“Hiring a new agent is estimated to cost the contact center $10,000 to $20,000 in training, direct recruiting costs, and lost productivity during ramp up.” - McKinsey
This is one of the many operational costs a contact center has to bear. With these costs on the rise, it has become a major concern for contact center management.
It's not like call centers have not tried to reduce their costs in any way. Scaling down operations and adopting new technologies are some efforts made in that direction.
The arrival of automated technology has ushered in some more hope.
Yet, is there certainty that automation will reduce the running cost of a call center? Let's find out.
Before we analyze how automation is helping reduce costs in call centers, we need to understand why call centers have such high operational costs.
Why Do Call Centers Cost So Much?
Running a cost center inefficiently isn’t just linked to higher operating costs. It also directly impacts revenue generation as contact centers deal directly with customers.
Let’s understand some of the reasons why contact center costs are rising.
1. Losses Due to Agent Attrition
Add this is as a quote - “Agent attrition levels are expected to be 20% or more through 2024”
Rising attrition rates impact call centers. Every time an agent leaves, resources are utilized in training the new agent.
Call centers suffer serious financial losses when agents leave frequently, having to train agents every time someone leaves.
2. Changes in Customer Behavior
Call centers need to keep up with customer trends. In order to make life easier, more and more customers are choosing convenient options such as omnichannel support and self-service platforms, to name a few.
If companies don’t adapt to the times, they will begin to lose customers, and investing in customer-preferred technology comes with a cost.
3. Unnoticed Compliance Violations
“Global compliance costs increased $33 billion from 2019 to 2020, to a total of $213.9 billion in 2020” - Forbes
Call centers that follow manual auditing have many holes in their quality management system. Manual auditing can go so far, and many calls go unaudited.
The number of unflagged compliance violations goes higher with each unaudited call. These compliance violations can cause uninvited problems for an organization in the long run.
When compliance violations go unchecked, call centers will have to bear the brunt of it. Studies show that the cost of non-compliance is 2.7 times more than the cost of compliance.
4. Using On-Premise Technology
“The cloud-based contact center market is forecast to reach $24.11 billion by the end of 2023 at a CAGR of 25%.” - Market Research Future
Many call centers still haven’t made the switch to cloud-based contact center technology. Organizations that are still using on-premise technology bear a lot more costs when compared to those that are currently using cloud-based technologies.
The drawbacks of on-premise technology include:
- Huge Hardware Costs - On-premise technology requires a lot of hardware requirements. They also require proper maintenance to function in the long run.
- Difficulties in Scalability - Increasing the scale of operations is difficult with on-premise technology as the hardware needs to be present beforehand to be done smoothly. At times when the scale of operations has decreased, the investment in corresponding hardware is lost.
- Minimal IT Dependency - When technology is managed in-house, the cost goes into having a complete IT team on hand to fix hardware and software problems.
With these troublesome costs, contact centers have made the switch to cloud-based software.
The most prominent tool in the race to adopt automated processes in a call center is automated quality assurance. Let’s see what automated quality assurance is and how they help reduce call center costs.
What is Automated Quality Assurance?
Automated call center QA relies on tools with AI that automatically audit calls. Many companies offer such automated call center management systems with different features.
All these tools have the bare minimum of 100% automated auditing. Tools like Convin also provide features like CRM integration, conversation intelligence, and agent coaching, to name a few.
While these AI tools are more efficient than manual processes, how do they reduce operational costs? Let’s look at the effectiveness of AI-integrated contact center QA and how it helps reduce costs in a call center.
Results first, payment later.
How Does Automated Quality Assurance Cut Costs?
As mentioned above, the benefits offered by an automated call center QA tool differ from company to company. Irrespective of which tool is used in a call center, here are some benefits of automated contact center QA tools.
1. 100% Audited Calls
Since AI powers these contact center QA tools, they have no limitations, except the ones by the server it runs on. This ensures that every call is audited.
When all calls are audited, organizations clearly understand what avenues are generating better revenue.
