Today organizations are prioritizing customer experience and employee experience initiatives because they are the key drivers of business growth and opportunity in today’s experience-driven era. In Verint’s own global research study, respondents prioritized customer experience improvement initiatives to help meet rising customer expectations and the resources they have to work with – what we refer to as the Engagement Capacity Gap™.
Empowering employees with modern customer engagement tools to deliver a better experience is critical. As customer service teams contribute more significantly to a brand’s bottom line, technology is playing a bigger role in their day-to-day workflow.
Today, solutions driven by artificial intelligence (AI) are at the forefront of unleashing innovation in customer experience while also driving an improved employee experience.
Here are four ways AI is upping brands’ digital experience game.
Empowering Agents to Respond at Speed and with Empathy
As a result of organizational digital transformation, consumers now have elevated expectations. We are accustomed to speed and responsiveness. Want answers or directions to a location? There’s an app for that and it produces insights at the speed of a few clicks. This has primed consumers to expect the same from the brands they interact with.
Not only is the speed of service important, but customers have also come to expect companies will discern their every need, want, dislike, and frustration. AI-driven sentiment analysis solutions are helping empower contact centers to better understand a customer’s emotional state and intent so that brands can respond in an appropriate and empathetic manner. Running speech analytics, Natural Language Processing and AI in the background, organizations gather sensory data to better understand what customers are going through – i.e., are they frustrated by long hold times, did they reach a customer service representative who couldn’t solve their issue? In the same moment, companies can use that data to coach support teams in real-time to improve interactions and the overall customer experience.
Embracing Flexible Scheduling to Empower Employees
The pandemic has reshaped employee expectations around flexible scheduling and working from home. Today, employees desire work-life balance and to work on their terms; recognizing and supporting this is essential to keep employees happy and at the ready to handle the all-important task of customer engagement.
Contact centers are reaping the benefits of automation from AI-driven Workforce Management technology that generates schedules optimized around factors including agent availability, work rules, skill sets, holidays, breaks, service levels, and budgets. In addition, split-shift flexible scheduling helps employees break away from the typical “9 to 5” and work during the hours that best fit their needs and maximizes their earnings.
Winning the Talent War with Intelligent Hiring
The labor market is incredibly tight, and competition for talent is fierce. The cost and effort to hire and onboard new contact center agents is significant, especially when considering the industry’s high turnover rates. The typical contact center requires on average ten on-site interviews per hire. And it takes between five to seven weeks to recruit, hire, onboard, and train a new agent; the cost of this process is estimated to approximate $6,500 per agent.
Intelligent interviewing solutions using voice, advanced AI, and analytics are coming to the aid of contact centers to help pre-assess a candidate’s job-related performance – with tools for virtual pre-interviews, job simulation, language assessment, usage of knowledge management systems, and more. Using these intelligent interviewing tools can reduce the interview process to a nominal two to three interviews. In addition, statistics show that candidates who perform well on the pre-employment assessment tests are employed longer and perform better at their jobs.
Putting Structure into Unstructured Data
Organizations are awash in a sea of unstructured data today. Contact centers handle a heavy amount of customer communications across a wide range of channels. Companies can glean insights from these unstructured data sources but often are overwhelmed with its consumption and analysis because it lives in silos across the enterprise.
By aggregating customer experience data across the enterprise, organizations can quickly isolate where customers are experiencing challenges, drill down to understand customer feedback, listen to contact center interactions for more profound context, and respond to customer feedback in real-time. This is what AI does — collect, interpret, and distribute customer experience data in a meaningful way – one that is accessible and actionable to optimize experiences.
Using powerful digital behavior analytics, organizations can turn customer experiences into actionable data with heat maps showing where the customer is struggling and enabling employees to see and make immediate changes to improve the experience.
The Critical Role AI Plays in the Experience Era
In the post-pandemic era, a brand’s relationship with its customers matters now more than ever; happy employees are a key ingredient in creating happy customers, which yields better business outcomes.
Leading contact centers are embracing AI to make superheroes out of their workforce, empowering employees rather than replacing them, and freeing employees from the mundane so they can focus on what matters to them and the business: delivering exceptional customer experience.
Celia Fleischaker is CMO at Verint, overseeing the company’s global marketing, customer experience program and sales enablement.