Chatbots and virtual assistants have made it easier than ever for customers to self-service.
So if simple customer service requests can now be handled without the need for human intervention, what does the future hold for contact centre agents?
From agents to advisors
As technology advances and more contact centres embrace artificial intelligence and automation, the role of customer service agents is changing. Agents are now required to manage much more complex service tasks that demand stronger product knowledge and problem-solving skills. They have also become the all-important human touch in increasingly digital customer journeys, delivering that higher value, emotive service that is vital for building relationships and earning customer loyalty.
These changes have opened up higher salaries and richer career paths for agents. For example, many contact centres now employ expert teams of agents to handle specific channels, such as social media, where interactions are public and require a higher attention to detail. These teams are supported with specialist training, allowing agents to develop niche competencies and progress their careers based on their individual aspirations.
Longer-term, agents can also look forward to a wider range of leadership opportunities. Our Evolution of the Contact Centre research with the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) revealed there is a growing desire within the business industry for executives with backgrounds in frontline customer service roles.
“Senior exec roles that tended to come from marketing, from finance, from business schools, actually now they’re coming from service. We’ll see more and more of this because of the value we bring into the organisation of hearing and seeing it from the customer perspective. That is the key differentiator,” Jonathan Cowie, the COO at Vivid Homes, said.
How can technology support contact centre agents?
The harder agent work becomes, the more important your technology becomes to delivering seamless customer service.
To support your agents, your contact centre solution must be intuitive and intelligent, providing a single, unified view of each customer to help agents address their needs. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as speech analytics, sentiment analysis and agent assist have also become vital for reducing agent effort and maintaining fast response times.
Puzzel CMO Jonathan Allan recently sat down with CX Today to discuss how technology and AI will continue to support contact centre agents in the future.
“AI has been a real game-changer in the customer service industry. But human agents still have such an important role to play in building rapport with customers, repairing relationships and driving loyalty. The big challenge for businesses is now finding the right balance that delivers for the customer,” he said.
“The technology advancements we’re going to see in the future will be around making it easier for agents to do their job and making it easy for customers to gain access to their information.”