Assume you pay $3,000 monthly to an auditor in your call center. If your QA team has auditors, you’ll have a monthly expenditure of $15,000.
Instead of hiring more auditors, automated quality assurance software can help your call center reach 100% audit rates at a cheaper cost.
The investment in automated QA tools gets high returns quickly. Having every conversation audited reduces compliance violations and allows for better agent training.
With tools like Convin at your disposal, you can step up your contact center game beyond automated call auditing. Convin also automatically audits calls, chats, and emails to become your go-to QA tool for omnichannel contact centers.
2. Optimize Call Sampling Processes
An auditor consciously or unconsciously shows selection bias when randomly selecting samples for audit. A study found that sampling, when performed manually, is often haphazard.
For example, an auditor might not audit calls done by an agent he favors while continuously monitoring other agents. Similarly, auditors might audit only the most recent calls, which could overlook calls made by agents in different timeframes.
On the other hand, automated sampling tools select samples based on certain rules. This helps auditors in auditing calls by all agents.
Using these randomly selected unbiased samples allows auditors to give feedback to all agents.
When manual biased sampling happens, all agents don’t get feedback. This can cost call centers dearly when agents repeatedly continue their compliance violations or unsatisfactory performance with customers.
When auditors rely on automated sampling techniques, they can focus on auditing more calls.
It also helps auditors use this time for other important work.
3. Enhance Agent Performance Faster
"The value of auditing comes out when agents are given prompt feedback." - Forrester
In manual auditing processes, auditors take extended amounts of time to give agents any feedback. This happens because many calls go unaudited.
People can learn from their shortcomings only if they know them; the same goes for contact center agents.
Whereas in automated QA, gaps in an agent’s performance are identified faster. This helps speed up the feedback loop, and agents can quickly work on getting better.
Prompt feedback helps reduce the number of subpar customer interactions, which in turn increases customer satisfaction. This allows existing agents to serve customers even better.
4. Generate Reports With a Click
Auditors need to spend a lot of time trying to generate reports manually. This deters them from conducting more audits.
Automated QA tools take care of report generation, allowing auditors to conduct more audits. These tools are also integrated into your CRM to show insights about specific customer interactions.
Such integrations allow managers to see everything they need on a single dashboard. Since these reports are generated automatically, auditors can keep all their focus on auditing.
A report that shows all needed insights makes it easy for contact center management.
5. Help Agents Ramp Up Faster
“Training expenditure in the US has increased from 82.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 to 92.3 billion in 2021.” - Statistica
Attrition is a major issue in contact centers, and training fresh agents consumes a lot of resources and time. Automated coaching can help decrease the ramp-up time for new agents, allowing for a faster agent training regimen.
These tools can show them areas of improvement along each call they take in their initial training period.
A well-maintained call center coaching can increase agent performance for both new and working agents. This reduces the resources and time needed for new agents to get started.
When agents ramp up faster, call centers save resources and time. Apart from that, there are fewer losses in productivity as the agent gets ready to handle customer interactions in a shorter period of time.
Automation is the latest player in the quest for call center cost reduction. With many attempts to reduce operational costs, call centers are now hoping automation will help.
Automated tools help increase efficiency while being a cost-effective add-on to any call center. Here are some ways in which automated quality assurance helps reduce costs:
- All customer interactions in a contact center get audited by automated QA, making it an investment with good long-term results for performance throughout the contact center.
- Automated sampling tools help auditors to focus on auditing, while rule-based samples eliminate the possibility of bias.
- Agents are informed of their mistakes sooner and allowed to improve.
- Ramp-up time can be significantly reduced for new agents.
- All analysis and data from these tools are easily available for managers to understand the call center’s overall performance.
Having understood the impact and long-term value that Automated call center QA tools can bring, get ready to take the next step in auditing your contact center.
- Call Center Quality Monitoring Scorecards
- How AI Improved Call Quality in Insurtech Call Centers
- Unlock 5x Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction with Convin