If you have been a frequent reader of this blog and in particular my posts (don’t worry I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t), you have come to realise that I fundamentally believe in the power of customer experience (CX) as a differentiator for companies.
I also believe that CX begins long before a customer makes their first purchase and that in many instances ground zero for CX is the contact centre. One of the reasons I believe this is that the contact centre is often the first time a customer or prospect moves from digital to human engagement. This shift in engagement can be the differentiator in delivering that experience.
One of the ways that many organisations are looking to improve the experience between customers and agents is the use of AI. Like any kind of technology, AI can enable many things, but in and of itself it cannot deliver experience. In order to ensure AI can enable agents to deliver an experience, a strategy must be defined. Once complete, it can be determined where AI fits.
One of the key things about driving experience is the strength of relationships you build with your customers. As with any relationship, the stronger the bond between customer and brand, the more business you’re likely to conduct with them.
As shown in the graphic below from Gartner, the three most important characteristics that customers want from a brand to foster stronger relationships are clarity, credibility, and confirmation. Also interesting to note, human touch and personalisation are ranked far lower. I am not saying these are not important, but a simple call out so you will know where to put your focus.
When we think about the three C’s in the Gartner chart and how AI can enable agents to deliver on these, here are some ways that can happen.
Sometimes as customers, we just want answers to some basic questions. We don’t need a long, drawn-out explanation; a simple one will do. This is a textbook use case for AI-enabled chatbots. In fact, according to a study conducted by Drift, almost one-third of consumers would prefer to use a chatbot to get their questions answered.
Sometimes clarity is all about being simple and direct in the delivery of information, and chatbots can deliver this to your customers while your agents are dealing with more pressing issues.
How many times have you played phone tree bingo? You enter your account number, then password, you press the number to get to the right agent and even stated your problem. After all of this, you arrive at an agent only for them to ask you again for your information and the nature of your call – not exactly a great experience or a way to build strength in the relationship.
By using AI to collect this information and making this readily available to the agent, you ensure the customer needs can be addressed at “hello”. Additionally, you can enable the customer’s history so the agent can speak knowledgeably, lending credibility to the caller and building trust.
Don’t put your agents in an untenable position by not giving them the information that will allow them to do their jobs better. Enable them to be credible and provide a better experience.
The job of a contact centre agent is a difficult one to be sure. Giving agents real-time feedback and insight into how they are performing in order for them to do their jobs better not only helps them but will be a benefit to your customers and your brand.
While many analyse calls after they have occurred, AI can help you analyse calls in real-time, giving the agent on the spot feedback so they can apply that corrective action immediately and improve as they move from customer to customer.
AI surely provides great benefits to the contact centre and can make your agents far better at delivering the experience your customers deserve and demand. However, before you make that investment, be sure to define how you will use it so you get the most value possible.
Originally published Mar 22, 2021, updated Mar 25, 2021