Digital Tools for Human Engagement

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The world of work is changing; becoming faster, smarter, and more connected. Just look at Uber, one of the world’s largest transportation companies which owns no taxis, or VRBO, a large accommodation provider with no real estate. Innovation is teeming, and every industry is finding new ways to deliver more convenient and memorable experiences through technology.

But remember, customers shouldn’t be the only ones benefiting from digitalization. Employees are just as important, especially in our industry. Digitalization and technology-based learning is becoming essential for delivering a better employee experience.

So how can you make the most out of technology to engage, inspire, and develop individual employee potential? Digital tools and methods are key for unlocking genuine employee engagement that blossoms into amazing customer interactions.

The right bot for the job

As Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, once said, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.” If your organization is serious about this performance mindset, then your digital development needs to happen in the field and in the moment of need.

Some of the best examples to bring this to fruition include artificial intelligence (AI) bots, and knowledge management platforms to assist with content curation and sharing knowledge across the enterprise. As customers continue to demand services that are omnichannel, 24/7, and personalized, companies need to connect strategy and technology to keep up, let alone stay ahead of competition. This may help industries save up to as much as £5.97 billion per annum by 2020, as stated by Juniper Research. Developing an enterprisewide strategy around implementation of these collective tools can vastly improve your business’ customer experience.

The benefits are twofold

By enabling bots, customer service centers can deflect calls by allowing the bot to handle simple inquiries that can be pulled from the knowledgebase, such as opening hours, delivery options, complaints, and FAQs. At the same time, the deflected calls enable associates to take care of higher priority and more complex tasks. We have seen tier 0 and 1 interactions deflected by up to 30 to 50 percent in our own work.

This can then result in an associate reduction scale without driving further hiring needs, allowing those in place to be trained more efficiently. The training process can be furthermore developed by bots that can ‘role play’ realistic scenarios while providing feedback and coaching. This can make associates feel better prepared and empowered to meet customer needs before they have even stepped onto the floor.

Backed by more than 35 years of experience in contact center management, our proven training and development methodologies have led to improvements in associate speed-to-performance up to 50 percent, while also cutting down training to about half of its original time. Additionally, this knowledge and experience have contributed to preparing our intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) to be customer-ready.

The need for the human touch

Standalone technology is not without its faults. More often than not, if the quality of natural language understanding (NLU) is weak, the customer interaction will be full of friction. Bot misunderstanding of customer concerns contribute to customer dissatisfaction. Too many bots are unable to escalate to a human associate properly, prompting customers to repeat their question and inevitably build further frustration.

Hence, there are huge benefits of continuous updates, quality assurance and optimization to review the bot’s ability to process casual language. Or at a minimum, provide functionality that enables the bot to escalate to an associate if it is unable to resolve the customer need.

In addition, since bots aren’t connected to key systems, many bots have very limited personalization functions. This is a real challenge for a society that’s grown to expect consistency of personal touches in their brand experiences. And in the long run this technology can have amazing results. Gartner predicts that AI-powered tools can help half a billion users save up to two hours a day with online interactions.

Smart learning from the start

Digital systems can become an essential part in assessing employee training and services. Analytical models can be designed to improve call center metrics including AHT, NPS and CSAT, retention, and FCR.

One such capability relates to reduction in voluntary and performance-related attrition costs by identifying top performer attributes, best instructors, and areas for improving access to knowledge. In addition, digital tools can give you a 360-degree data-driven view into trends that show operational improvements to further improve your customer service.

This extremely valuable input can be distributed via dashboards to managers, operational leaders, and executives to create a common data language to drive positive change.

Moving forward

With all these digital systems providing data on productivity and performance, customer experience managers must take away key insights and apply them through data-driven strategies and inspirational leadership.

AI, bots, and other digital technology will continue to play a central role in enabling new types of innovation. Research from Ubisend demonstrates this very point, with 69 percent of customers stating they would talk to a bot before a human if it can provide instant answers. This means that contact center customer and employee experience will have to be a partnership between artificial and human intelligence. In many cases, we are already seeing digital development and training creating emotional wins with employees and customers alike.