Human punching bag. This is how he uses it Los Angeles Times Description of customer service agents. This was before the epidemic. By many accounts, it is now worse.
Customers are more abusive than ever, causing delayed flights, lost packages, or late meals to dealerships at staggering prices. It has gotten so bad that call centers have been described as free “psychological counseling centers” for stunned clients.
The difficulty of the job is compounded by budget cuts, supply chain issues creating problems outside the company’s control, and a remote and scattered workforce. In fact, it should come as no surprise that 74 percent of call center agents are at risk of burnout, rotation rates hover between 30 percent and 45 percentAmong the highest rates in any industry.
This high rate of attrition is costing companies significant time. As many customer service teams squeeze their budgets, US companies are forced to spend dollars13 billion annually To recruit, train and prepare new agents. This is because it costs about 30 percent of an agent’s salary to fill their seat when they leave. The downside is more than just the cost, though: Team morale is affected and customer experience also suffers from inconsistency and longer response times.
Even if these aren’t enough reasons to prioritize retention agents, hiring is harder than ever. The customer service industry has been significantly affected by the labor shortage; It is estimated that there are approx 25% fewer factors than before the pandemicMany overseas call centers have not fully reopened.
In this environment, it is more important than ever for companies to improve the agent experience to reduce customer turnover by 2022. Recent advances in modern artificial intelligence may help.
The impact of artificial intelligence on the agent experience
While AI in customer service is often discussed in the context of improving the customer experience, there are many applications of AI that can also improve the agent experience. Here are four ways AI can improve the agent experience and, as a result, reduce agent turnover:
Unloading repetitive work. Agents often perform the same not-so-difficult task over and over again. AI-powered chat bots can automatically resolve recurring tickets such as refunds or order status. These are tickets that can make human customers feel like robots themselves. With an interest in mundane chore, agents can focus on more satisfying work that requires creativity and complex problem-solving.
Reveal a technology-focused career advancement. With proper training and supervision, AI-powered chatbots can automate more work over time. This training, though, needs supervision. Many companies find that their human agents are best suited to oversee the improvement of these platforms. Agents can monitor the conversations the AI has with clients to correct them when they are wrong, uncover opportunities to enhance its training in new speech for a topic or even identify new use cases to which the AI can respond. It’s not an IT department, but customer service agents who have the expertise on how to have the conversations and the right course of action. Empowering agents to take on this responsibility often leads to upward mobility and new career advancement, directly affecting longevity within the organization.
Orientation of feelings. Many agent desk platforms offer ticket routing based on agent experience, role-playing, or round robin, but AI agents can take this a step further and make an impact on the agent’s experience. By monitoring agents’ conversations, AI agents determine who has more difficult clients based on feelings and the nature of the problem. By taking things like the length of the conversation into account, the AI can predict the agent’s stress level and the partial effect that closing a particular card will have on the agent’s immediate well-being. With each incoming ticket, AI can shift more difficult issues or customers with heightened emotions to agents with less stress situations. This avoids situations in which one agent causes customers to irritate successively, which directly negatively affects their job satisfaction.
Real-time training and support. AI can be tasked with proactively collecting information from back-end systems, such as customer order history or loyalty status, and real-time messaging agents to help them close tickets faster and more accurately. If an agent is unsure about a particular policy, AI agents can also pull relevant training documents or draft responses.
AI is deployed in the call center in many ways, from data analysis to customer-facing chatbots. Improving the agent experience is one exciting application that can have a real impact on daily operations and spending. As customer expectations for instant and easy solutions continue to rise, 24/7 and across more channels, maintaining customer satisfaction and engagement is more critical than ever. After all, “Happy customer service customers mean happy customers,” According to Forrester.
It is a marketplace for job seekers. When businesses have agents, it’s essential to prioritize the agent experience to keep them engaged, happy, and help customers – no matter how rude they may be at times.
Puneet Mehta is the founder and CEO of Netomi, a leading customer experience AI platform that independently resolves customer service issues. He spent much of his career as a technology entrepreneur as well as building trade on Wall Street and AI capital markets. Recognized as a member of Ad age50 Creativity List, and interested in tradeSilicon Alley 100 and 35 up-and-coming entrepreneurs you need to meet.