Susannah Richardson of mplsystems discusses how contact centres can strike the perfect balance between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the human workforce.
While there isn’t a specific threshold for “too much” or “too little” AI, every organisation should take great care to ensure that the use of AI is complementary to their existing customer experience and aligns with both the customer’s and agent’s expectations.
For AI and robotics to work best, they should seamlessly blend with live agent interactions. From the customers’ perspective, this means that they shouldn’t feel a disruption in the experience when moving from AI to agent-assisted service. This happens in part to well-orchestrated technologies but is predominantly successful when agents are equipped with contextual insights on what the customer did or experienced in their interactions with AI.
Agents expect to have the tools, resources, and training to perform their job to expectations. In regard to how they do their job when AI is involved, two key components must be in place:
1. AI systems should handle the mundane, repetitive tasks that don’t require complex thought or direct human assistance. This doesn’t mean, however, that the brain behind the AI can be programmed once and forgotten. A process needs to be in place to ensure that the AI is providing the most accurate, up-to-date information.
2. What happens in AI interactions needs to be connected to the same tools and systems that agents use. This ensures that live agents have context and visibility into the customer’s full journey.
If customers can’t seamlessly move from bot to assisted-service, it’s the agents who face the adversity and angst of overcoming technological and process shortcomings. In an era when satisfaction matters greatly, it’s unwise to create systems that would further drive frustration, dissatisfaction, and lack of engagement for customers and employees alike.
Another contributing factor to the science behind balancing AI and agent-assisted service is the increasing number of digital natives who are now consumers. Companies must find a way to provide an experience that meets customers, wherever they may be. With its cost efficiency and ability to deploy across platforms and channels, AI and automation can be the remedy to this problem for an increasing number of organisations.
Knowing that AI is only going to increase in its prominence over the coming years, contact centre leaders are most often left with one remaining question in finding their balance of service: “Which interactions are best left for AI, and what should be addressed by live agents?”
There isn’t a universal answer to this question, but the highly repetitive or predictable types of interactions are widely appealing for automation or bots. As was previously stated, those interactions often demotivate and bore agents when completed on a frequent, ongoing basis.
Through the strategic use of AI and other technologies, contact centre employees are now able to focus on the more complicated and complex interactions. It’s due in great part to this renewed approach to service that many customer service teams are delivering a strategic advantage by elevating levels of both customer and employee satisfaction.
Despite having no cookie-cutter approach to leveraging AI and robotics, the organisations who thoughtfully consider the needs of their customers and employees across the various touchpoints of the customer journey, and are willing to refine and finesse as they move along, will find themselves getting closer and closer to the best blend for their unique situation.
To find out more about IFS | mplsystems, visit: mplsystems.co.uk