LogMeIn has announced the results of a global study conducted in partnership with Ovum to understand how support agents are faring in the age of ever-rising consumer expectations. The findings reveal that the vast majority of surveyed agents believe that the technology tools provided to customer-facing employees are not evolving as quickly as their needs are.
Today’s customers expect agents to have increasingly detailed knowledge of products, services, and company policies so they can achieve first contact resolution (FCR). However, the reality is that only 35 per cent of agents say this is possible, as the majority (57 per cent) do not have any AI tools, and more than half (53 per cent) do not use a knowledge base.
The study surveyed 750 customer-facing employees, customer experience (CX) managers, and content managers in seven countries across North America, EMEA and APAC, and found that agents in physical locations are worse off than their counterparts in contact centers. Only 30 per cent of field agents have AI tools compared to 44 per cent in contact centers, and the unpleasant result for customers is that 20 per cent of interactions require a call-back and 13 per cent get transferred.
“We know that there is a direct correlation between agent frustration and customer discontent, and 85 per cent of customer-facing employees expressed a very high degree of frustration because they can’t meet customer expectations,” said Ken Landoline, Principal Analyst, Ovum. “As the study highlights, all customer support employees need to be better equipped to meet rapidly growing customer expectations. Employees want to step up but are hampered by mediocre training and outdated, inefficient tools. Clearly this needs to change, or customer loyalty and revenue will ultimately suffer.”
AI’s untapped potential
AI-powered knowledge management tools offer a powerful solution to customer-facing employees working inside or outside of the contact center who need instant access to company information, and 56 per cent of surveyed knowledge base users are either extremely or very satisfied with them. Knowledge bases reduce the amount of time it takes to find information (66 per cent think they are easy to search) and serve as a single source of truth for employees across teams and departments. LogMeIn, who commissioned the study with Ovum, is already working closely with companies to help reduce internal escalations by up to 30 per cent with Bold360’s Advise solution, which leverages AI-powered knowledge management.
AI deployments for customer service and support also go beyond knowledge management. The majority are for automating routine tasks (60 per cent) and assisting agents in real time (50 per cent), followed by AI for customer journey mapping. Seventy-five percent of agents have a feedback system in place to advise management of issues they are facing during the course of their workday, and one-third utilize automatic pop-ups that recommend helpful next-best actions.
Yet, AI adoption is still in early stages. The majority of managers who participated in the survey are still formulating their AI strategy (38 per cent) or only have an early-phase strategy in place (28 per cent). The dominant approach to implementation is to put ad hoc point solutions in place for a few selected use cases (44 per cent).
“A lack of tools for customer service agents creates a vicious circle: staff can’t meet customer expectations which creates employee frustration, turnover, and of course, a poor customer experience,” said Ryan Lester, Senior Director of Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn. “Even though powerful technologies like AI-based knowledge management tools can reverse the trend, adoption is slow and it’s hurting these organizations. Poor customer experiences have a negative impact on sales and repeat business, so this is a pressing issue that businesses need to address at the highest levels.”
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