Call center Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just about replacing customer service agents with bots to perform certain tasks.
AI helps transform employee and customer experiences, making people more effective at their work. When used in contact centers, Artificial Intelligence can make forecasts more accurate, provide leaders with decision-making information, elevate CX, and improve the agent experience.
That last point, improving the agent experience, is particularly important at this time, since in the last year, most call centers have moved to a full or partial remote agent model. With this transition, some challenges have arisen, such as making agents feel supported and part of a team despite the physical separation.
Remote Work and AI
The rapid transition to a remote agent model at the beginning of the lockdown produced many examples of great operational efficiency. Under normal conditions, contact centers could have done a pilot test, followed by analysis, program adjustment, and phased implementation.
However, the rapid implementation of teleworking due to the pandemic eliminated the possibility of designing a well thought out remote agent strategy. Instead, call centers had to create solutions that addressed short-term needs to continue offering the same quality service to customers.
Both agents and contact centers have now experienced the benefits of a remote agent model, and as a result, 70% of companies plan to continue allowing agents to work from home in the future.
AI helps create better customer experiences and maximize agent performance and productivity. It is also good for the bottom line. For example, a study from Aberdeen indicated that call centers that use more Artificial Intelligence drive significantly higher year-over-year increases in agent productivity than other contact centers.
Three Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence to Support Remote Agents
1) Real-time Guidance During Every Interaction to Help Agents Make Every Customer a Satisfied Customer
What if agents could receive guidance from a supervisor during AI-powered interactions? Training your skills as interactions unfold could mean the difference between delivering a good or a bad customer experience (CX), especially in the absence of a physically present supervisor, AI coaching can provide remote agents with timely and relevant feedback to make them more effective and productive.
For instance, an AI-powered engagement guide can detect both customer and agent sentiment and knows which skills agents should use based on customer emotions. If an interaction becomes tense and the agent begins to interrupt the caller, the interaction guide software will alert the agent to this behavior.
2) Smarter Schedules that Offer Agents More Flexibility to Manage Remote Work and Personal Life Responsibilities
One thing that agents value about working from home is improving work-life balance.
Workforce management software that uses machine learning, a form of AI, can produce programs for agents that get smarter with each execution. Smart scheduling considers agent skills and business needs to create schedules that have the right number of qualified agents working at the right times. Likewise, it can be adapted to the preferences of the agents and the free time requested.
Call centers tend to have a high turnover of agents. In large contact centers, annual turnover can reach 44%. Not only do departing agents take away valuable knowledge, but it also costs about $ 12,000 to replace. So there is a very tangible business reason for reducing agent churn. Intelligent AI-based scheduling that adapts to agent preferences is a low-cost advantage that can create more loyal agents.
3) Match Agents with Interactions Where They Will Add the Most Value
It can be a bit “scary” to work from home without your teammates and supervisor on your side. What if the agent has a problem they can’t solve, or a customer they can’t calm down? Working remotely can have its drawbacks.
Intelligent interaction routing that takes into account agent skills, customer personality, and communication preferences can solve these types of problems. For remote agents to be more effective, call centers must use predictive behavioral routing that improves the customer / agent matching process.
Predictive behavior routing is an AI-powered technology that uses data to make better connections. It’s about Artificial Intelligence that does what it does best: sift through massive amounts of data to identify patterns and ultimately develop customer and agent profiles.
It’s easy to see how good this type of routing is for the CX, but what benefits does it have for agents? AI-powered routing enables agents to be more successful in helping people, which is why many agents have chosen this option. And by matching the personality, they are likely to have many more enjoyable conversations that will enhance their work experience.
How to Use Artificial Intelligence to Support Remote Agents?
Call center AI is much more than bots. Critical contact center applications are being implemented with Artificial Intelligence, enabling changes to core processes. Organizations will discover how to use AI capabilities to support operational goals, as well as remote agent support and engagement.