Agent efficiency, automation, and operational insights
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Contact center agents and leaders alike are stressed, as both run into the issues of addressing agent wants and needs strategically without breaking the company bank. While agents and contact center leaders don’t always share the same perspective, they usually share the same goal: automating the process to make it easier and more efficient. AI and automation can help contact centers create what we call the ‘agent of the future’ — one who can handle multiple types of inquiries shared across multiple channels and show true empathy to customers.
Can AI and automation accomplish all this without raising contact center costs? The short answer is “Yes”, and in this post, we’ll share five ways along with other helpful information about the benefits of AI and automation for contact center teams.
Digital interactions have revolutionized how agents engage with customers, liberating them from being confined to telephone work. However, the proliferation of channels can create new challenges if customer information remains scattered across multiple systems. Agents often feel overwhelmed, constantly switching between disparate channels in search of fragmented customer data.
This is where Omnichannel engagement hubs come into play, empowering agents to interact with customers seamlessly across ALL digital channels through a single, unified interface. You might wonder which digital channels can be integrated. Well, when we say ALL, we mean it. Whether chat, messaging and voice, review sites, community platforms, or any other entry point customers utilize to connect with a brand, agents can access and engage with them all. This grants agents crucial insights like customer identification and real-time conversation alerts, enabling them to work more efficiently.
Centralizing customer interactions and data within an Omnichannel engagement hub eliminates the chaos of fragmented information. This empowers agents to deliver a consistent and personalized experience regardless of the channel customers choose to engage on. The flexibility to communicate with customers on various channels leads to improved first-contact resolution rates and CSAT scores while reducing handle times and per-interaction costs.
This seamless integration of multiple channels simplifies agent workflows and enhances customer and agent experience whilst revolutionizing customer service, enhancing operational efficiency, providing real-time insights, improving resolution rates, and reducing costs.
Embracing effective self-service automation not only cuts costs but also diversifies agents' work, resulting in a more efficient and productive customer service environment. Businesses can resolve simple customer inquiries by leveraging automation while consolidating agent data for seamless escalations. Additionally, automation relieves agents from mundane and repetitive tasks, allowing them to dedicate their expertise to more complex interactions and build meaningful customer relationships.
Tech See says 60% of customer service calls revolve around common and uncomplicated tasks. Implementing web self-service solutions, as highlighted by Contact Babel, can be a game-changer in terms of cost reduction, estimated to be 40-100 times less expensive than engaging a live agent.
Chatbots, in particular, bring a different level of sophistication to the self-service landscape. With their ability to embody the company's brand and personality through avatars, chatbots provide a personalized touch to customer interactions. These virtual assistants excel at resolving simpler issues, effectively deflecting work from agents and enabling them to focus on interactions that require the human touch.
In addition, having a user-friendly platform for configuring automation, like Khoros Flow, brings new opportunities for ambitious agents. Previously, deploying automation required a full-time developer and conversational designer, resulting in challenges, failed attempts, and no established best practices or software. However, with Flow AI, agents can gain the confidence to utilize code actions and take on tasks such as making account changes and extracting personally identifiable information (PII) using robotic processing automation (RPA).
This could be a way to retain agents and open up a career progression path for those keen to delve into conversational design and utilize their coding skills. By leveraging the ease of use and capabilities of Flow AI, agents can build conversational experiences and contribute to more efficient customer interactions. This empowerment enables agents to contribute meaningfully to process automation, improving efficiency, accuracy, and overall customer satisfaction. By harnessing the power of AI-powered self-service as a strategic component, organizations can optimize their operations, and achieve greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness while increasing CSAT by enhancing the overall customer service experience.
Modernize your contact center by embracing agent-assist technology that harnesses the power of AI to monitor conversations, suggest optimal responses from a knowledge base (KB) or self-service portal, and even recommend the most suitable chatbot to engage in the conversation. With integrated agent-assist tools, agents can automate repetitive troubleshooting or information-gathering tasks, saving time and accelerating customer interactions.
Consider integrating your brand's comprehensive knowledge base into your care team's conversation management platform. This integration empowers agents to search and locate answers to frequently asked questions effortlessly, enabling them to address customer inquiries promptly. A robust KB is a searchable and editable information repository, giving agents access to accurate responses based on real-time internal and external data. The benefits of KB extended by AI and automation include:
Enhanced Onboarding: Knowledge bases simplify the onboarding process by providing new agents with a centralized source of truth. Agents can swiftly find answers when facing challenging situations, ensuring they feel supported and confident.
Streamlined Training: Agent-assist responses offer quick access to curated responses, reducing the time required for onboarding and training new agents. This accelerates their proficiency and equips them with the necessary knowledge to deliver exceptional customer service.
