16/09/2022

Markus, what exactly is behind the term hybrid customer communication?

Interview with Markus Kesting, Sales Manager, Sematell GmbH

16/09/2022

All hell is breaking loose in contact centers at the moment! Because local service centers are mostly closed at the moment, most customer inquiries are coming in via online channels. Around 25 million inquiries have to be handled every day throughout Germany - and that's not feasible manually! One solution: hybrid customer communication. What is it and when is it worth using it? Markus Kesting, Sales Manager, explains in an interview.

Markus, what exactly is behind the term "hybrid customer communication"?

In short, this refers to the interaction of people, i.e. employees, and artificial intelligence (AI).

In customer service, it is mainly a matter of answering as many queries as possible as quickly as possible while still providing high-quality and precise answers. AI is then used, for example, for content recognition, categorization, data extraction and recurring standard tasks. If such activities are processed automatically, this relieves employees of manual tasks.

Where does the hybrid use of man and machine lend itself particularly well?

Wherever tasks arise that can be processed automatically. For example, when an email inquiry comes in, the software can use AI to read the email text and filter out the core information. In this way, the AI recognizes which subject area is involved and assigns the request to the correct category.

Standard requests such as a change of billing or delivery addresses can be processed fully automatically by the AI, which means that an employee is no longer needed here.

Why doesn't the AI just take over all the work that needs to be done?

How far automation can go depends, of course, on the respective work area. Dark processing - fully automated processes such as those used in the energy industry - worked very well for repetitive tasks such as address data changes. For individual inquiries, the "human team" remains indispensable. The employee, in this case the specialist administrator, controls the automated process via workflows and, to a certain extent, accompanies the AI. If it were to "learn" on its own, it would reproduce errors over and over again, and precision, for example in topic recognition, would suffer as a result. In the field of machine learning, therefore, supervised learning continues to be of great importance. And the supervisor is and remains first and foremost a human being.

Can you give us an example of hybrid customer communication?

One good application area is the energy industry. When it comes to budget billing payments or tariff changes, the software can identify and categorize the issue and the respective customer based on AI, compare it with existing data, for example in the CRM or ERP system, and check and preformulate the response to the customer request. Only at the very end of this automated process do employees come into play to check and finally approve the response.

How can you actually measure whether hybrid customer communication is successful?

Quite simply: individually and personally by the employees. If call center employees are relieved of monotonous routine tasks, which account for the majority of customer communication at energy providers, they have more time for more complex inquiries. Work processes such as tariff changes often require explanation and personal exchange between employee and customer. ReplyOne keeps the service employees' backs free so that they can devote themselves to precisely such tasks.

So customers no longer have to wait long for a personal consultation. And employee satisfaction also increases significantly, because who works after the 10th hour?

How can you actually measure whether hybrid customer communication is successful?

Quite simply: individually and personally by the employees. If call center employees are relieved of monotonous routine tasks, which account for the majority of customer communication at energy providers, they have more time for more complex inquiries. Work processes such as tariff changes often require explanation and personal exchange between employee and customer. ReplyOne keeps the service employees' backs free so that they can devote themselves to precisely such tasks.

So customers no longer have to wait long for a personal consultation. And employee satisfaction also increases significantly, because who works after the 10th hour?

Meter reading report and the 20th notification of a new bank account still motivated?

ReplyOne therefore creates a win-win situation for employees and customers - and when everything goes well, you can see it in the turnover.

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