Improving agent experience not only benefits agents, but also your customers and your business. According to Accenture, companies with great employee experiences still outperform the S&P 500 by 122%. Therefore, it should be a big focus in the contact center. But with an increasing focus on technology, it can seem like live agents are getting left behind.
With this increase of AI and technology, it’s important to understand that the best results will come from strategically integrating technology in the contact center that works in synergy with live agents. It’s not about replacing live agents, but rather about diverting their attention to more stimulating and interesting tasks, which increases their productivity and value.
What is agent experience?
Before we get any further, let’s defin agent experience actually entails. Agent experience is the entirety of every touchpoint that a contact center agent encounters during their workday and with the company for whom they work. This includes the shift’s hours, the facilities, the management, compensation, and more. But perhaps the most important aspect of agent experience is the work itself.
According to the Harvard Business Review, employees that want to stay in their current job are highly motivated and remain with the company almost exclusively for reasons associated with the work itself. In other words, the satisfaction of one’s job is majorly influenced by the day-to-day tasks that are performed.
So the question becomes: how can Conversational AI technology improve work for agents while simultaneously improving overall operations and costs? Here are three ways:
1. Most people contact businesses for very simple requests, like resetting a password or changing an address on file. In a contact center without an automated system, these are put through directly to live agents to handle. And while a few of these requests are fine to handle, helping customers reset passwords for hours on end probably will become quite repetitive and boring. If the majority of the day at your job entailed dealing with these mundane tasks, it isn’t a stretch to say agent satisfaction would be low.
Conversational AI can help by taking over these repetitive, rule-based tasks so that agents can handle more stimulating and rewarding customer care inquiries. With the right application design, this solution will not only improve agent experience, but will also allow the call center to handle more calls while eliminating wait times.
2. It’s not easy being a contact center agent. Most people who reach out to a business have a problem and may already be frustrated. Long wait times, outdated automated systems, and other inefficiencies add to that frustration. Customer frustration often translates to agent frustration, which leads to dissatisfaction in their job. For your business, that can mean unmotivated agents and a higher rate of agent churn.
By using an advanced automated system, such as a virtual agent powered by Conversational AI, customer experience improves by reducing common frustrations like wait times, menu trees, robotic and unnatural conversations, and more.
3. Another way to improve agent experience with technology is by implementing a Conversational AI system that can seamlessly integrate with existing business systems. A proper integration not only helps the virtual assistant speak with context and relevance to customers, but also provides live agents with a dashboard of relevant customer information so they can save time and energy. Reducing effort on the agent side makes their job more efficient and can often prevent them from having to ask customers to repeat information that they have already given.
Integrated with customer experience design in mind, Conversational AI applications will actually improve agents’ jobs, not replace them. It’s important for contact center leadership to understand this relationship between customer and agent experience in order to see the greatest results from technology.