AI Makes It Possible (Blog Series)
Key Learnings from Kate Leggett and Steve Nattress
Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Leggett, Vice President and Principal Analyst Service Application Development and Delivery, Forrester Research, with Steve Nattress, Director, R&D and Jacki Tessmer, Vice President – Product Marketing, Enghouse Interactive.
Blog #4 of 4 The MORE you know. The more YOU KNOW.
How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX
As we heard throughout our webinar, enhancing the Customer Experience (CX) and understanding the Voice of the Customer (VoC) are both inextricably linked… for the better.
As an industry, we’ve overlooked the most important aspect in delivering a positive customer experience (CX) … of making the employee experience (EE) a positive one as well. Today’s changing demographics in the workforce and the general population ensures that this interrelationship will become even more dynamic as time progresses.
Millennials have a much different view of life. And they are now bringing their expectations and values into the workplace. Collaboration is now a foundational expectation, and the digital tools that facilitate that are an integral part of their every-day lives. At a minimum, they expect the same tools to be at the office, if not more. From an interpersonal relationship perspective, they expect trust, transparency and the authority to do what is best for the customer and the company, in equal measure. They expect to be treated as valued members of their organizations and as such, access to the information they need should be easy and instantaneous.
Today, the biggest challenge facing global service organizations and traditional contact centers is delivering a quality of service experience in line with the expectations of the modern customer – one that keeps the customer satisfied and instills loyalty to their brand.
Customers now expect:
- Their time be valued
- That “any desired information or service should be available on any device, whenever they need it or want it, and that it be delivered in a personalized manner
- That self-service will be their first point of contact and they are willing to deal with digital assistants (chatbots, knowledge bases, voice authentication, etc.) especially if it will increase service levels, reduce time wasted, and guarantees a positive outcome.
As noted in the 2019 Dimension Data Customer Experience (CX) Benchmarking report:
- 88% of contact center decision-makers expect self-service volumes to increase over the next 12 months
- 77% predict digital assistant volumes will increase over the same timeframe
- and that each customer interaction will take longer and be more involved because the self-service offering will take care of the routine customer inquiries.
But making sure all these types of interactions are positive ones is increasingly important. When it’s a live call, it’s one of the few opportunities for an agent to deal with a customer on a personal level and nurture the customer relationship. Effectively and efficiently resolving a customer issue can be rewarding and helps reinforce the value of the agent role and its value to the organization’s customers. In so doing, both the agent and customer benefit, and this can potentially lead to increased business and customer retention.
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Enable your Super-Agents with AI to Deliver Better CX
- Communicate the value of delivering great employee and customer experiences to your agents.
- Adopt automation to make operations more efficient and agents more productive. This will positively impact agent engagement and commitment (and longevity) and the customer experience delivered.
- Agents will be presented with increasingly more complex situations which will require more engagement, insight and analysis. These interactions will become longer – so traditional productivity measurements and benchmarks will no longer be relevant and will have to be redefined.
- Augmented conversations – aided by Artificial Intelligence – will be the new normal. Agents will become more capable when using AI and should be comfortable doing so.
- Training is key – to facilitate change and to make the agents comfortable with the new technologies.
As Kate Legget mentioned, Forrester has undertaken wide-ranging research across a large segment of diverse industries – speaking with these organizations directly – and has conclusively proven and quantified that there is a direct correlation between delivering better customer experiences (CX) and generating more topline revenue.
Leverage AI to Transform the Customer Experience
With so many areas where Augmented Conversations (enabled by AI) can help, Steve stated that he’s often asked by Contact Center managers what to do and how best to do it.
If the organization has operational and customer satisfaction metrics and they indicate that the majority of contact center conversations are commonly asked questions or routine inquiries, then:
“Solve” is better than “Deflect”…focus on improving product instructions, enhance your website content to resolve issues simply and without additional cost.
Then Deflect as required…focus on “Automated Conversations” to deflect these enquires away from agents. Use basic self-service automation such as programmed IVR’s, and/or chatbots to provide the customers with the information that they are looking for by using lower-cost digital tools.
For more complex issues consider using automated tools. Start by ensuring you have the information from the whole customer journey – from the first point of contact to the point where they have chosen to engage with a live agent. By tracking the customer’s journey through self-help tools you avoid the most significant complaint when defaulting to an agent, that there’s no awareness or record of what the customer has already gone through to get to this point. But if that data is captured, the AI tools will have analyzed their inquiry, and will be able to provide the agent with everything required to quickly resolve the customer’s issue, from detailed scripting, relevant support information, and access to internal subject matter experts if necessary.
Treat Automation like a member of your staff with assigned KPIs, reviews and ongoing re-training.
Ensure consistency of response, investigate First Call Resolution (FCR) and Average Hold Time (AHT) variations between agents.
Optimize your Knowledge Base to ensure it supports a wide range of types of “Augmented Conversations” across all possible issues.
Highlight compliance issues, deviations, exceptions, and treat them accordingly.
Then as deemed necessary, investigate automated live “in-call” coaching to spot check support levels in real-time.
However, if you’re not sure about your data, or you don’t have any data, then measure first.
Use “Voice of the Customer” capabilities combined with AI Insights (analytics) to discover what the customer is telling the business is most important to them.
Act on the results.
Validate your assumptions and findings based on the next round of customer feedback analysis.
Repeat … frequently. It’s never a one-time thing.
In summary, think of the Peter Drucker quote as a guiding principle when considering or using AI-Enabled Super-Agents to enhance your customer experience:
“Working on the right things is what makes knowledge work effective.”
Know what’s right….
By listening to your customers and taking action on what they tell you.
In 99% of the cases, you don’t need to interpret anything.
Customers are very prescriptive….
Just do what they tell you to do.
You’ll end up thanking them for having done so.
Help make sure your organization delivers the customer experience that exceeds expectations. Doing so, will transform your contact center from a cost-center into a revenue generator.
Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Leggett, Vice President and Principal Analyst Service Application Development and Delivery, Forrester Research, with Steve Nattress, Director, R&D AI Insights – Vecko and Jacki Tessmer, Vice President – Product Marketing, Enghouse Interactive.
See how your organization can benefit from AI-Enabled Super-Agents