For many organizations, the contact center remains a cost center: the unavoidable price of keeping customers happy. But does a contact center always have to reflect a choice between customer happiness and revenue—or could it deliver both? Is it possible to optimize a call center so it makes, rather than loses, money?

One way to optimize a contact center is through call flow. For 40 years, the standard approach has been “first in, first out”: if you were the first person who called, you got the first available agent. While this approach is functional, it doesn’t consider that customers are people who might “click” better with some agents than others.

The odds that a randomly selected customer and a randomly selected agent will form a meaningful connection are low. Pairs might get lucky sometimes, but it’s not an approach you can industrialize for reliable results.

Imagine, however, a smarter way of matchmaking. This call flow process considers not just who the next available agent is, but how they (and the customer) have behaved in the past. This process factors in hundreds of data points and historical patterns of behavior—from both customers and agents—to identify what really makes for a successful conversation.

Optimizing pairing in this way increases the chances of a positive outcome from the call for the customer and the business. That can translate into more cross-selling, less churn and increased customer loyalty.

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Afiniti’s AI continuously learns from customer and agent data to create better in-the-moment matches. 

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The power of Behavioral Pairing

Given the high volume and fast pace that most contact centers manage, nuanced pairing at lightning speed may sound farfetched. But AI is making it possible. This AI technology—known as Behavioral Pairing—learns from data on interactions between customers and agents to pair each caller with the agent best placed to help them with whatever they’ve called for.

AI Behavioral Pairing isn’t just about making sure the most challenging customers or queries get sent to your top-rated agents. Rather, it’s about finding ways to pair customers with the right agent to enable a successful interaction that unlocks value for everyone.

For instance, we’ve seen success pairing a health plan member to an agent who can best connect with and understand that member’s specific situation. This pairing increases the likelihood of that member subsequently closing a gap in care, such as getting an annual flu shot. And by improving preventative care rates today, behavioral pairing not only enhances overall member well-being, but also lowers long-term cost for the system by preventing a hospital visit tomorrow.

Accenture is collaborating with Afiniti to bring this technology into the Accenture Advanced Customer Engagement Solution.

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See more Customer insights.

John Bolze

Senior Managing Director – Global Activation Lead, Applied Intelligence

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