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As technology continues to evolve and customers desire a more efficient and accurate support experience, there is an increasing number of support organizations that are employing the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at an accelerated rate. While conducting technical support research, I found some stories raving about the implementation of AI into call centers, and others that were casting fear that AI and chatbots would take over in their entirety. In this blog, I will review some of the business challenges that companies face, the transformation and implementation of AI into the support call center, and some solutions that could be beneficial for companies moving forward.
Whether you are a small company or an enterprise organization, there are always business challenges that arise when trying to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. Call center support as a customer facing operation is an area in which trying to satisfy the customer needs in a quick and efficient manner is always challenging.
As companies continue to implement AI, not only can they deliver efficient and satisfactory solutions, but it also allows the freeing up of the call center agent to focus on more complex support issues. Although some call center agents may fear that their jobs are in jeopardy due to AI, there are some case studies out there that show the impact of AI chatbots in the customer service industry—and so far replacing employees with bots is not happening.
TSIA’s Support Services Benchmark Program includes metrics related to employees. TSIA recommends having a strong employee engagement program in place and tracking relevant metrics. These metrics are especially important as you begin to digitally transform your support operation.
Keep a close eye on metrics, such as employee satisfaction, employee effort, and attrition rates, and if numbers start trending up in quarter-over-quarter comparisons, that’s a strong indicator that your employees are feeling blindsided by new tools, and may fear their roles will be diminished by automation.
For examples of employee metrics, watch this on-demand webinar, “5 Steps To Improve Your Digital Engagement During COVID-19 And Beyond.”
AI is transforming the Support Call Center in several ways.Although chatbots do not have feelings, there is now real-time emotional intelligence software, i.e., sentiment analysis, that can detect a customer’s tone or language if it is one of anger, frustration, or satisfaction. This technology can also be used to determine the same voice inflections of the call center agent and be used for training and intervention purposes should a supervisor need to be aware of the agent’s conversation.
This is a great way for leadership to gain visibility into how agents interact with customers. According to the early results from TSIA’s 2020 Support Technology Survey, 25% of companies have a chatbot (though we suspect most are still in development and testing), and 73% of respondents say they are planning to make a chatbot investment in the next 1-2 years.
Some of the solutions that can be used to assist the harmony of AI and call center agents includes the deployment of AI that can detect customer sentiment during chat interactions. If a call with a customer begins to get escalated during the chatbot conversation, the chatbot has the ability to transfer to a live agent (a “warm transfer”) and give the agent not only the chatlog, but advise the agent on the tone that was detected, so that the agent will be more in tune with the support issue. Educating employees to use the chatbot as an assistant rather than viewing it as an adversary is also a viable solution to embracing AI into the support call center.
If you are interested in learning more about AI and how it can positively impact the Employee Experience, I recommend reading “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) To Improve The Employee Experience,” which explores how support organizations should use AI and Machine Learning to assist the agents that are on the front lines in Customer Service.
Additionally, TSIA hosted a virtual summit titled “Leveraging AI to Automate Support” where our subject matter experts discussed topics such as:
In the end, AI is not going away, and we need to learn to embrace it and its existence. It offers the potential to increase satisfaction metrics, scale support, enhance the customer experience, and solidify your brand in the technology and services industry.
Post Date: August 28, 2020
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Alesha Bridgeman is the research associate for TSIA’s Support Services Research Practice. She assists in designing surveys to collect needed information and analyzes survey results to identify trends and best practices. In addition, Alesha creates and delivers materials to prepare members for their benchmark, collaborates with the customer service managers to identify TSIA member needs, and assists in providing value to their membership.
The Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) is dedicated to helping technology and services organizations large and small grow and advance in the technology industry. Find out how you can achieve success, too. Call us at (858) 674-5491 or we can call you.