This is an extract from an interview* that eGain’s SVP of Marketing, Anand Subramaniam, gave to Contact Center Pipeline for their feature article, Blending AI With Support. It has been restructured for this blog.
What is the key to improved customer (CX) and agent experiences (AX)?
Delivering a consistent knowledge experience is key to driving value for both customers and agents. I can cite two surveys to support my claim:
- A survey of contact center customer service agents where they told us what the biggest pain points were for them when a customer was on the line.
- The second is a consumer survey. eGain, along with Forrester Consulting, asked 5000 consumers what they hated the most when they asked for customer service help.
The findings were not surprising. We have these experiences fairly often as consumers. When you use web self-service, you often get the dreaded “no results found” or 100 search hits that are only remotely related to your issue. Human-assisted service is equally challenging. Most recently, when I had to get something fixed in my house through my home warranty company, I had to contact them multiple times. Each time, I received a different answer. To complicate matters even more, I received different answers through the call center, digital, and field touchpoints. This problem is commonplace, in our experience.
What can contact centers do to address content-related consumer and agent pain points?
Looking at the root causes from our recent surveys, it is clear that the biggest hurdles for great consumer experience and agent experience can be addressed with a robust, omnichannel knowledge management system infused with AI. This will provide consumers and agents with fast, accurate and consistent answers and intelligent process guidance, regardless of touchpoint.
Moreover, to develop empathy with customers and agents, contact center leaders should eat their own “gourmet food.” They should conduct mystery-shopping as a consumer and “mystery-serving” as an agent in their contact center to experience things for themselves. Empathy helps drive action!
On Artificial Intelligence
A common misconception about artificial intelligence is that it is a brand-new concept. That is far from reality. eGain has been a pioneer in AI for contact center customer service with many blue-chip clients using it for years, some for well over a decade. Some of the ways they use AI today are:
To converse with and answer customer questions using a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants can be useful in answering questions of low to medium complexity while providing an engaging audience.
To guide service and sales interactions with AI reasoning
Where queries are more complex, AI reasoning can help guide the end-customer (in the case of self-service) and the agent (in the case of human-assisted service) through the next best steps to complete the transaction successfully. Guidance can also help to enforce compliance with regulations and/or organizational best practices. Moreover, it can be bootstrapped with context, leveraging information such as past customer transactions, current interaction context, IoT data, etc.
To provide decision support with AI reasoning
Reasoning can also be used to help make decisions, where the decisions can be the output, or they can support a larger service process.
*Contact Center Pipeline June 2017 issue, Blending AI With Human Support