A customer service anecdote reflecting today’s experience: a harried consumer – calls the toll free number, is greeted by an IVR – navigates through layers of menu options – and after several minutes elapse – frustration grows – call forwarded to a human agent – agent asks the ‘same’ questions all over again. Sound familiar? Increased customer effort means a greater chance of churn and a lesser chance of repeat business.
Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a vital contact center metric. But customer effort, or the lack thereof, is a significant contributor to the CSAT metric. The goal of any customer service interaction is to resolve customer issues satisfactorily quickly and with the least friction along the journey. One of the biggest hurdles to reducing the efforts that consumers and customer service agents often state in unison is the lack of readily available answers. Well, advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and automation seem to have the answers!
Alleviating customer effort for better customer service outcomes
Most businesses and customer service departments have some forms of customer effort measurement tools. These could be key contact center metrics like first call resolution (FCR), hold time, average handle time (AHT), number of channel transfers, or something entirely different. The trick is to use Conversational AI, analytics, and automation to precisely understand customer queries and resolve them with the best combination of human intelligence and Artificial intelligence.
Using conversational AI platforms like Conversational Service Automation to understand the customer’s real intent, emotions, and query context, it is possible to expedite the query resolution process. Having an omnichannel customer support option gives the consumers a choice of digital channels that they deem fit to resolve their queries. Virtual assistants or chatbots that can hold human-like conversations with consumers can significantly reduce customer effort thanks to zero wait times and bots’ ability to resolve questions autonomously.
Like we said before, finding the right answers is the biggest hurdle in customer service. You can start by eliminating the information silos and creating a seamless knowledge bank access to all agents at the click of a mouse. You can learn more about AI-powered knowledge management by clicking here. This way, every agent can be a subject matter expert, thus striving for FCR, reducing AHT, eliminating call transfers/channel switches while reducing the customer effort as a direct consequence.
Using real-time speech analytics powered by conversational AI goes a long way in reducing customer effort. While the agents focus on empathizing with the customers, AI and automation can provide real-time alerts, notifications, cues, access to knowledge bases, and help resolve customer queries.
The contact center’s effort does not end when the customer hangs up on the phone. Post-interaction analytics, powered by conversational AI, can pinpoint the exact reasons why customers are calling. Supervisors can get a clear picture of each agent’s strengths and weaknesses, draw insights into improving the customer service experience, and lots more. By understanding each agent’s skill sets, personalities, supervisors can deploy the right agents to the right calls/right customers. It reduces customer effort, cuts down on unnecessary costs, and improves operational efficiencies within the contact center.
Conversational AI can also help to onboard, coach agents the right way. Also, there are no needless human-related biases. AI can recommend prescriptive and targeted training to agents. Machines can diligently evaluate each agent’s progress, give them the right tips, highlight scope for improvement, provide real-world insights, and make the training and onboarding process swift, effective, and efficient. An agent with the right capabilities and expertise can significantly reduce customer effort and eliminate friction in the journey.
Learn how Uniphore can help to reduce the customer effort in your contact center now!