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Agents versus robots: part 2 – Return of the Jedi

In a previous blog we talked at length about how robots are infiltrating our world and supposedly solving customer problems, queries and reducing operational costs.

In my humble opinion, most of today’s customer automation is frustratingly poor.

Admittedly, there are scenarios where self-service plays a role in 100 per cent-productised customer journeys, but as soon as there is any complexity, nuance, or anomaly to the request that is outside of the standard operating procedure, things go wrong.

It must be said that humans are amazing. Our ability to listen, assimilate multi-threaded and dependency questions, ascertain emotional dynamics and, ultimately, comprehend is phenomenal. We are a way off seeing a digital service that can fully compete with a human.

Today, there is a new wave of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – a shining new lightsaber for agents; the Force that gives businesses an overwhelming financial advantage. We are now entering the world of the Jedi agent, the agent with AI-powered augmented assistance that transforms compliance, first-call resolution (FCR), sales, CX and C-SAT.

What is this Force and how do I get Jedi agents?
The dichotomy for customer service, sales and contact centre OPS professionals for the past five years has been automating customer interaction versus utilising the human service. Finding a balance that delivers on cost, skill, resource, knowledge, customer value, brand and more has been a challenge.

Now enter the trichotomy.

  1.  Automate the customer interaction
  2.  Automate (Jedi) agent assistance
  3.  Pure unassisted human

Number 2 is new, powerful and easy to deploy and truly transformational to service and cost.

Rather than start with what it is, let us consider the use cases and outcomes. We break these down into three areas:

By automating two minutes of post-call wrap-up across 500 agents taking 40 calls each per day, a business could save approximately £3.7 million a year.

If all agents have real-time prompts and advice, FCR can increase by 20 per cent, CX and C-SAT will improve more than 30 per cent. By pre-briefing agents via automated call summary, actions and sentiment from any previous interaction, there will be no non-compliant calls.

How can you achieve this? Well, nothing needs to change. This new technology easily and simply complements the incumbent system, whether that is Genesys, Avaya, Mitel, 8×8, Five9, AWS-Connect.

In short, Agent Assist technology will acquire your customer interactions from your switch, Session Boarder Controller (SBC), chat server or video server, in real time. It will transcribe in high definition so that all brand terms and unique product or service names are captured accurately. Then, it will process the conversations for intent, quality and action and propose real-time prompts or content to the agent who is assisting in the transaction. Auto summarisation will remove work for the agent, distilling a perfect brief for the next interaction. Agent Assist will also track compliance requirements within the call or chat session so that no call is left before the appropriate steps are taken.

It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of automated journeys end up back at the agent. Today’s robot is a glorified music-on-hold, pretending to add value and reduce cost, but negatively impacting CX and C-SAT.

Business justifications for investments of £1 million in older bot technology were that they would save £4 million in staff costs. Realistically, they save £1 million maximum. Breaking even is a long way off and ruined by added customer frustration and eroding service metrics.

Isn’t it time you tried the lightsaber? Available in red, blue or green.

Part 1 of Robot vs humans can be found here.

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