Contact Center Automation: Types, Benefits & Best Practices

Contact Center Automation

Imagine you have had a smooth-running contact center for so long. But in the past few months, something’s been up. You’ve noticed a dip in both agent productivity and customer satisfaction and the trend isn’t looking good. There are longer hold times and frustrated agents. Digging deeper, you found that repetitive queries are bogging down your team. Now that you landed on this post only to learn about how to free up your agents and keep customers happy; let’s chat about contact center automation.

A study by Forrester reveals “As many as 73% of clients agree that the most important thing a company can do for them is value their time.” Self-service helps businesses do so like never before.” In fact, 47% of businesses reported an increase in sales after implementing self-service.” 

It’s obvious to ask: – How are contact center automation and self-service related? Well, that’s what this post is all about. 

What is a Contact Center?

For decades, the term “call center” has been synonymous with customer service. Call centers have been the primary touchpoint for customer interactions. While efficient, this approach offered customers with the only option to ‘call’ when they needed assistance. 

However, with the rise of the internet and the growing adoption of smartphones, consumers demanded a wider range of communication channels, which led to the emergence of the concept of Contact Centers. A contact center expands the communication options available, catering to a more omnichannel experience for the customers. 

A contact center is the central hub where all incoming and outgoing communication for a business or company is managed. The ultimate goal is to ensure a smooth flow of information between your business and your customers.

Though the terms call center and contact center represent a traditional setup and an evolved version respectively, here in this blog you will find the terms used interchangeably.

What is Contact Center Automation?

Now what happens when we bring the power of automation into a contact center? The entire scene is transformed. Yes, won’t you believe it? Let me show you what happens:

  • Basic inquiries are automatically answered 
  • Repetitive tasks are whisked away by automation 
  • Agents get to focus on what they do best 
  • Information is readily available 
  • Workloads are managed more effectively

Contact Center Automation is the technology that streamlines repetitive tasks in a typical call center setup, boosting efficiency and satisfaction. 

automated agent interactions statistics



It’s easy to consider contact center automation as a way to replace your agents, but hold on, it’s about giving them the tools to manage the call traffic more efficiently, leading to happier agents, smoother customer experiences, and a less congested contact center for everyone.


Types of Call Center Automation

In the world of contact center automation, various tools are utilized to create a multi-layered approach to automation, i.e., streamlining tasks and improving customer experience. Here’s a breakdown of each:

types of call center automation



“Chatbots can handle up to 80% of routine questions in a contact center, freeing agents to manage more complex issues.” (Source)

Chatbots are a great tool for offering self-service options for simple queries. This can be done by providing basic troubleshooting steps, scheduling appointments, tracking orders, or answering frequently asked questions (FAQs). AI-powered chatbots streamline customer service by handling customer queries quickly, freeing up human agents for more intricate issues. 

Virtual Assistants (VA)

Virtual Assistants are advanced versions of chatbots that can handle a wider range of tasks. VAs make use of NLP, i.e., natural language processing, to understand the nuances of customer conversations, allowing for more complex interactions.

From automatically initiating customer conversations based on browsing behaviors, escalating an issue to a human agent, researching customer accounts, and offering personal recommendations, virtual assistants come with more powers. 

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)

Automated phone systems such as IVR (Interactive Voice Response) make use of pre-recorded voice messages and menus to guide callers and connect them with the right department or agent based on their query. Menu options are usually like selecting a department, checking account balances, modifying existing reservations, etc. IVRs help reduce wait times and frustration among callers.

Knowledge Management Systems 

Knowledge Management Systems are like a central repository that stores all the customer service knowledge. Usually, these include a variety of content such as FAQs, product manuals, troubleshooting guides, and even video tutorials that can be accessed easily with an in-built search engine. Such information is readily accessible to both customers and agents, leading to faster resolutions, consistent responses, and self-service options.

How Does Call Center Automation Work?


call center automation working

Automation uses software, machine learning, and AI to handle repetitive tasks, freeing up agents for more complex issues. It uses data from operations, finances, and even customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. 

