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Agent AI: How to Enhance Agent Experience

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the contact center industry. While much of the focus has been on using AI to automate basic tasks and reduce costs, there is also huge potential for leveraging AI to improve the experience for contact center agents. Implemented thoughtfully, AI can help agents work more efficiently, deliver better customer service, and find greater meaning and satisfaction in their roles. This article explores key ways companies can deploy AI to create a better environment for agents in the contact center.

Reduce Tedious Data Entry for Agents

One of the most frustrating and time-consuming aspects of working in a contact center is the data entry required. Agents must log detailed notes about each customer interaction and continuously key information into multiple computer systems. This documentation is vital for legal compliance, quality assurance, and continuity of service. However, it also bogs agents down in administrative work instead of allowing them to focus on the customer.

AI-powered systems can automate much of this data entry, freeing up agents to have more meaningful conversations with customers. For example, speech recognition software can listen to calls and automatically transcribe detailed notes. Text and sentiment analysis can scan transcripts to extract key details like the customer's issue, any actions taken, required follow-ups, and more. AI can even automatically update the relevant fields in the company's CRM platform. This eliminates tedious post-call work for agents.

There is also huge potential for leveraging AI to improve the experience for contact center agents.

Make Knowledge More Accessible for Agents

Contact center agents are expected to be fonts of knowledge, able to answer any customer question quickly and accurately. However, memorizing every possible policy, procedure, product spec, and regulation is impossible. AI-powered knowledge management systems help agents access the information they need in the moment.

The old solution was a simple keyword searches, which would return dozens of articles, most of which were not relevant to the customer issue. Generative AI can read all those articles articles, product details, FAQs, and training materials and return only the info that's most relevant. This augments the agent's own knowledge so they can resolve customer issues quickly. Over time, the system learns to anticipate what information agents will need based on the context and customer history.

The AI can also flag gaps or inconsistencies in the knowledge base that need to be remedied. This helps companies continuously expand and refine their content library to better support agents.

Automate Tedious Requests for Agent Assistance  

Contact center agents frequently need to escalate issues and request assistance from subject matter experts and supervisors. However, the systems for routing and tracking these requests are often manual, complex, and inefficient. Agents can waste significant time just figuring out the right person to contact and then explaining the background and context to them.

AI coordination tools can automate this process so agents get help faster. Agents can simply flag the issue they need assistance with and the AI will contextually route it to the best person. Relevant background and history are packaged up and sent along so the assisting party sees the full picture. The AI tracks status and loops the agent back in when a response is ready, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. This cuts down on wasted time gathering information and following up.

Coach Agents with Personalized Feedback

Developing excellence as a contact center agent requires ongoing training and coaching. Unfortunately, most centers lack the resources to provide dedicated coaching staff and give fast feedback. AI-powered conversational agents can fill this gap by providing personalized coaching and support at scale.

Voice and text analysis tools can listen in on agent interactions, analyze them, and offer real-time guidance. The AI can detect patterns across interactions and gently advise the agent on better approaches. After calls, it can serve up customized training content to strengthen certain skills. The coaching can be tailored to the agent's level of experience, gaps, and goals. This provides agents with the just-in-time learning they need without pulling them off the phones.

Automate Scheduling and Staffing

Juggling schedules, forecasts, and agent availability is a complex, thankless job for contact center managers. Miscalculations result in understaffing, overwhelmed agents, and poor service. AI-powered workforce management (WFM) tools take this administrative burden off managers' shoulders so they can focus on their team members.

AI analyzes historical call volumes, seasonal fluctuations, and staffing needs to create optimized schedules automatically. As conditions change, it adjusts in real time, even notifying agents via text if they need to come in early or stay late. The system tracks PTO, sick time, and other exceptions, seamlessly filling gaps. This creates stability for agents so they can plan around consistent schedules and not get stuck with unfavorable shifts or excessive overtime.

Augment Human Capabilities

While AI handles the tedious and complex aspects of contact center operations, agents remain free to focus on the human elements of the customer experience. Empowered with AI capabilities behind the scenes, agents can have more natural and engaging conversations with customers.

For example, sentiment analysis helps agents understand how customers truly feel so they can adjust their tone and probe emotionally charged issues. Speech analysis cues agents into vague areas they should clarify. Real-time translation allows agents to converse smoothly with diverse customers. Biometrics feedback provides agents with insights into how to better connect, calm frustrated callers, and build rapport.

By leaning on AI as an enhancer of human skills, agents can focus purely on bringing empathy, creativity, and a personal touch to customer relationships. This allows them to find greater meaning and enjoyment in their work.

Listen to Agents and Continuously Improve AI

As companies adopt AI systems for the contact center, they must make efforts to engage and support agents through the transition. One critical strategy is to solicit ongoing agent feedback on the implemented AI tools. Their input will highlight areas of friction where the tech is not yet working smoothly. Agents may have ideas for how certain tools can be improved or new ways AI could help that developers didn't consider. Constant collaboration will ensure the AI evolves to best serve agents' needs, not just business goals.

For example, agents could flag manual workflows the AI keeps getting wrong so developers can tweak it. User experience testing could uncover an interface that's cumbersome for agents so it can be streamlined. Surveys and focus groups could reveal new types of agent fatigue the AI could be designed to alleviate. Incorporating agent perspectives will ensure they adopt the AI tools that are truly helpful. This empowers them to do their best work.

7 Opportunities to Improve Agent Experience with AI

What About AI Agents?

The contact center industry is ripe for an AI revolution that benefits both customers and agents. Companies that thoughtfully deploy AI to remove drudgery, provide guidance, and augment human skills will see gains in efficiency, service quality, and agent satisfaction. By continually soliciting and incorporating agent feedback, they can ensure their AI strategy succeeds.

Though it may sound counter-intuitive, the best way to get these benefits is to work with a partner like Mosaicx who creates intelligent virtual agents (IVA). Many people think IVAs are designed to replace agents. Instead, they work alongside human agents, containing repetitive customer requests and allowing your agents to focus on more rewarding tasks.

With AI as an ally, agents can truly focus on bringing a personal, compassionate touch to customer service. This human element is their true value and the key to differentiation. AI gives agents the freedom to counsel, educate, comfort and delight customers in new ways, improving the experience for all.

AI doesn't just improve your agent experience. Check out this next article to see how AI can help manage change across your organization.