Editor’s Note: We are offering full access (until May 4, 2020) to the Forrester report, The Three Customer Service Megatrends in 2020, and this blog post contains some of our takeaways and thoughts on this research published by Forrester.
When properly maintained, your brand’s reputation can attract and retain long-term customers and advocates—but negative customer experiences can quickly capsize even great businesses.
Poor customer service can cost enterprises tens of billions in revenue, according to Forrester Research, and dissuade previous customers from continuing to trust your product or service.
Luckily, leaps and bounds are being made in the development of AI and automation to assist in customer service management, elevating interactions and nurturing lasting relationships with loyal promoters.
Here are three megatrends in the AI landscape this year (2020), bringing tech and superagents together to enhance the customer experience:
Agents Will No Longer Be Essential to Scale Customer Service
In the past, human agents were needed to perform most everyday tasks. People alone were responsible for scaling customer service. Today, automation and AI enable companies to roll out products faster and manage higher volumes of digital interactions to foster growth.
Organizations that handle customer service are now adopting the following automation and AI-driven practices to remain competitive:
1. Using self-service technologies to facilitate agent-assisted interactions
AI is now able to understand intent, enabling the technology to trigger intent-based actions when interacting with customers. The AI may respond to a user question by pulling data from its extensive knowledge base, triggering a process/workflow, or transitioning a conversation to a human for agent-assisted resolution.
2. Utilizing robotic process automation (RPA) to improve the bottom line
Robotic process automation will be highly adopted in contact centers this 2020. In fact, “45% of data and analytics decision makers whose firm is adopting automation already use RPA,” according to Forrester research. In many instances, a smart RPA bot can replace three or four human agents by handling high-volume, low-complexity tasks, or autonomously executing items in a work queue.
3. Adopting prescriptive AI to make customer service more efficient and effective
AI can be extremely helpful with inquiry capture and resolution, case routing, classification and more — but this year, corporations will be pushing the envelope. Prescriptive AI will aid in monitoring customer journeys and engaging customers to drive better conversion. Beyond the initial purchase, AI will be helping with ongoing customer support and continuous agent automation, like scheduling maintenance appointments.
Agent Desktops Will Modernize to Handle Complex Issues
AI can handle most simple customer interactions, but when an emotionally intelligent human superagent is needed, they still don’t have to problem-solve alone. Many top-tier agents will be continuing to utilize AI-infused agent desktop technologies to better serve their customers.
Desktop technology that leverages AI will help sugeragents by:
1. Enhancing customer context for true 1:1 engagement
AI-to-user interactions capture and pull data about the customer to enhance communication. This data is often housed in a customer relationship management (CRM) software, but as AI evolves, this information is being used to further enhance live chat interactions. Agents will be able to move between communication channels without losing context, tap into and leverage personalized information, and more, to drive faster, more accommodating conversations.
2. Offering adaptive agent desktops that facilitate agent work
AI is integrating onto agent desktops to help foster a more cohesive collaboration between digital and physical support. These agent-facing bots work as a resource for representatives, enabling quick access to answers through advanced search, scripts, step-by-step instructions and an overall unified knowledge base right on their device.
3. Pushing workspaces that facilitate collaboration and knowledge
When superagents are needed for more complex problem-solving, they often seek assistance from back-office workers, engineers, product experts, or the right internal person to facilitate accurate resolution. AI tech this year will help provide collaborative work zones, with scoring metrics in place to continuously improve integrated internal alliances.
Agent Staffing and Cultures Transform as AI Sets in
AI is coming in and shaking up the way of life in call and support centers — disrupting what previous day-to-day operations once resembled. Automation and smart chatbots are supporting lower-tier customer inquiries, all while enhancing the importance of superagents, bot masters, and conversational designers.
With this rapidly transforming technological landscape, enterprises are:
1. Adopting staffing practices to better align with evolving expectations for work
AI offers improved tracking of core call center metrics, such as cost, satisfaction, revenue and compliance measures. With this added help, companies can focus on improving customer value metrics. Management will have more time and resources to hone in on customer satisfaction for each agent interaction and customer engagement with self-service content, a peer community, etc. Now, the focus can shift to customer retention, enrichment, and advocacy—while AI handles the rest.
2. Reshaping culture to better emotionally support agents
By hiring a select team of top talent, customer service management can take the time and energy needed to transform their culture. Managers can focus on fostering deeper relationships with strong individualized, more intimately trained workers, leading to more effective, more satisfied agents and smaller, mightier teams.
An In-Depth Look into Conversational AI for Customer Service
This overview of how technology and agents will come together to enhance the customer experience is just that: an overview.
Learn more about our solutions for customer service.