The post-friction Contact Center experience

Intelligent Contact Center Automation with a human heart

Introduction

You watch your cell’s call timer tick over to 24 minutes. That’s 24 minutes you’ve now spent on hold. Waiting to talk to someone. Listening to the same holding music on repeat. Being thanked for your patience every 25 seconds by an automated and overly optimistic voice.

It’s 24 minutes that’s felt like an eternity. Because you’ve spent it worrying about this unrecognized, potentially fraudulent charge to your credit card. It doesn’t help that you already tried using the company’s Chatbot, only to find yourself stuck in a loop of automated responses, without even getting close to resolving the problem.

“Good afternoon, my name is Dani. How can I help?”

Finally, your chance to get this problem sorted.

“I’m sorry Sir, you’ve reached the Small Business service department, and you’ll need the Consumer Fraud team. I’ll authenticate your account, and get you transferred–”

Even as someone involved in the contact center industry, you’re probably familiar with being on the customer-end of a conversation like this one – and with the bubble of frustration that inevitably rises as a result of these interactions.

Because the hard truth is, most contact centers are inefficient.

Over time, as demand for services has grown, the focus for most businesses has been on one of two things: either recruiting more contact center agents reactively to address user inquiries. Or by simply automating everything.

Both strategies can result in an inefficient, friction-filled service. It’s a painful experience for customers. Not to mention it leads to a disengaged, frustrated workforce struggling to have productive conversations with end users, or serve them in an authentic way.

In contact centers around the world, legacy systems have been cobbled together to try and form an end-to-end solution that fits today’s savvy consumer – the type of consumer who wants to be able to access their account, ask about payments and upgrade their service in one interaction. But instead of clarity through systems integration, contact centers have become more like Frankenstein’s monsters of clunky interactions. Fragmented processes. Repeated conversations. Poor experiences for everyone involved.

How can we prevent customers becoming exasperated with the lack of ‘human touch’ and looking elsewhere for a better service? How do we boost staff morale, empower them to provide action-based service, and have more meaningful interactions with customers? How do we stay one step ahead of the competition, and form more significant connections between brand and customer?

How AI-powered CCaaS can build a better future

When you head to Netflix or Amazon, it’s often staggering to see just how much these tech giants know about us – and how often their algorithms get it right when it comes to recommending a new product or selling us an additional service.

In a world of hyper-personalization, customers don’t want to settle for a ‘less than’ experience. They want customer service agents to know who they are and why they’re calling. They don’t want to have to explain their issues over and over, each time they get in touch. They want to be able to contact their service providers on their preferred channel – whether that’s via a messenger app, via SMS, email, via chat or by talking on the phone.

Thrio was engineered from scratch with exactly this experience in mind.

Our cloud-based CCaaS technology has been built to make customer interactions more meaningful and authentic. Instead of siloed data, disparate call systems and lagging legacy programs, you can achieve streamlined visibility over each individual customer’s service.

So your agents can provide the truly exceptional personal care and authentic conversation your service users are looking for.

Empowering your workforce

We can all appreciate that it’s easier to do our job when we have the information we need at our fingertips. But agents don’t always get the context they require to have customer-experience building conversations. And that means customers get frustrated – and inevitably direct that frustration at your employees.

With a streamlined CCaaS suite, your agents gain full visibility over a customer’s contact history and account status, and can meet your customers wherever they prefer – whether on social or mobile – for an enhanced, frictionless service.

The result is not only customers who are happier – but a happier, more engaged, more productive workforce.

Our software can even automatically record call notes and add flags to an account where needed, freeing up your center staff to serve more customers, or even focus on other work.

When it’s easier and more pleasant to do your job, it also means you’re more likely to stay with your current employer.

Staff turnover costs an average 20% of annual salary per employee in the contact center industry. For a call center of about 50 employees, this translates to more than $100,000 every year in turnover costs for this one metric alone. So increasing staff retention is key to cutting operational costs for any business.

And the benefits don’t stop here. With Thrio, your employees can even take better control of their own careers by more easily turning service conversations into sales opportunities, and enriching every conversation with personalized offers. So whether that means potential sales commission, or even the possibility for promotion down the line, staff are empowered when it comes to their performance and prospects.

