The phrase “time is money” rings true in every call center. Every minute a live agent spends talking to a caller, there is a cost. And every minute a caller sits on hold waiting to speak with a live agent, there is the potential for that caller to hang up, resulting in a lost sale, or perhaps even worse—a lost customer.
With the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP), teams just like yours all over the world are unlocking new efficiencies, improving customer experience, and scaling like never before. NLP can be customized with your call center’s specific needs and goals in mind so there’s no reason not to implement this cutting-edge technology. Here’s how to get started with your own NLP call center.
What Is NLP?
NLP is a branch of artificial intelligence that allows humans and computers to communicate using conversational speech. This technological communication is conducted through Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) who can determine a customer’s intent and respond appropriately—much as a human being would.
NLP is utilized in call centers in a variety of industries, including but not limited to financial, healthcare, utilities, insurance, and technology. Whatever your business, NLP can help. Whether it’s placing an order, canceling an appointment, refilling a prescription, checking the recent details of your bank accounts, NLP call centers use IVAs to answer and respond to voluminous common calls, reducing redundant work for live agents and freeing them up for more interesting inquiries. In a nutshell, NLP is the way of the future.
NLP Benefits: Efficiency & Effective Communication
Now that you know what NLP is, let’s discuss the benefits of a solid NLP call center. The advantages are two-fold: increased efficiency and effective communication.
NLP allows IVAs to take the load off live agents. When you don’t need live agents to successfully answer every call and complete every task, they have more time to focus on any complex matters that may arise. Across the board, callers will have less wait time, personalized service, and a better customer experience.
Customer service is critical to the success of call centers. And what is more effective customer service than availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year? It’s no longer cost-effective to rely on live agents to answer and respond to every single caller. An NLP call center will help your company communicate with a variety of callers by offering multiple languages, providing reliable and accurate information to common inquiries, and freeing up availability for live agents to chat with any customers that have an interaction deemed complex.
When talking about how NLP can help you create a more efficient and effective call center, it might be helpful to explain via examples—so here are a few:
- Payments – Who doesn’t want a secure, faster, and more convenient way to make payments? This simple task does not require communication with a live agent. Let PCI-compliant IVAs quickly and securely complete these tasks. For increased efficiency, implement a platform like Plum SecureAssistant that completely de-scopes the contact center from PCI requirements for payments, and employees won’t have to take the time to create a payment system.
- Inquiries and FAQs – When a customer has a question, they contact the call center. By implementing NLP and allowing IVAs to respond to common questions about accounts, products, etc., live agents can be readily available to help those with more intricate requests. This reduces the average call-time, thereby, increasing an NLP call center’s efficiency.
- Voice Self-Service Card Activation – By implementing NLP, you can erase the need for onerous authentication processes, internet connection problems, and forgotten passwords. Make it easy for your callers. Card activation and routine servicing are common tasks that an IVA can quickly, securely, and successfully handle.
- Voice Agent Mobile Workforce Reporting – Modernize timecards and task reports with Plum’s workforce reporting apps. Data entry and transcribing employee handwriting is time-consuming and can lead to unintended human error. Eliminate manual entry, improve data accuracy, and reduce fraud potential. Your mobile employees will appreciate a more convenient way to clock in during remote work.
- Modernized Outbound Notifications & Reminders – Keep customers up to date with upcoming appointments, service changes, or time-sensitive information. NLP allows IVAs to send important information to a mass group or individual. For example, in the utility sector, you may want to quickly send a notification to thousands of people to let them know about a service outage; or in the financial sector, you may want to send a reminder to an individual about an upcoming appointment or an overdraft notification. Whatever your industry, outbound notification and reminders result in fewer calls to the call center (because callers already have the information they need), fewer missed appointments, and overall increased customer satisfaction.
How To Build A NLP Call Center
The first and most important step is to determine your company’s individual needs. This allows you to select a building method that best suits the specificities of your company’s industry and individual call center.
What type of tasks would you like to automate through an IVA? What types of calls take up the most time? What features are the most important to you? To help you find the answers to these questions, think about the most common questions customers ask. If these questions take up live agents’ time, why not automate and leave more time for live agents to handle more complex issues, all while improving call center wait time and efficiency?
And think about how you can set up your system to grow in the future. You don’t have to implement final processes now. For example, you might want to add automatic surveys or additional analytics later down the line. Implement NLP into your call center now and leave possibilities to expand later.
Once you determine your needs for an NLP call center, take a look at the applications you already have. You’ll want to avoid duplication—no customer wants to repeat themselves more than once.
Decide If You Will Build or Buy
After you’ve determined your needs, think about whether you want to build or buy. There are four main questions to ask when making this important decision:
- Can an existing product deliver your must-have features for this software? If so, you might want to think about buying it.
- Do you have a tight timeline? If so, your decision may have already been made. Look for easy-to-use templates that you can deploy.
- What’s your budget? You might want to start researching the costs of building vs. buying.
- Will a fully custom product make enough (or save enough) money to justify the cost? Consider the ROI potential.
Both build and buy have advantages. When going the buy route, product development, maintenance, quality assurance, platform migration, and patch fixes are owned by the solution provider. Plum FUSE is a product that offers a no-code platform that allows anyone on your team to create and manage their own voice automation using Conversational AI, ASR, or DTMF technology. Prebuilt application templates that only need minor programming and API integration can be up and running in minutes.
But, if you’re more excited to start building your very own cutting-edge phone experience, try Plum DEV. You can code your own application in VXML and if you ever decide to leave, just export the VXML code out. It belongs to you.
A final option would be to both build and buy. Plum FUSE and Plum DEV can be used together. Coders can do what they do best, and for the non-coders—they can still successfully control and update their pre-built applications.
Whether you’re just beginning your search on how to build a solid NLP call center or you’re ready to pull the trigger and modernize your company’s processes, choosing a conversational platform is a big decision. It can prove substantial benefits to your company, but it’s important to shop around and ask yourself the right questions. Think about the kind of experience you want to provide your callers, your call center’s future goals, and your existing requirements.
Security and privacy are also top priorities for many shoppers. While PCI compliance is the gold standard for IVR technology, not all IVR technology is PCI-compliant. Plum has gone above the gold standard and is certified with PCI-DSS, HIPAA, SOC2, Cyber Essentials, and Visa & Mastercard Verified. Choose a company whose data security you can trust.
So, to wrap things up—first, determine your company’s specific needs. Then, decide to build or buy (or both!). And after you’ve made your decision, fully integrate your system. Make it as personal as possible for the customer and involve live agents along the way so everyone is on the same page. This will let you meet customer needs while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your NLP call center. Plum is here to help you get started! Contact us to speak to an expert or get a demo.