Recognition and Value: Brands can reward employees who actively contribute to the company's knowledge-sharing system. Employees are acknowledged for their contributions and feel valued by automatically surfacing valuable insights and information. Curated responses with a single click further incentivize employees to share their knowledge and expertise.
In today's call centers, it's rare to find a unified agent desktop in use. Instead, many companies rely on multiple applications that agents must juggle simultaneously to handle customer interactions before, during, and after a call. While these legacy systems may have some integration capabilities, they still fall short compared to the efficiency a unified agent desktop offers.
The unified agent desktop eliminates the need for agents to log into multiple applications and navigate between them during a call. It ensures that customer data is collected and disseminated correctly to the appropriate places, saving agents valuable time and reducing the risk of errors. The unified agent desktop is often coupled with robotic processing automation (RPA), a subset of AI technology that utilizes internal-facing bots to collect and replicate data across multiple applications.
Agents can focus on more complex and value-added interactions by offloading repetitive tasks to AI. Like a knowledge base, it consolidates various functionalities and information into a user-friendly interface, allowing agents to easily access customer data, communication history, and relevant tools without switching between multiple applications.
A unified desktop streames existing workflows and tools, supporting agents and reducing stress in their daily responsibilities to excel in today's digital era. It enhances agent efficiency, reduces cognitive load, and ensures a comprehensive, cohesive, and seamless customer experience at every touchpoint.
Supervisors also benefit from enabling a unified agent desktop as they gain real-time insights into their team's operational efficiency across diverse channels. Interaction data is automatically compiled and presented on a single dashboard, eliminating the need for agents to switch between applications to get a complete picture of customer interactions.
This comprehensive view empowers supervisors to make data-driven decisions, optimize agent performance, and improve customer service. With streamlined workflows, automated processes, and access to real-time insights, the unified agent desktop paves the way for improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and more efficient call center operations.
Contact centers rely on various metrics to measure agent and organizational success. However, juggling multiple internal metrics alongside customer satisfaction ratings can overwhelm agents. To enhance measurement capabilities and alleviate this challenge, consider redefining the key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter to agents and the company goals. Implementing performance management systems equipped with advanced analytics and AI can empower agents to deliver exceptional service while effectively measuring their impact.
Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction is a critical KPI that directly reflects the quality of service agents provide. By leveraging AI-powered tools and sentiment analysis, contact centers can gain deeper insights into customer experiences and measure sentiment accurately. Based on these insights, agents can then focus on improving customer satisfaction, resulting in higher customer loyalty and retention.
Average handle time (AHT): AHT measures agents' average time on customer interactions. While it remains an important metric, advanced analytics can help identify opportunities to reduce AHT without compromising service quality. Agents can benefit from performance management systems that provide real-time feedback, coaching, and guidance to optimize efficiency and reduce handle times.
First contact resolution (FCR): FCR measures the percentage of customer issues resolved during the initial contact. Achieving high FCR rates is crucial for improving customer experience and reducing operational costs. With the help of an omnichannel engagement hub, unified desktop, and agent assist tools, agents can access customer data and insights in real-time, enabling them to resolve issues promptly and efficiently, leading to improved FCR rates.
Agent productivity: To ensure efficient resource utilization, measuring agent productivity is essential. Advanced analytics tools provide comprehensive visibility into agent performance, allowing contact centers to identify areas for improvement, streamline workflows, and optimize productivity. Supervisors can benefit from personalized performance dashboards highlighting agents' strengths and areas needing improvement, fostering continuous growth and success.
Cost savings and ROI: Effective measurement of KPIs contributes to cost savings and improved return on investment (ROI) for the contact center. You can streamline processes, reduce manual efforts, and enhance operational efficiency by leveraging AI, analytics, and automation. This leads to reduced costs associated with agent handling times, improved resource utilization, and better decision-making based on data-driven insights.
Customer satisfaction ratings and NPS have become increasingly important in this digital age. Management information systems can become the litmus test and all-seeing eye to judge how well and efficiently operations are running. Using all the data collected from a contact center, agents and management can be fed an enterprise-level view of important KPIs. This helps agents focus on what KPIs matter for an organization (and customers) and gives them a clear indicator of performance based on objective data rather than subjective opinion. Further, they have real-time feedback ready without waiting for a performance review. This empowers them to seek assistance or use other automated tools to adjust accordingly.
Modernizing your contact center AI and automation is essential when you’re trying to deliver exceptional customer experiences and optimize your operations.
At Khoros, we understand the importance of empowering your agents and streamlining workflows. AI and automation can improve the effectiveness of your contact center, and reduce costs through higher efficiency and customer retention. However, brands must choose a comprehensive solution to get the full benefits of this emerging technology.
See how a digital contact center can help your brand reduce agent attrition.