In addition to helping agents to do a better job, AI also enables customers to self-serve, and to get matched-up with the right agent. In this respect, it’s “bi-directional” – helping both agents and customers.

This isn’t about replacing agents with AI. In fact, at Thrio, we truly believe that only people – not machines – should be at the heart of caring about your customers.

But what AI can do is empower every single person in your company to do their best work, create the best possible culture and enhance your customer experience.

Delighting your customers

One in three consumers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. And it’s easy to understand why.

Nobody calls customer service for fun. And despite the need for a pragmatic, action-based outcomes, most, if not every, call center interaction is coming from a place of customer emotion.

There are the more obvious cases: Inflated bills causing money worries. ‘Surprise’ charges that leave customers frustrated. Missed payments and service termination, likely causing some embarrassment as well as anger from your service users.  

But even seemingly innocent, admin-like tasks, like updating personal details can be rooted in life-changing events: divorce or relationship breakdown, a house move, or even the loss of a job.

Too often, legacy customer care technology will silo communication, creating communication dead-ends for consumers. Meaning they have to struggle to find the right person to talk to, before repeating difficult problems.

But when your contact center agents can provide a quicker and more seamless service, they can more easily diffuse these emotionally charged conversations and avoid escalations, either by making interactions quick, or by finding opportunities to build a stronger, more personalized relationship with each service user.

Plus, Thrio offers your customers the ability to get in touch in a way that suits them best – even transitioning from self-service to live assistance without leaving their current platform.

Boosting your reputation

Businesses that provide outstanding CX lead the rankings for NPS, loyalty, and even revenue – a fact that cannot be overemphasized. And at the core of an outstanding CX: hyper-personalization.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean hyper-personalization in the way Amazon or Netflix offer it. Instead of that AI power being the core focus of that experience, with Thrio you can use intelligent automation to empower your agents to care and connect more deeply with your customers, have more authentic, positive conversations with each of them, and provide an unsurpassed service whatever the enquiry.

With the right technology, hyper-personalized means providing exceptional value, by ensuring they interact with real people who are able to manage and resolve every query with ease and surpass their expectations.

With reduced call handling times, your contact center will be able to serve more customers and make sales and upsells seamless – even when the original contact was a complaint. With the loaded cost of a professional agent sitting at about $20 per hour, every hour you save adds up to thousands – even millions – of dollars in savings per year. In itself, a huge incentive to make interactions more efficient.

Plus, because Thrio is a cloud-based platform deployed with our as-a-service model, it’s limitlessly scalable, too, while making it easy to keep an eye on your budget. Instead of taking months to be deployed, you’re looking at days and weeks instead. And this scalability means it’s futureproofed and will remain cost-effective – no matter how your business evolves over time.

From turning service queries into sales opportunities, and complaints into compliments, the benefits for your business are numerous. And you can outperform the competition on all the metrics that matter.

What a post-friction future could look like...

After seeing an unfamiliar credit card charge on his latest statement, Craig calls into your contact center to see if your fraud team can investigate...

When he calls, the automated IVR system takes Craig through security, and asks him to confirm the reason he’s calling. The IVR relays this information back and asks Craig if he’d prefer to wait on hold to speak to the fraud team, or if he’d like to receive a call back – which, he’s told, would be in approximately 12 minutes, based on current call volumes – or, because the system detects Craig is using his cell, he can choose the option of using SMS-based chat with an agent instead.

He confirms he’d prefer a call back from an agent on his cell. It means he has just enough time to sort lunch for the kids before he receives a call (on time) from one of your agents, Dani, who greets him by name and confirms Craig’s original report without needing a prompt.

Dani is able to tell Craig in just seconds that the possibly fraudulent charge was simply an annual fee for a service he forgot he was paying for – which Dani offers to cancel for him.

“Hey – while you’re here, Craig, I know you messaged us on our Live Chat system a few months ago about increasing your limit. I can actually do that for you now, if you’re still interested.”

The call itself is resolved in minutes – even with Craig deciding to take up the offer of a credit raise. And when he receives his automated NPS survey, he’s more than happy to confirm Dani – and your business – have far surpassed his expectations. In fact, later that week he recommends your service to his colleague at work after hearing a nightmare story about a 24-minute long wait time only to be with the wrong department...

Your post-friction future with Thrio

Key terms
Request a callback