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AI Makes It Possible (Blog Series)

Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of  “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Legget, 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 #3 of 3: The MORE you know. The more YOU KNOW.

Key Learnings from Forrester and Eptica Experts

As we heard throughout our webinar, enhancing the Customer Experience (CX) and understanding the Voice of the Customer (VoC) are intrinsically linked, to our advantage.

As an industry, we’ve known for years that a vital ingredient in delivering a positive customer experience (CX) is making the employee experience (EE) a positive one as well (remember “Happy Agent: Happy Customer”?) Changing demographics in the workforce and of course in the general population ensure that this interrelationship will become more dynamic over time.

Millennials are bringing their expectations and values into the workplace. Collaboration has become a foundational expectation, and the digital tools facilitating it are an integral part of the every-day lives of both customers and employees. Today’s agent expects the same tools to be at the office, ideally with added sophistication and value. As the agent role evolves in complexity and responsibility, agents expect trust, transparency and the authority to do what is best for the customer and the company. As valued members of their organisations, their access to the information they need needs to be easy and instantaneous.

Today, the biggest challenge facing global service organisations and traditional contact centres is delivering a quality of service experience in line with the expectations of the modern customer – one that keeps the customer satisfied and instils loyalty to your brand.

Customers now expect:

  • Their time to be valued
  • That anydesired information or service should be available on any device, delivered in a personalised manner, when or as needed
  • That self-service will be their first point of contact. They are willing to deal with digital assistants (chatbots, knowledge bases, voice authentication, and so on) especially if it will increase service levels, reduce time wasted, and guarantee a positive outcome.

As noted in the 2019 Dimension Data Customer Experience (CX) Benchmarking report:

  • 88% of contact centre decision-makers expect self-service volumes to increase over the next 12 months
  • 77% predict that digital assistant volumes will increase over the same timeframe
  • Each customer interaction will take longer and be more involved because the self-service offering will take care of the routine customer inquiries.

Making sure all these types of interactions are positive is increasingly important. A live call is now one of the few opportunities any agent has 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 organisation’s customers. Both the agent and customer benefit, and this can potentially lead to increased business and customer retention.

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Get your copy: Forrester Customer Service Mega-Trends Report

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Augment your Agents with AI to Deliver Better CX

  1. Communicate the value of delivering great customer AND employee experiences to your agents.
  2. Adopt automation to make operations more efficient and agents more productive. This will positively impact agent engagement and commitment (and longevity) as well as the customer experience that is delivered.
  3. 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 need to be redefined.
  4. 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.
  5. Training is key – to facilitate change and to make the agents comfortable with the new technologies.

As Kate Legget mentions in the webinar, Forrester has undertaken wide-ranging research across a large segment of diverse industries, speaking with these organisations directly. This research shows a direct correlation between delivering better customer experiences (CX) and generating more top-line revenue.

Leverage AI to Transform the Customer Experience

With so many areas where Augmented Conversations (enabled by AI) can help, Steve Nattress of Eptica stated that he’s often asked by Contact Centre managers what to do and how best to do it.

If an organisation has operational and customer satisfaction metrics and indicates that most of their contact centre conversations are commonly asked questions or routine inquiries, Steve says:

  1. Self-serve. In the first instance, “Solve” is definitely better than “Deflect”. Look at ways to allow customers to self-serve more successfully such as improving product instructions or enhancing your website content – pre-empting issues or helping customers to resolve them easily and without additional cost.
  2. Automate. “Deflect” as required where self-service is not enough. Focus on “Automated Conversations” to deflect the more standard or repetitive enquiries away from agents, saving your agents for less routine or more complex interactions. Use basic self-service automation such as programmed IVRs, and/or chatbots to provide customers with the information they are looking for, using lower-cost digital tools.
  3. Analyse. For more complex issues consider using automated tools to do the heavy lifting. Start by ensuring you have full context by gathering all the information from the entire customer journey – from the first point of contact (whether web, shop, outreach or other) to the point where they have chosen to engage with a live agent. By tracking the customer’s journey using self-help tools you avoid the most common 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. When that data is captured, the AI tools will have analysed the initial engagement, 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.

He adds these tips:

  • 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 Handle Time (AHT) variations between agents.
  • Optimise 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.
  • As necessary, investigate automated live “in-call” coaching to spot-check support levels in real time.
  • 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, about what is most important to the customer. And then act on the results.
  • Validate your assumptions and findings based on the next round of customer feedback analysis.
  • Rinse and repeat, frequently. It’s never a one-time thing!

You can get it right simply by listening to your customers and acting on what they tell you. In 99% of the cases, you don’t need to interpret anything because customers are typically very prescriptive:

Just do what they tell you to do.

You’ll end up thanking them for having done so. 

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Help make sure your organisation delivers the customer experience that exceeds their expectations. Doing so, will transform your contact centre from a cost-centre into a revenue generator.

Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of  “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Legget, 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.

See how your organisation can benefit from Super-Agents

Click here to view the playback: