The contact center is feeling the effects of “the Great Resignation” – an ongoing trend that’s seeing employees voluntarily resign from their jobs due to factors like the rising cost of living and a lack of career advancement opportunities – as organizations suffer greater agent attrition and onboarding struggles. But new technology, like cloud-based systems and conversational AI tools, is helping contact centers become more productive and deliver better customer experiences.
To explore this issue further, we sat down for a webinar with Zeus Karravala, an analyst from ZK Research, and Uniphore’s VP of Product Marketing, Vijai Shankar to discover how contact centers can transform the ‘Great Resignation’ into the ‘Great Opportunity’.
Debunking Contact Center Myths
The conversation began by debunking common contact center myths, starting with the misconception that contact centers are going all-digital and making voice calls or agents irrelevant. Zeus explained that call center agents’ jobs are simultaneously becoming less important and more important. At the start of an interaction, customers typically prefer self-service or a chatbot, but at some point, they will need to speak to someone, which makes an agent’s job more vital than ever.
The second myth debunked was that the Great Resignation is something new for contact center agents. Vijai pointed out that agent attrition has been around contact centers for years, and had only been accelerated by the pandemic.
Leveraging Conversational AI to Turn the Great Resignation into a Great Opportunity
How Technology Is Driving Contact Center Change
Every business is trying to become more agile, but before the pandemic, that word could rarely be associated with contact centers. The Great Resignation has helped leaders rethink their operations and redefine how people work and how that makes customers happy.
As Zeus explained, the pandemic was positive for contact center leaders in some ways. They’ve deployed remote working tools to transform their processes, become more aggressive in recruiting the best talent, and staggered shifts with people working from home.
This shift is driven mainly by improvements in technology. Ten years ago, the world was predominantly voice-driven, but mobile phones allow agents to take customer conversations on-the-go and meet growing customer demands.
For example, Zeus referenced a 2015 Gartner report stating that customer expectation would be the number one brand differentiator by 2020. That happened in 2018, as companies took heed of the report’s advice and started planning for it. Now, two-thirds of millennials admit they’ve changed brand loyalties because of a single bad experience, which means many businesses no longer get a second chance when something goes wrong.
Until recently, contact centers used archaic processes without methodology, like leaders listening for audible cues for a call going wrong. But the rise of cloud-based systems and conversational AI tools enables them to listen for sentiment in real-time, manage remote workers, and listen to every call.
Conversational AI Transforms Agents into Super-Agents
To bust another myth, conversational AI is more than just chatbots. The technology also drives better agent performance by providing insight into who the customer is and their sentiments and emotions – enabling call center agents to show more empathy and solve issues quicker.
Zeus describes this as “conversational AI making agents into super-agents.” It helps agents interpret customer sentiment, avoid the risk of angry customers, and ensure calls reach the right agent, which is crucial to first-call resolution. Contact centers now generate so much data that no single person can keep up, but AI engines can listen to every call and inspect all the data to transform agents into super-agents.
As Zeus adds, conversational AI is also crucial to agent retention by promoting that a company has a great culture and is working for employee and customer success.
From Great Resignation to Great Opportunity
The Great Resignation offers an excellent opportunity for contact centers to transform agent experience and operations. Vijai and Zeus agreed that, despite skepticism around AI, the systems are ready for prime time. As Zeus put it: “It’s ready, and companies need to be on the leading edge because business is not kind today. You’ve got one shot to do this, which could either make you a leader or put you out of business.”
But that doesn’t mean companies have to immediately go all-in on AI tools to solve all the problems in their contact center. Vijai advised that a better approach can be to start slow and take a crawl, walk, then run approach to discover the value of conversational AI.
Learn how Uniphore’s conversational AI is creating new opportunities for contact centers. Watch the webinar now.