how to use its features properly.
You still need to train your staff to use the software, so ensure it comes with user manuals and tutorials. You can always contact the vendor’s technical support team if there’s no manual. They should be able to walk you through every step of setting up the software.
- Customer Service And Support
Customer service is crucial. Don’t just settle for any old software provider. Look for a company that has a good reputation and customer reviews. This way, you’ll know that they’re reliable and trustworthy.
Make sure you choose the software solution that offers 24/7 support so you can reach them whenever you need help. Also, ensure that the provider offers email support, online chat, and ticketing systems. These will allow you to communicate with them even if you’re offline.
- System Cost
Cost is probably the most crucial factor in deciding whether or not to buy a particular product. After all, you wouldn’t want to invest thousands of dollars without getting anything in return.
When comparing different providers, make sure that you compare apples to apples. For example, if one company offers a lower price, ensure that it includes the same features as the more expensive ones. Otherwise, you might end up spending more on a solution that has a cheaper but equally effective alternative.
At the end of the day, you should ask how much money you’re willing to spend on a piece of software. If you think it’ll cost you more but can give you better results, you can consider it a worthwhile investment.
Choosing the right call center software is essential to growing your business. It helps you manage calls efficiently, improve sales conversions, and increase customer satisfaction. But, before you start shopping around, ensure these factors are covered.