How to Utilize Your Agents in the Age of Automation

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With the strides being made with machine learning and artificial intelligence today, it should come as no surprise that the market for chatbots and automated messaging services is surging to all-time highs. But with the introduction of these new technologies, a debate has cropped up about how this emerging trend will impact contact center agents.

Many outspoken critics will argue that these technologies will replace live agents, sacrificing the human touch that is required when addressing complex customer inquiries. Others, however, will argue that the implementation of automated technology will help organizations provide faster support while bolstering the organization’s bottom line.

But if you ask contact center agents themselves, you’ll hear an entirely different story. In our own Agent Experience survey, it was found that agents themselves are actually benefitting from the introduction of automated services. Here are some compelling findings:

  • 79 percent of agents feel that handling more complex customer service issues improves their skills
  • 72 percent said that adding chatbots to their organization would make them feel they are having a bigger impact in the company
  • 64 percent agreed chatbots enable them to provide more personalized service experiences for customers
  • 59 percent said that as employees, they feel more satisfied in their jobs and more committed to the company

Clearly, contact center agents are not of the belief that the introduction of automation has to be an either-or proposition. Instead, the two sides can work in unison to establish a higher level of customer care.

That said, if you’re going to deploy automated technology in your contact center, you must be ready with a strategy to leverage your personnel as you offload basic responsibilities onto your software. Here are several suggestions to help ease the transition as you bring new technology to your contact center:

Double down on agent coaching: Training allows your agents to hone their skills, stay engaged, provide better service and endears them to your organization, helping to cut down on your churn rate. As chatbots and other technology take over basic responsibilities, be sure to simultaneously increase training so that your agents are prepared to field more complex requests more ably.

Enhance your social status: An active social media presence is a great way to connect and resonate more deeply with your customers. Further, robust customer service conducted on social media gives you free publicity as you demonstrate your value in a public setting for all to see. If your agents have downtime due to the introduction of automation, send them to social platforms to address concerns in real time. You never know, their work could go viral, giving you a priceless marketing opportunity at no cost to your organization.

Manage your automated workforce: Automated contact center solutions can help you meet demand without overextending your agents. But what if your chatbots or other solutions themselves are causing headaches for customers? Invariably, you will need to conduct analysis, user testing, and address concerns as they crop up when it comes to these solutions. Training your agents to isolate and ameliorate any of these concerns will help keep your processes moving along smoothly.

The Age of Automation is here. But in order to retain a competitive edge, you’ve got to integrate contact center software without losing the human touch. To learn more, click here.