Viewpoint: Agent and bot are better together

Read time 2min 40sec

It is well-established that there is a direct link between employee engagement, employee empowerment and job satisfaction, writes Ebrahim Dinat, COO of Ocular Technologies.

The question that is today being asked, in particular within contact centres, is how do agents remain satisfied in an environment where Gartner predicts the use of virtual customer assistants (chatbots) will jump by 1 000% by 2020.

To find out more about this new, but very real phenomenon, Ocular Technologies' software partner, Aspect, in partnership with Conversion Research, conducted a national study of 500 active customer service representatives between the ages of 18- and 55-years-old, with the objective to uncover the attitudes, preferences and behaviours reps have exhibited with regards to their jobs.

It found that, on the whole, agents are happy in their roles. The survey showed the majority of agents are generally satisfied in their customer service roles and highlighted that millennials are even more satisfied than the average agent, and engaged agents are the most satisfied in their work.

In addition, it disclosed that easy/moderate calls make up between 70% to 80% of day-to-day calls, and that nearly half of all agents surveyed would prefer to take 'easy' calls if given the choice.

On the other hand, customers love self-service for quick and easy answers. According to the 2016 Aspect Customer Experience Index, 65% of consumers feel good about themselves and the company when they can handle an issue without talking to a live person.

At the same time, customers want a live agent for the more complex queries. The result of this, however, is that the simple questions are left waiting in the queue and on the dreaded hold for an agent.

So, in a nutshell, here is why Aspect explains: "Chatbots and agents are better together!" Self-service chatbots can answer many simple questions and can pass more complex questions to an agent. If tasked to take more complex calls, a large majority of agents see a lot of opportunity.

The survey shows these opportunities include the following: 79% said it would improve skills; 72% said it would make them feel like they have a bigger impact on the company; 64% said it would enable them to provide more personalised service experience for customers; 59% said they would feel more satisfied in their jobs and more committed to the company; and 44% said it would take the monotony and mundaneness out of their jobs, meaning they will become more engaged.

So, is this the start of a beautiful relationship for all parties concerned? As the summary of an Aspect infographic of the survey concludes: "As the data shows, customer service chatbots are not just addressing customers' self-service desires for simple query resolution. They can also increase agents' job satisfaction, improve skills, and raise engagement...and that means a better customer experience."

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