The multiplication of communication channels with customers (email, chat, phone, social media, etc.) and their desire to have quickly answers have led to an explosion of information volumes and the need to process them in real time. Conventional ways of customer service management are no longer sufficient. To solve this problem, which affects all customer relations centers, GMI has made a major technological shift over the past several years by integrating process automation tools.
But before we talk about automation, let’s take a moment to recall the difference between a customer relationship center, also known as a contact center, and a call center. Although a customer relationship center and a call center are often used interchangeably to describe customer service centers that handle inbound and outbound communications with customers. There is, however, a slight difference between the two.
A customer relationship center is generally defined as a customer support department that manages all forms of communication with customers, including phone calls, emails, live chats, social networks, etc. The goal of a customer relationship center is to provide a quick and efficient response to all customer inquiries, regardless of their communication channel.
A call center, on the other hand, focuses primarily on telephone communications with customers. They can handle a large number of calls simultaneously and are often used for sales and customer support activities.
In summary, a customer relationship center is a broader customer support service that handles all forms of customer communication and can handle a large number of administrative processes, while a call center focuses primarily on telephone calls.
Automation and productivity
The particularity of the customer relationship center, which is to cover a wide range of subjects, leads to great complexity in the management of heterogeneous data and documents associated with each activity. The work of searching, classifying, codifying, evaluating and finally processing information is energy consuming.
For this reason, it is in the best interest of companies to outsource these processes, which are essential but do not generate value in the short term, to customer relationship centers specialized in business process outsourcing (BPO), such as GMI, which are therefore able to handle the associated effort and complexity.
However, the customer relationship center itself must be more productive than the ordering company, even if it handles several customers at the same time.
The secret of its efficiency, and therefore of its productivity, is directly linked to its level of automation. For a long time, call centers, and therefore also customer relationship center, have been using specialized software to manage inbound and outbound calls, allowing them to efficiently direct telephone communications to the agents who are available and the most competent to handle the request. But today, people don’t just handle calls, they have to answer emails, analyze forms, sort documents, enter information in several systems that don’t communicate with each other, check websites, in short, perform complex work involving a mass of information.
Robotic process automation, commonly called RPA, in some cases based on artificial intelligence, combined with APIs (Application Programming Interface) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), allow customer relationship centers that have made this technological shift, as is the case with GMI, to automate a large part of their activities.
Automate a customer relationship center
As we have seen, a call center is a factory where hundreds or even thousands of agents, often outsourced to low-wage countries, do simple work based on predefined scenarios. Conversely, the customer relationship center does complex work with relatively small volumes. The secret of automating the activities of a customer relationship center therefore lies in the flexibility of the technologies used, which allow robots, APIs and ERPs to be easily and quickly programmed to automatically handle 80% of the work, with the remaining 20% being the prerogative of humans who have a capacity for appreciation, improvisation and empathy that no machine can replace in order to handle complex cases or cases not foreseen in the multiple scenarios.
Practically, at GMI, there are, for example, robots that sort through emails, extract attachments to classify them and put them in the right customer files, and then feed a system called CODA. This ERP-based CODA system allows agents to use a dashboard, which relies on APIs to automatically perform online validations, and exponentially increases the efficiency of their customer interactions and data processing.
In short, automating a customer relationship center is a complicated, but essential, process to achieve a high level of efficiency, as the GMI team demonstrates every day.