Human-focused, AI-assisted contact centers prioritize empathy & efficiency. Here's why that matters.
How technology can improve agent retention.
Considering the current discourse on the potentials and pitfalls of AI in society, it might sound counterintuitive to suggest that it can be a powerful tool in re-establishing a more human touch to the contact center experience. In an industry that demands the uniquely human qualities of empathy, rapport and resourcefulness on demand, it’s time to talk about technology as a super-powered means to better support agents and create the best possible customer experience.
Agents keep a lot of plates spinning. Customer issues are becoming more complex, as are the processes needed to address them. Contact centers rely on vast networks of apps and platforms to manage customer service. As such, agents are dealing with more inputs and tech integration per call, while customer volume and expectations are ever on the rise. Before downplaying this as part and parcel of a contact center’s workflow, it bears remembering that these factors have an enormous impact on the agents themselves. If a contact center’s tech approach is inefficient or outdated, it becomes a hindrance rather than a help. According to a study by Gartner, contact center agents use an average of 8.2 apps per customer interaction; if (and when) technology issues compound with the frustrations that agents inevitably have to face, it can lead to burnout.
So, with agents using multiple apps to navigate customer queries, it’s not hard to imagine the hiccups and gaps that arise when they are going through the motions of an average call. Agents often complain that having to use too many, inefficient, or incomplete tools creates too much distraction, causing them to focus more on making the process work than on the customer’s state and need.
Even in this year of tighter budgets and reduced resources, smart brands are realizing that prioritizing agent retention is more important than ever; keeping seasoned agents on point and on staff saves a company money in the long term, even if it requires an investment in the short term. Investing in the proper support for agents helps them create the kind of customer service that grows revenue while proving to the agents themselves that their organization values their effort and is committed to creating a healthier, more efficient workplace. It’s a win/win.
In order to prioritize the customer experience, a brand needs to prioritize its agent experience. Auditing and upgrading contact center technology are one of the most straightforward ways that leadership can support agents to deliver better service and productivity for a longer timeframe.
A contact center’s workflow technology needs an upgrade if:
• Agents are bogged down with repetitive tasks or dealing with simple customer issues that could be automated or handled by an AI agent assistant. Both customer experience and agent experience can be massively improved by automating routine aspects of interactions that take the most time, detail or involvement.
• The contact center’s operation and agent interactions aren’t being supported by AI-enabled tools like an intuitive CRM, quality management and predictive guidance, automatic logs and transcription, and customer sentiment analysis.
• Management is missing an immediate, detailed view of agent performance, and team and training effectiveness. In-depth, AI-powered analytics map call resolution timeframes, agent requests and feedback, as well as customer satisfaction rates, and can support operational compliance, clarify role expectations and ensure agent accountability.
• Agents have to use too many systems to address customer needs, especially if these systems don’t connect with or mirror one another. Having to decipher what apps to use during a customer interaction has a significant impact on an agent’s ability to respond quickly and resourcefully.
• This brings us to: The contact center’s current system was implemented with little to no agent input! It’s important that agent feedback on the contact center’s current system is incorporated into its evolution. Your senior agents can share valuable insights on the strengths and weaknesses of your current system, and help identify what tasks could be best handled by automation so that they are able to focus on creating great customer service.
AI has long been considered to be the next logical step in contact center operations; replacing humans with automation made sense when it came to working with a limited budget or a massive call volume, or both. But the CX story has changed, and smart brands now recognize that it’s the human touch that offers the greatest potential for better customer experience. Human-lead, AI-assisted customer service brings empathy and efficiency together, empowering a contact center with the insights and analytics that allow better strategic planning and development while allowing agents to excel at what they do best; giving customers the kind of attention and service that keeps them coming back to your brand.
bespokeCX gives contact center teams the framework, tools and perspective to create unbreakable customer relationships while supporting stronger workplace culture. AI-powered processes improve agent workflow, satisfaction and retention by consolidating omnichannel data into a single, easy-to-use source while giving management an accurate view of agent performance, feedback and customer impact. By maximizing operational alignment, bespokeCX can help your contact center retain and improve agent ROI so that your team can deliver personal, and profitable, customer experience. Visit www.bespokecx.com to learn more.