Why contact centre AI is your agent’s friend
Way before ChatGPT hit the headlines, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was already delivering real benefits to customers, the agent, and the wider organisation through contact centre AI. It is powering chatbots and virtual assistants, automating contact centre operations, and supporting agents in providing customer service. In fact, 50% of customer service managers in ContactBabel research said they’d either implemented AI or planned to do so in the next year.
AI can dramatically enhance the customer experience and improve contact centre efficiency. However, agents may worry that they’ll be replaced by technology. In fact, the opposite is true. AI is their friend, enabling them to deliver a better experience to customers. It achieves this in three ways:
1. Empowering agents with AI driven knowledge
Often agents are unable to respond effectively to customers as they don’t have immediate access to the right answers. AI driven knowledge management empowers agents to ask questions using natural language and automatically provides consistent, accurate answers. Digital interactions can also be analysed as they enter the contact centre, so that agents are forearmed with relevant templates and the right knowledge to answer their query. Additionally, by using AI to access information on the customer journey or in CRM systems, agents can give a personalised service, tailored to the individual customer.
2. Streamlining agent workload with Contact Centre AI
Utilising AI driven chatbots and self-service solutions are a great way of deflecting routine calls coming into the contact centre. It means agents can focus on more complex interactions, where they can use skills such as empathy to deliver an improved experience. This can, in turn, make their roles more interesting and rewarding. Also, by using intelligent routing, calls or digital interactions can be automatically directed to the best available agent, meaning calls aren’t passed around or customers put on hold.
AI can also reduce workloads in other ways. For example, it can be used to carry out security and verification checks before a call is answered. This minimises administration for the agent and allows them to focus on building a rapport with the customer right from the start. Automating post-call processes such as call wrap-up or categorisation also saves the agent’s time.
Finally, AI can increase productivity by automatically identifying and acting on upsell and cross-sell opportunities. By analysing the conversation in real-time, it can provide the agent with information on special offers or additional products to weave into the dialogue. For example, if a customer was booking a holiday to Paris AI could flag special offers on local attractions to an agent while they are on the phone.
3. Better supporting agents and reducing stress
Being an agent can be stressful. Often customers are angry, particularly if they had to wait to speak to someone. This impacts wellbeing and can lead to burnout and agents quitting their jobs.
AI can support agents when they are on a call by automatically analysing conversations. By identifying tone, sentiment and what is said, AI can then use this information to take specific actions. It could automatically provide information to solve a problem. Or ensure compliance by flagging specific areas, such as terms and conditions. AI can even flag specific calls to supervisors. They can support agents either by joining the call or providing information via chat. Use post-call AI analysis of interactions to flag coachable moments and identify training needs and improve agent performance.
All of this lowers agent stress and makes their jobs more rewarding. This translates into higher agent retention, meaning organisations keep experienced staff for longer. This is a virtuous circle – happier, more experienced agents deliver better service, improving contact centre performance.
All of these examples show the benefits that AI delivers for agents. And, as AI continues to develop, particularly through Natural Language Processing, it will provide new ways to support agents in their roles. What is key is that AI is fully integrated into customer service processes, helping agents, rather than replacing them. That way customers will benefit from a combination of human skills and technology to deliver a complete experience, whatever their needs.