New Research on AI’s Impact on Customer Service Agents

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Filed under - Contact Centre News,

Calabrio has released its annual analysis of the contact centre market, the State of the Contact Centre 2023: Activating the Agent of the Future.

The report highlights the essential role of hybrid and remote contact centre agents, the expected impact of artificial intelligence (AI), and agents’ readiness to act as brand guardians in the face of evolving consumer demands.

Anticipating the Agent Workforce Evolution With AI

Calabrio surveyed 400 contact centre managers from across 10 countries, 4 age groups, and 6 industries. While there is much debate in the market, this report’s response is clear: AI won’t be used to entirely replace agents.

In fact, over two-thirds of contact centre managers predict an increase in the number of agents over the next decade and believe AI’s greatest promise is its ability to make agents’ jobs easier and more productive.

However, managers expressed the view that agents are not yet ready to meet the demands of an AI-fuelled future. If contact centres are not giving agents the skills to adapt and develop, they are already falling behind.

“The role of technology, including AI, is poised to gain even greater momentum in the contact centre – we’re already seeing customers embrace automation and AI-fuelled analytics to maximize their operations,” says Kevin Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer, Calabrio.

“But when technology removes a large portion of the administrative tasks from humans, agents will need to adapt to embrace complex customer enquiries and become true brand guardians.”

Leveraging AI as a Catalyst for Agent Productivity

According to contact centre managers, AI has the potential to optimize business processes and create visibility and efficiencies. Managers ranked these features of AI as most impactful:

  • Augmenting agent and manager productivity (25%)
  • Optimizing forecasting and scheduling (20%)
  • Measuring and understanding contact centre productivity (20%)
  • Providing AI-driven chatbot services for customers (20%)

This focus on how AI can improve productivity is critical as customer experience (CX) organizations are looking for ways to boost productivity post-pandemic. Just 49% of managers believe that remote workers are meeting productivity expectations today, which is 24% lower than in 2020.

Critical Thinking – The Most Needed Skill, and the Most Lacking

97% of consumers agree that customer service interactions have a direct impact on brand loyalty – which directly correlates to brand revenue. With the advent of AI, the significance of delivering an effective, efficient, and personalized CX has never been more attainable.

With automation becoming the new normal, contact centre managers recognize a greater need for critical thinking (top selected) and adaptability to change (second top) among future agents.

Yet today, these skills are most frequently identified as lacking, and are the top skills impacted when an agent is stressed or disengaged. Managers must bridge this gap through targeted training and development programmes, another area where AI can assist.

Retaining Brand Guardians Through Training and Development

Training and skills development emerge as top strategies for attracting and retaining talented agents for both current (35%) and future (30%) success.

While acknowledging the need for progress, the report reveals that only 45% of contact centre managers believe their agents currently possess all the required skills. This significant gap underscores the urgency of investing in comprehensive training initiatives.

The research highlights that as the industry evolves, organizations need to prioritize harnessing AI’s potential and activating the agent, rather than replacing them.

Read the full State of the Contact Centre report.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Calabrio – View the Original Article

For more information about Calabrio - visit the Calabrio Website

About Calabrio

Calabrio Calabrio is the customer experience intelligence company that empowers organisations to enrich human interactions. Through AI-driven analytics, Calabrio uncovers customer behaviour and sentiment, and derives compelling insights from the contact centre.

Read other posts by Calabrio

Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: Calabrio

Published On: 21st Sep 2023 - Last modified: 26th Sep 2023
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