In the age of Digital Transformation, many customer service leaders are focusing all their attention on technology. While intelligent automation can give a boost to their CX strategy, it’s important not to forget the humans behind the tech. Great customer service starts with a great agent experience – and if agents are stressed, frustrated and lacking the right tools and support, it will inevitably lead to unresolved interactions and unhappy customers.
As modern customers’ expectations continue to increase, agents are finding it difficult to keep up with the ever-expanding engagement channels, limits of legacy systems and the complexity of incoming queries. While technology is certainly helping to automate certain processes by enabling self-service, it can also overwhelm agents and create additional friction. That’s why creating a best-in-class experience is dependent on finding the right balance between Tech and Human Intelligence.
Here are a few key areas where you can help achieve that balance and avoid agent overload:
1. Minimize Unnecessary Stressors
A day in the life of a customer support agent can be very stressful. They regularly deal with disgruntled customers and are tasked with supporting an increasing number of channels, all without letting their productivity falter. Remaining efficient and effective in an Omnichannel environment can be an arduous task for any agent – especially if they don’t have the right tools in place to keep their heads above water.
This is where AI can step in to help reduce agents’ workloads by handling front-line self-service support for customers’ routine questions, allowing agents to spend more time on those complex inquiries and with the customers that need them most. An AI-powered chatbot will answer mundane queries as many times as they’re asked, and they’re available for customers 24/7. And for those complex questions that need a little human help, the chatbot can transition the customer interaction off to the best agent for that specific query based on skills and availability.
2. Breakdown Communication and Collaboration Barriers
On average, less than half of agents’ time is spent on resolving customer issues – the rest is spent looking for the information they need to help customers. They’re looking up customer account information, searching knowledge bases for answers, or finding another person who can help. They’re combing for information across systems that are broken, complicated, and cumbersome.
Breaking down communication barriers and enabling knowledge sharing and faster collaboration among agents helps to avoid lags in customer service, while at the same time empowering agents to handle customer queries with all the insights and support they need – resulting in better experiences for all.
For example, collaboration-oriented solutions that have joint chat capabilities can enable companies to provide on the job coaching assistance. With in-product support from other agents, subject matter experts, and supervisors, agents can get onboard more quickly, have support with continuous learning as their roles and responsibilities evolve.
3. Make Technology an Enabler, Not an Obstacle
When deploying new technology, it’s important to remember that it should help agents rather than burden them. What good is a solution if agents are spinning their wheels figuring out how to use it? Understanding the challenges agents face and implementing solutions that directly address those issues is what will positively transform the way they work, and ultimately, enable them to deliver a better customer experience.
This can be as simple, yet as effective, as providing a cleanly organized agent workspace that brings all of the information they need to one screen to simply workflows and support their productivity. Agents can spend less time searching multiple systems and applications for insights and answers and more time-solving customers’ problems.
While AI-powered technologies should be a part of a CX strategy to enable businesses to scale operations, they alone cannot replace the human intelligence needed to deliver the highly personalized experience customers want and expect. If businesses want to succeed in customer experience management, they have to start with managing the agent experience.