Deflection, Deflection, Deflection

As we discussed in our last post, The Evolution of the Customer , clients are becoming more tech savvy and expect integration of online and customer service (CX) front ends.  Agents are less engaged and turnover in a contact center is very high.  Younger clients prefer to get a quick answer rather than wait on hold and then potentially get the run around or the worst—the transfer. 

There are many ways to “optimize” the customer experience.  When discussing optimization in general, we view 3 main areas. 

Technical, Financial and Operational optimization can be achieved in one word, DEFLECTION (or 3 if you looked above). 

If an organization is looking for ways to self-service and minimize a time investment, particularly with easy questions/answers, and contact center leaders are trying to manage their agents and reduce expensive calls, chatbots are an absolute must.  It’s not just enough to have a chatbot.  Organizations must consider how to use it and select a partner based on the use case, connections to systems, (think supply chain, tracking systems, reservation systems, scheduling backend, etc.)  speed of deployment, along with query answers and ongoing support.

Let’s explore benefits of chatbots and ways to evaluate their impact.

  1. 24/7 availability: Chatbots can be programmed to operate 24/7, providing an immediate response at any time of the day or night.
  2. Improved customer service: Chatbots can be used to handle basic customer inquiries, freeing up customer service representatives to focus on more complex issues.  For example, where are you located?  What are you service hours?  Where is my order?  How many points are in my account?  When is my next bill due?  Moreover, some clients simply don’t want to talk with an agent, they would rather use a digital channel.  Customer preference for digital is up 26% in the last year to 43% according to Five9.  90% of Gen Z use digital as their channel of choice, 84% of Millennials and nearly half of GenX (49%) according to Nice.
  3. Increased efficiency: Chatbots can respond to multiple customer queries simultaneously, reducing wait times and increasing efficiency.  While a typical agent can handle maybe 4-6 simultaneous digital interactions, a chatbot can handle hundreds. 
  4. Cost savings: Chatbots can help reduce labor costs by automating basic customer service tasks.  See #2.  Goal here is to get answers to clients immediately.  No queue and no need to query a system manually.  Moreover, chatbots are a fixed cost regardless of how long a client is engaged (cost per transaction vs. minute).  According to Genesys benchmark data, voicebot results in a 60-70% reduction in volume interactions
  5. Personalization: Chatbots can be programmed to collect customer data, which can be used to provide personalized recommendations and responses. Additionally, chatbots use context such as customer identity, intent, and other CRM data to find the person best equipped to resolve the issue.  Moreover, data presented to the client is personal such as order information, appointment history, subscription, or prescription data.  So long as an API can grab information, the fields and output can be very personal.  Additionally, these data points can feed back to the agent to allow them to hit the ground running vs. starting over from “How can I help you?”  Additionally, 65% of customers in a recent survey by Qualtrics said their experience on the website or app would be at least a very important factor in their willingness to recommend a brand. 
  6. Scalability: Chatbots can handle a high volume of requests without getting overwhelmed, making them ideal for businesses that experience seasonal spikes in customer demand.  While many contact centers expand and contract (tax season, retail season, event support, open enrollment etc.), chatbots can do so automatically. 
  7. Data collection: Chatbots can be used to collect customer data, which can be analyzed to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences.  When integrating into a CRM, data looks the same to an analytic program as it would if manually entered.  Who is calling?  When?  For what?  Did the chatbot handle the call?  When did the client request an agent? 

Machine learning (true ML) and AI include conversational support as well as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and actual sentiment.  Scale your support in multiple languages AND dialogues so your teams understand a caller from Mexico vs. Spain or Quebec vs. Paris.  Five9 for example, includes not only speech recognition but sentiment analysis for voice self-service (yes chatbots and Virtual Agents include both the digital and voice varieties).  Their system takes both verbal cues and tone in addition to words.  Five9 Voice IVA detects verbal cues in real time during voice interactions.  They can detect fear, sadness, joy, anger, analytical, confidence and tentative sentiments.  Using these cues allow a contact center leader to customize scripting to ensure the appropriate responses and then routes appropriately to a live agent when needed.   Most of these solutions come with compliance out of the box, allowing them to apply in regulated use cases like Finance, Healthcare and Government agencies.  Imagine calling into a government agency and getting an answer about property taxes without spending half your day on the phone…  sigh… we can dream 😊


Chatbots are no code deployments which quickly build and deploy across voice, web chat, SMS, social and other integration channels.   Dialpad’s AI Contact Center allows a client to build capabilities for both live chat AND voice.  These workflows are built by dragging and dropping.

Dialpad CC Example

Have your data lake on AWS and want to have a contact center pull and push data across AWS?  Vonage uses an RFC 6455 compliant websocket to connect the capabilities of AI to your voice and chatbot experience.

Five9 has ready-built call flows from common tasks almost like a Platform as a Service (PaaS) for Virtual Assistance.  Pick a common category or industry and click to deploy.  From there, customize the template to ensure you have the appropriate workflow.

Five9 CC Template

Need a fully customized tree for various use cases across the enterprise?  No problem, example below includes dialog for sales, technical support, billing, payment and “other”.  It’s a visual drag-and-drop approach to workflow design.

Five9 IVA deployment

Financial Benefits

Once these solutions are deployed, they provide a very strong return on investment.  While there are a litany of soft benefits, particularly for the user community who prefers digital over voice interactions, there are also hard benefits.   

A Forrester economic impact study from Solvvy, prior to the Zoom acquisition showed a 554% ROI for a B2C subscription e-commerce leader.  The cost savings identified $9.3 Million in cost savings over a three-year timeframe including 43% growth of self-service resolution rates within weeks of implementation saving $6.3M.  10-15% of additional hiring would have been required to handle increased call volumes and a 16% reduction in incident handling times that were still escalated to customer care.  Zoom has since rebranded as Zoom Virtual Agent

Juniper Research reported a growth of 3,400% from 2019 and estimates 79% of successful interactions come from banking chatbots like Bank of America’s Erica.  Bank savings alone are topping $7.3 Billion.  In the same report, research found AI, including chatbots, will deliver cost savings of almost $1.3 billion across motor, life, property, and health insurance. 

Let’s be clear, ANYONE can deploy this technology WITHOUT a wholesale change in the core contact center.  These services can help modernize an on premise, legacy contact center or can be part of a new cloud contact center.  Whether using an old Avaya or Cisco solution to a more modern solution, this technology delivers.  While not all these services are the same, they all provide significant return on investment as well as drive client satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

Don’t do this research alone!  Engage us at RISE to help optimize your customer experience!

Contact us to get exceptional technology and comprehensive business consulting.