Self Service Digital Agents
Before technology was advanced enough, the contact center could only operate with human agents. Slowly, as technology has improved its capabilities, more functions are able to be automated. In the beginning, we mostly saw technology supporting the first part of the conversation, like providing menu trees or sorting customers depending on which department they needed to reach. Eventually, technology has advanced to a place where some tasks could be handled only though technology, also called self-service.
However, self-service and other automated technologies can get a bad reputation from consumers. This happens when the technology is not advanced enough for the task that it is being used for. It can also happen with a model of contact center that does not support digital transformation and the inclusion of digital agents.
What is a digital agent?
A digital agent is an automated self-service technology in the contact center that can perform the same role and tasks as a human agent. For digital agents to operate efficiently, they need:
- To have advanced Conversational AI that can interpret complicated intent and carry context across the conversation
- To be fully integrated into backend existing business systems, like CRM tools, in order to use data for optimization of interactions
- To exist in a contact center model that has been optimized for technology-led interactions
You can read more about how to build a model that supports digital agents in this eBook.
How do digital agents help a contact center?
How do digital agents help a contact center?
A digital agent brings contact centers to a new level of scalability and efficiency. During times where call volumes spike, expectedly or unexpectedly, digital agents can scale to match the higher volume without needing to hire additional human agents or cause long wait times for customers. This lowers operational costs and allows more customers to be served in less time.
Secondly, digital agents can actually help human agents be more productive. Digital agents have the ability to dig through and analyze huge amounts of data that can give human agents the information they need at the blink of an eye. Instead of having to put a customer on hold to find something, a digital agent can immediately find what is needed and offer it to the human agent so the conversation never misses a beat. When agents are able to resolve customer issues more quickly, they are able to help more costumes overall.
To see more ways that digital agents are able to benefit a contact center check out our guide to Intelligent Virtual Assistants.
What types of digital agents exist?
Many types of digital agents exist. For example, some automated systems are only designed to direct customers within an interaction, whereas others are able to handle the complete interaction from start to finish. Differences between digital agents comes down to the technology that they are powered by, in addition to the way they are implemented within the contact center.
Digital agents may be referred to in many different names, including chatbot, IVR, digital assistant, digital agent, and more. However, it’s important to understand that not all of these examples deliver a fully self-service solution, and therefore may not actually meet the criteria for a digital agent. To ensure that you are deploying a digital agent that your customers will be satisfied with (and not frustrated), check out our guide to choosing automation that passes the consumer test.
What is a digital Contact center?
A digital contact center is one where both voice channels and text channels are able to operate together in a cohesive ecosystem. The interactions on the channels are led by digital agents, and supported by human agents when necessary. This model allows for optichannel, which is a channel strategy that focuses on leveraging the most efficient channel and customer journey based on customer data and past experiences.
In a digital contact center, digital and human agents work together seamlessly for scalable, productive, and effortless customer interactions. Backend business systems are seamlessly integrated to provide combined data pools across departments and functionalities. In this way, the end customer experiences a united and cohesive experience, no matter when, where, or how they are contacting a brand.
To learn more about an idealized contact center, check out our ebook that explores how contact centers are changing with digital transformation.
How can a contact center embrace digital transformation?
Customer preferences have changed. In a recent survey, we found that 1 out of every 4 consumers stopped using a brand during the pandemic because they did not offer digital channels. And it’s not enough just to be present on a channel, but that channel must be optimized for the most efficient conversation flow. Otherwise, customers will find automation frustrating and cumbersome, ultimately leaving the interaction with a negative perception of the brand.
In order to truly embrace digital transformation, brands must understand that the entire model of the contact center has to shift to allow technology to be used to its greatest potential and benefit. By simply adding automation without shifting the contact center model, interactions with technology will feel robotic, unnatural, and typically end up needing a human agent to finish out the transaction, which eliminates many of the business benefits that were originally intended by adding the automation.
To learn more about the modern contact center, check out this guide to learn how the contact center needs to shift to use technology to its greatest advantage.