For instance, a system analyzes peak call volume and suggests the optimal number of agents required to handle call traffic during those hours. It tackles tasks both big and small. Whether it is just about sending post-call surveys or analyzing the emotional tone of customer messages and suggesting actions accordingly,

Challenges Associated with Call Center Automation Implementation 

While the ultimate goal of contact center automation is to benefit both customers and agents, there are certain challenges associated with its implementation: 

  • Automation should improve the customer experience, not replace human interaction entirely
  • It shouldn’t damage customers’ relationship with the company 
  • Automation  shall help by eliminating tedious tasks, not replacing agents 
  • It should free up agents’ time to provide personalized, human-to-human customer service

What are the Benefits of Contact Center Automation?

Enhanced Customer Experience 

“Customer satisfaction can be increased by 33% through the use of automated contact center solutions that offer consistent and timely responses.” (Source)

The 24/7 availability of self-service options empowers customers to find answers at their own convenience. They don’t need to wait in long call queues to connect with agents and get answers to simple queries. Additionally, automation streamlines information access for both agents and callers, leading to faster issue resolution times.

Increased Agent Efficiency and Productivity  


Contact center automation tools and technologies eliminate tedious manual data entry and repetitive tasks. It empowers agents with the information and skills needed to resolve issues right on the first call with the customer. This reduces customer frustration and repeat calls, thus improving the First Call Resolution Rate i.e. FCR.

Reduced Operational Costs

virtual assistant stat

With automation in contact centers, manual processes and redundancies are eliminated, resulting in cleaner and more efficient workflows. Automation tools can analyze and predict peak call volumes and help ensure the right number of agents to handle customer queries during peak hours.

Valuable Customer Insights 

Sentiment analysis tools in contact center automation can gauge and understand the tone of customers or their emotions. This helps in identifying areas for improvement in a business’s products or services. 

Additionally, automation tools can analyze call transcripts, chat logs, and customer surveys to identify ongoing trends. Access to such information helps managers and leaders make data-driven decisions that enhance the overall customer service strategy.

Contact Center Automation Use-Cases


Call Routing and Scheduling 

With an automatic call distribution system, incoming calls are distributed to available agents based on factors such as current workload, number of calls attended, and skills. This ensures every agent gets well-stocked. Through call scheduling automation, calls can be easily scheduled based on some pre-defined rules, such as contract renewals and callback requests from website visitors. This helps agents focus on complex interactions.

Customer Interaction Automation 

There are various ways in which customer interactions can be automated. When a caller calls your company’s phone number, the IVR system that uses pre-recorded messages can guide the caller toward their intended destination. Such a system can also dynamically generate speech to answer basic customer queries, such as checking account balances. 

Another way to automate customer interactions is through chatbots and virtual assistants that can troubleshoot common issues.

Sales and Marketing Automation 

Automation tools in sales and marketing can fasten the sales cycle, which can have a significant impact on lead generation. Tasks like sending promotional emails (welcome emails, follow-ups, etc.) and capturing leads through website forms can be automated.

Customer Experience Optimization 

“Nearly 63% of contact centers that use automated feedback collection report having higher customer loyalty rates.”

When agents are busy helping other callers, virtual call queueing automation tools can place new callers in a virtual queue. This helps eliminate hold times and provides callers with callback options, thus reducing their frustration. Automating customer satisfaction surveys after interactions is a great way to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement. 

Forecasting Automation

Call centers make and receive hundreds of calls every single day. As interactions with existing and potential customers happen, a lot of data gets collected automatically. Machine Learning and AI algorithms analyze the collected data to identify patterns and trends and can use these patterns to predict future contact volume with greater accuracy. 

SMS Automation 

Using automation tools, you can automatically send SMS messages to your customers when they perform a specific action, such as purchasing a product or service from the website then receive a purchase confirmation message.


How to Calculate the ROI of Contact Center Automation?

In the context of contact center automation, ROI or Return on Investment, is the overall benefit a business or company receives from implementing automation compared to the cost of putting it in place. ROI typically comes in the form of financial gains as well as enhancements in customer experience.

Let’s understand it in more detail:

ROI Formula:

ROI = (Total Benefits – Total Costs) / Total Costs x 100%

  • Total Benefits include cost savings, revenue generation, and improved efficiency. 
  • Total Costs include initial investment (such as software licenses, and implementation fees) and ongoing costs (subscription fees and maintenance costs).

Example: A manufacturing unit relies on manual data entry for processing invoices and generating reports. This process is not only time-consuming but is also prone to errors. Now, the manufacturing unit implements an automated data entry solution that uses OCR technology to extract data from invoices and automatically populate accounting software. The solution also comes with some pre-defined templates for automated report generation.

