By Vivian Gomes
Customer Support Representatives (CSR’s) are the bridge between customers and the company. When faced with product or service-related issues, customers instinctively reach out to the customer service department. In an industry report by Accenture, it was found that 89 per cent of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives.
In a customer service environment, there is a tendency to get carried away by modern technologies like AI or advanced analytics and set up complex systems to deliver “next-gen” support for customers. However, problems arise because agents are not able to leverage these technologies properly to come up with timely, meaningful solutions.
To find a quick resolution, CSR’s require comprehensive and contextual information about the customer and the issue. Organizations must understand that most customers today can use self-service tools to resolve basic issues, subsequently increasing their expectations for specialized agent support. While chatbots have caused a lot of buzz over the last couple of years, the industry has quickly realized that chatbot technology is not mature enough to handle non-standardized customer issues. The solution, therefore, lies in a holistic agent empowerment and amplification framework that enables agents to service customers seamlessly and effectively.
How Agent Amplification can drive customer experience
A customer service ecosystem consists of primarily 3 components:
- Consumer experience
- Technology-driven process automation
- Agent experience
Out of the three, the agent experience is a crucial aspect, as it is the X-factor that drives the other two. As per the Aberdeen Group, companies who work to actively engage employees/agents have customer loyalty rates 233 per cent higher than those who don’t.
Therefore, an efficient contact center ecosystem should incorporate an agent-centric model that integrates technology seamlessly into the existing customer service ecology, while maintaining synergy with agent experience.
A holistic customer experience solution can be the answer
A digitally led customer experience management ecosystem can simplify complex customer service ecosystems. It can provide solutions that shift from reactive to pre-emptive engagement models, enabling agents to provide consistent support along the entire consumer journey. An effective support framework, depending upon whether it is in a B2C or B2B context, could have the following components:
A) Smart Case Routing
The genesis of most problems related to the call center environment, stem from the inability to map the right agent to the right customer issue. This creates frustration for customers as they are thrown from one agent to the other. However, with intelligent automation and smart case routing analytics, organizations can drive predictability and agility in customer service operations. Issue classification, routing and management is automated, so the agent with the right skill set and micro-attributes is holistically mapped to the right customer. This simplifies and reduces issue resolution time.
B) Customer 360 Dashboard
A customer 360 dashboard provides agents with a single, unified view into the customer engagement operations with the right contextual customer information. It leverages customer analytics, case analytics, insights, and recommendations with an easy-to-use interface. Using this, agents can effectively and efficiently resolve customer issues with contextual intelligence, significantly minimizing average handling time.
C) Hybrid Bot + Agent Model for Cognitive Live Chat Assistance
In this agent model, a hybrid AI approach is used instead of a pure chatbot-based approach. The bot has a federated knowledge base that provides the next best action, KM articles and response recommendations coupled with guided resolutions and real-time diagnosis. This is provided to the agents by a bot that monitors the agent’s conversation with a customer in a separate discrete chat window. This helps agents in live chat with smart recommendations and troubleshooting issues in a significantly shorter timeframe.
D) AR-based support
Augmented reality-based support enables agents to experience an issue in the real environment from wherever they are, especially where hardware is involved or where field techs need to be dispatched. These tools empower the agents to provide fast, accurate, and personalized resolutions, by pointing out issues through illustrations where the customer might be going wrong.
E) Dynamic Learning Curve with Agent Performance Management
An agent performance management program coupled with persona modelling ensures continuous improvements and ongoing learning. Such a program will focus on monitoring the agent’s actions to create personalized learning interventions and training programs. This simplified, dynamic training module combined with a CX focused culture can amplify agent performance significantly.
In conclusion, companies looking to improve their customer experience must aim for amplifying agent experience, which can be achieved by focusing on human competencies and aiding the agents through technology. In doing so, organizations empower their agents to deliver meaningful value that drives stellar customer experiences and business outcomes alike.
(The author is the Vice President, Marketing at CSS Corp)