The promise of AI for CX: Better agent experiences = happier customers

ccaas agents satisfaction artificial intelligence ai nextgenai

Why should we care about agent satisfaction? This isn’t meant to sound flip or dismissive. It’s a genuine point to consider. In fact, agent attrition ranges from 28-45%, depending on the industry. That’s a real and serious issue for enterprises, BPOs, and service providers to contend with. And that’s true regardless of how large or small your business is. If you’re focused on growing or sustaining your business and you have a contact center, then your agents are likely the front lines of your CX approach. So agent churn is challenging for businesses of all sizes. It’s also expensive. 

Hiring, onboarding, and training a new agent can cost as much as $20,000-$30,000 and take two to three months before they’re able to work at capacity. That’s a significant investment you make in time and resources. And it largely pays off, via loyal customers, a growing book of business, strong Net Promoter Scores, and other positive indicators of business health. But when 28-45% of agents churn out, this can become a major issue. 

Making matters worse, industry analysts report that agents who work in verticals requiring more knowledge (i.e., second-line support) churn at higher rates. This compounds the problem– your most experienced and knowledgeable agents are more likely to leave. So, what do we do about it? 

Let’s think of the old adage about how you eat an elephant– one bite at a time. In this case, the first bite is looking at where we can make agent’s work easier and more efficient. There are so many ways to help agents be less stressed, from knowledge base integrations, to process automation, and more. But one stands out as the “lowest hanging fruit,” meaning it’s an immediate and obvious candidate for increasing agent satisfaction: wrapup time, which consists of notetaking, dispositioning, and fulfillment flows. A strong CX platform should have flexible process automation capabilities that can help with some of these. There are also key AI use cases that can help here. 

But let’s look a bit deeper at the wrapup time issue. Industry analysts report that in 2022, 80% of enterprises saw an increase in agent wrapup work and time. This is not the direction we’re looking for that metric to go in! And we ask agents to do so much. Your agents need to engage with and empathize with customers, navigate complex systems on multiple screens, and somehow keep all this in their heads so they can make good notes after their calls. And those post-call notes and wrapup actions are critical for other stakeholders in your organization, from supervisors to business unit leaders. 

One of the problems with wrapup time is that while it’s absolutely essential, it’s also “expensive” time in that your agents can’t work with other customers or prospects during that work. And for complex industry verticals or detailed calls, that wrapup work can eat up significant amounts of  time for your agents. And that doesn’t help agent satisfaction one bit. 

What would it mean for your business if you could cut down that wrapup work by 50% or more? How much less stressed would your agents be? How much more could your agents listen to and engage with your customers? And how could we accomplish this without reducing the quality or specificity of the notes other people within your business depend on? 

As we’ve been discussing in this series, we’re at the very early stages of a sea change in addressing these issues. Next-generation AI can be enormously helpful in reducing agent stress and still delivering the mission-critical wrapup work your business depends on. And best of all, the return on investment (ROI) can be nearly immediate. 

So, what does that look like in practice? We’ll dive into a specific approach in our next piece. Stay tuned! 

In our last post, we looked broadly at why next-gen AI is so exciting. 

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