As a result of this automation implementation, the manufacturing unit experiences several benefits : 

  • Reduced labor costs associated with manual data entry and error correction 
  • Faster processing times for invoicing and report generation

ROI Calculation

The manufacturing unit calculates cost savings from the benefits they have gained, i.e., reduced labor and improved efficiency. They factor in the cost of automation software and the ongoing maintenance fees and found a significant increase in profit due to automation, which indicates a high ROI.

Best Practices for Automating Your Contact Center

contact center automation interaction

So far, we have learned that automation can really transform a contact center – from overwhelmed to more efficient agents, from frustrated to more satisfied customers, and from underutilized to optimally used resources.

Prioritize Customer Needs

Analyze your call center data to identify tasks that are frustrating or time-consuming for customers. Implement automation tools that empower self-service and address common pain points. 

For example, an e-commerce business automates order tracking so that customers can easily check the status of their orders without needing to call customer support.

Integrate Seamlessly 

There should be compatibility between your automation tools and your existing CRM or contact center platform. This is because it allows for seamless data sharing and a smooth customer experience. 

For example, an insurance firm integrates its chatbot solution with its customer data system. The chatbot can access customer information to provide customers with personalized responses.

Invest in Training 

Inculcating automation in your contact center setup will only be fruitful if your agents know about leveraging automation tools effectively. This is the reason why you should always provide comprehensive training to your agents. 

For example, a healthcare firm trains its agents on its new chatbot, covering the types of inquiries the chatbot can answer and also how it escalates complex medical queries to agents based on pre-defined criteria.

Implement in Phases 

Bringing automation to multiple workflow areas of the contact center might overwhelm you and your agents. Remember, automation is a journey and not a destination, so start small and expand gradually. 

What Should You Look for in Call Center Automation Software?

customer support agent working

Like every other tool and technology, you need the best call center automation software for your business. While there are many options out there on the market, is there really a ‘best solution’? Practically, you should look for a contact center automation tool that fits your needs. After all, the right tools make the difference. 

Let’s take it from the beginning. 

Define Your Unique Needs

Think about which areas of your business operations will benefit the most from automation. With this, you may be able to identify your automation goals, i.e., what you want to achieve through contact center automation. 


Once you have the answers, you can start searching for the features that you really need to achieve your goals, as well as the ones you don’t need at all. For example, if your business receives a lot of basic queries, you may think of implementing a chatbot that can help and guide customers with simple queries.

Native Integration for a Unified Tech Stack

Your contact center automation software will be like a new teammate, and to work smoothly with other team members, i.e., your existing software tools, it must be able to integrate well. Native integration allows your automation software to seamlessly share data with CRMs and other existing software. 

This saves you from wasting time toggling between different systems and provides a unified view of your customers. Also, the need to manually transfer information between systems gets eliminated, leading to a streamlined workflow.

Embedded Analytics 

“Integration of analytics services in contact centers has been shown to increase first-call resolution rates by up to 24%.” (Source)

AI, in the form of built-in analytics, can be a game changer. From quickly sifting through vast amounts of call center data to revealing hidden trends and patterns and identifying common customer pain points, it can uncover several types of useful insights. 

The exceptional ability of AI to translate data into clear and easy-to-understand visualizations can empower you to make data-driven decisions that can significantly optimize your operations.

Bottom Line 

40% of large enterprises are predicted to integrate contact center automation by the end of 2025 using artificial intelligence (AI), up from 15% in 2020 (Source). More specifically, nearly 55% of contact centers in North America plan to increase their investment in automation technologies in the next three years.

Remember that the future of contact centers is all about empowering agents, streamlining workflows, and delivering unparalleled customer experiences at every touchpoint. If you too are in the call center or contact center industry, then it’s high time to embrace the potential of automation.

The Author

Kanika Sharma

Kanika is a versatile researcher, blogger, and author, delving into the world of tech blogs covering Telecommunications and Cyber Security. With a solid engineering background, she turns intricate tech jargons into relatable, real-life stories. Her writing isn't just about words; it's a fusion of detail, intrigue, and relevance to the audience, reflecting her passion for writing and design. Beyond her work, Kanika finds joy in painting, and exploring new places while traveling.