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No more waiting on hold: How Google Cloud Contact Center AI improves Sales Development operations

August 18, 2023
Lakshmi Rane

Head of Sales Development Strategy and Operations, Cloud Marketing

Kevin Mawhinney

Global Sales Development Strategy and Operations Manager, Cloud Marketing

Google Cloud’s contact centers have been live for over a decade, during which we’ve seen demand accelerate significantly. Fast growth has led to a spike in calls, posing enormous challenges to our call center capabilities. At any given time, people from all over the world are asking Google Cloud for something, and they need to be routed to the correct resources based on their inquiries. That’s where we come in. 

Our team oversees the Sales Development Representative (SDR) strategy and operations behind Google Cloud contact centers, including not only live channels such as phone and chat, but also  form submissions and free trials. Wherever Google Cloud’s customers raise their hands to speak to our sales teams, we provide strategy and robust day-to-day operational support to our cross-functional teams. Since 2021, that’s meant using Google Cloud Contact Center AI (CCAI) to help customers more quickly access the information they need, improve agent satisfaction and productivity, and optimize costs. The results have been astonishing: our sellers have become 56% more efficient thanks to CCAI. Read on to learn what else has changed.

Helping customers get what they need, faster

A downside of being a large organization is that some of our phone numbers become a catch-all, resulting in long hold times for our customers. To alleviate this, we used CCAI Dialogflow, our virtual agent voice and chat bot platform, to capture  customers’ reasons for calling and use that information for priority-based routing to the appropriate support team. 

Similarly, customers can interact with our virtual agents in a self-serve way to address their needs. AI-powered virtual agents can seamlessly switch between topics, handle supplemental questions, and operate 24/7 to minimize live agent interventions. This means customers can get answers faster than if they waited for a Google representative to become available.Often, they’ll find all they need at this stage. If an escalation is needed, Dialogflow can pass the bot session transcript, metadata, and a summary to the human agents, providing clarity on why the customer has contacted us, so we can direct them to the most relevant person for help. 

Before launching our bots in December 2021, customers had to wait on hold before being pointed in the right direction. Now, by better understanding and categorizing what customers are looking for, we’ve reduced customer abandonment rate by up to 50%. 

Improving agent satisfaction and productivity 

Customers aren’t the only group stressed out by long wait times — agents feel the strain too. Fast growth poses enormous challenges to call center agents, who very quickly begin to feel thinly stretched. Bots have helped us deflect 60% of calls that are not relevant for our sellers, such as mistake calls that were not meant for Google Cloud. AI augments the work of our representatives by freeing them to focus on conversations aligned to their expertise. 

Meanwhile, agents are always on the lookout for opportunities to upskill and improve the customer experience. Because we have so many interactions, only a small percentage of samples can be manually reviewed, mined for insights, and documented. Consequently, we use CCAI Insights to gather information at scale and identify trends across all conversations throughout our inbound channels.

Aside from using natural language processing to identify call drivers and sentiment, the solution helps contact centers learn about customer interactions and improve call outcomes. For example, CCAI Agent Assist supports our agents in two ways. First, Agent Assist takes the session handoff and all of the session information from Dialogflow, and presents the customer’s context to the agent.  Second, during live conversations, it accesses a centralized knowledge base to suggest answers to customers’ questions based on insights learned from other high-performing agents. This gives agents the ability to handle more conversations with high-quality responses and quicker training. 

Day to day, we work with global teams from Latin America to North America and EMEA. Intelligent lead routing is helping us more efficiently increase qualified sales demand for our contact centers all over the world. Fast-tracking valuable customers to the appropriate sales team, alongside other efficiencies enabled by CCAI, greatly impacts ROI for the business. For example, conversion rates went up by 143%, and we’ve seen an 86% revenue uplift in North America. It’s exciting to see what we’ve already achieved with CCAI, and this is just the start.

Learn more about how AI can help improve your customer service experience.

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