Editor’s Note: This piece was originally written by Brian Cantor, Digital Director and Principal Analyst at CCW, for CCW and Talkdesk’s Special Report: Agent Performance.
For the most part, organizations are still devising their exact strategies for leveraging artificial intelligence. Many have, however, reached a consensus regarding its likely impact on contact center workflow. AI will empower self-service platforms to better handle simple, transactional matters. Customers will not need to wait for live agents to discuss basic billing or informational issues; self-service will help them conveniently get the answers they want – on their own terms.
With self-service covering a greater percentage of simple matters, agents will focus more notably on complex, unique, unpredictable issues. They will focus on issues that require critical thinking, emotional nuance and a “human touch.”
This new contact center dynamic further emphasizes the need for a “no sacrifices” approach to agent performance.
Since the issues they are handling will be more specific, challenging and personal, agents will need to be able to “think and connect.” They will require a greater degree of knowledge, as well as a greater sense of empowerment to make decisions that have not been scripted for them. They will also need to adapt to customer nuances and emotions. These agents will indeed be asked to connect rather than merely serve.
By the same token, they will still have a job to perform. They will still have a full docket of interactions to manage. They, moreover, will still be serving customers who very much care about speed and effort.
Efficiency will still be a paramount concern. This new contact center normal is not eliminating the need to deliver engagement that is simultaneously quick and complete. If anything, it is heightening the importance of the balance. Agents are being asked to do more – in less time. To meet this lofty demand, businesses cannot let agents take their eyes off the prize. Businesses cannot suggest that it is permissible (let alone advisable) to sacrifice efficiency in the name of efficacy, or vice versa.
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