Think about a day in the life of a customer service agent. In a traditional support center, agents on the front line are swamped all day with simple, mindless, repetitive tasks. Every minute spent categorizing emails, responding to mundane queries, and rerouting tickets is a minute of precious time away from customers. It’s not great for your customers but it's almost worse for your agents’ state of mind and their job satisfaction.
One minute may not sound like a lot of time when categorizing emails. But, even one minute spent delighting a customer can maximize their experience and drive revenue for your brand. A study by HBR found that customers who have the best experiences spend 140% more than those who have the poorest ones.
If you want to improve overall customer experience, you need systemic change. But how can your agents be more creative, innovative, friendly and fun with customers if they’re bogged down by monotony that can take up to 80 percent of their time? Introduce AI into the equation. AI-enabled assist systems can help automate many of the monotonous, time-consuming, and even demoralizing tasks that agents face day in and day out. Read on to learn about at least five things your agents can focus on if you take the boring stuff out of the picture!
1. Engage in More Interesting Customer Exchanges
Agents who can recover just 30 to 40 percent of their time (with intelligent automation in place) have more satisfying day-to-day experiences, more time for critical thinking, and a greater capacity for complex — and more interesting — customer interactions.
2. Transform Customer Process Design
Increased time for meaningful experiences enables agents to contribute critical insights into customer process design, which is a critical aspect of future customer engagement. Agents are the first line of defense against broken process in customer engagement but are often focused on solving the customer's problem instead of the fix. According to Gartner, “Companies that have successfully disrupted existing business models did so because of the empathy they felt for customers dealing with inefficient processes and experiences.” As AI alleviates mundane tasks for agents, they’re able to spend more time delighting customers with unique solutions rather than rushing them out the door to handle the next ticket in the queue.
3. Become the Model—Even the Benchmark—for Business Success
The meaningful experiences noted above can drive business success. Support teams that leverage their innovations to improve a knowledge base can reference those successes for long-term benefits to customers. In addition, agents inherently possess insightful feedback about the core issues that come up regarding products and services and this can assist product managers and planners to better understand their charter without having to engage in broad customer research. Agents effectively become the "in-house experts" who listen to customer complaints and flip the script to empower the internal teams to deliver stronger solutions. Add a robust AI ticketing solution to the mix for additional insights on product issues and customer feedback for an even greater takeaway.
4. Transform the Brand
With greater creative capacity, agents can become an empowered extension of your brand. Agents are always listening to customers' perception of the brand and the feedback they get is pivotal to how businesses can improve messaging and the way they address their customers.
5. Create New Up-sell and Cross-sell Opportunities
An AI solution that assists agents with critical customer information during an interaction provides insights that can help identify new sales opportunities. Support teams already engaged with customers are in the best position to recommend additional products and services in a helpful way. AI-based Chatbots can be effectively used alongside support agents to up-sell/cross sell customers in cases where support team members are expected to support and to sell.
In 2017, 62 percent of customers reported that representatives’ knowledge or resourcefulness was key to their recent positive service experiences. Adding value with additional products or services can be an extension of that willingness to go above and beyond for customers.
Just as support teams adopt sales-driven capacities, marketers and salespeople can learn from service experiences. Those teams can reference case studies and real customer experiences for insights that drive better customer engagement through their channels.
Opening the "data pathways" between teams within a company goes a long way toward understanding these needs, according to Salesforce. Keeping all data in an accessible central location helps ensure that different teams (service, marketing, and sales, for instance) can all work together effectively.
Finally, adopting AI solutions is not only liberating — it is also a call to action for agents to improve techniques and resources and then help drive experiences for customers through all aspects of their engagement.