Automation isn’t science fiction, it’s changing the world right now. And rather than pushing us towards a sci-fi nightmare where machines wage war against mankind, the real story is that automation makes life easier for everyone.
The telecoms industry could certainly use a hero these days: markets have become saturated, voice has become a commodity, and margins are extremely tight. With telco revenues around the world in sharp decline, automation can save the day. It might not the hero that Hollywood wants, but it’s amazing what streamlining processes and improving customer experiences can do.
Modern life is tough for telecoms providers. Many of them are stuck with legacy systems, run inefficient back offices, and need large workforces to meet customers’ needs. Even the simple act of winning new customers is arduous, to say the least: there’s cold calling, visiting potential clients to seal the deal, negotiating offers, signing contracts, submitting orders, and delivering solutions manually.
Even after all this effort, the customer experience they offer is suboptimal. Telco companies can’t order the numbers they both want and need quickly. It takes time for new numbers to be processed and there’s also a delay before activation, which further lengthens the process. Sometimes, it can take days. To say all this is inefficient is an understatement – just think of all those man-hours.
Thankfully, automation is beginning to transform the industry and create a better way of doing things. It’s streamlining operations, cutting costs, and making life easier for customers.
Although machines have been routing telephone calls for years, manually connected calls are long gone as automated processes have evolved both impressively and rapidly. Take intelligent call routing, for example.
Intelligent call routing is when software identifies a caller and directs them to the most appropriate agent, the one with the most relevant expertise. This is particularly important as getting through to the right person straight away stops customers being passed between departments. We all know how frustrating that can be – It’s a sure-fire way to lose business.
Another benefit of the technology is the way customers can be connected to an agent they’ve spoken to before – one who knows their history and can help them immediately. If the call drops out for some reason, they can call back and reach the same agent straight away.
Intelligent call routing also helps businesses to identify customers swiftly. This means agents can quickly access their history, offer services bespoke to them, and even recommend special discounts or other promotions based on their profile. All of these factors improve the customer experience and greatly inspires loyalty.
Automation is also helping companies who sell phone numbers and call routing packages. The good old public switched telephone network is, or at least was, one of the cornerstones of the western world. Unfortunately PSTN and other legacy systems waste resources in two key areas: internal processes and the provision of numbers.
Automated solutions can drastically aid in both these areas. Regarding internal operations, automation can take care of processing orders, answering calls, and carrying out admin tasks much faster than people. It can also make back-office operations much simpler and eradicate human error.
In many instances, it’s possible to collapse inefficient back office operations altogether and replace them with automated solutions. This creates a more streamlined workforce with extra time to focus on customer service and customer acquisition.
It’s important to stress different levels of automation: telecoms companies, for example, can use automation to augment, rather than replace, sales teams. They can also integrate new technology with their existing systems. Essentially, companies can use automation as much or as little as they want. Efficiencies will be made whatever they do.
Normally customer service often suffers the effects of cost-cutting, but it’s a different story with automation in the telecoms sector: it makes efficiencies and improves the customer experience at the same time. Everybody benefits.
The best example is when customers buy numbers online. Rather than phoning up a telecoms provider, waiting to be connected, and then making an order in the traditional way, automation enables customers to do this on their computer, tablet or smartphone.
By adding an element of self-service – a concept that is increasingly popular across the world – the customer experience is revolutionalized. It saves people time and effort, brings the telecoms provider into line with other cutting-edge industries, and encourages customer retention.
Numbers can also be sold alongside competitive call routing and termination packages. Customers simply select a package that suits them, pay online, and then manage their account interactively. They can also add services like IVR. It’s so much faster and simpler.
Giving customers the ability to order the numbers and services they want ‘on demand’ is revolutionary. Automation is undoubtedly the future of the telecoms industry.
Innovative companies like SpeakIntelligence are making it easier to adopt this new technology. Telecoms providers simply upload a widget to their website – something that can be done in a couple of minutes – to open a ‘webshop’ on their website.
Customers can then order any type of number – local, national, Freephone, premium, or UIFNs – for well over 2500 cities in over 150 different countries.
Automation also makes it possible for customers to manage their number, or multiple numbers, on a single contract and all in just a few clicks. Even better, these numbers are normally activated and ready to use within seconds.
Telecoms companies that continue to rely on legacy systems are often bloated organizations on borrowed time.
Automation can help them become lean and mean in just a few easy steps. SpeakIntelligence’s widget, for example, is easy to install, incurs zero costs, and requires no technical knowledge whatsoever.
This webshop technology is available for every type of company, in any industry, anywhere. Although bigger companies might be tempted to develop their own automated systems, at great expense, the ability to partner with an automated webshop provider will provide a quicker return on investment.
Because SpeakIntelligence has pre-existing agreements in place with national operators around the world, users of the webshop model will only need to deal with a single vendor meaning negotiating time with various third parties is also cut.
The great thing about automated solutions is that they benefit everybody. Customers benefit from an interactive and customizable dynamic number selection, and telecoms can cut costs and meet the challenges facing the industry.