4 Ways AI Simplifies Remote Training and Onboarding
How a support agent is introduced to a new role and how they’re coached until they can get up to speed plays a huge role in their performance throughout their career. In fact, organizations with a strong training and onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%1. So, it’s vital that you train and onboard your agents well, especially in a remote work environment. Using AI for remote training can enable new customer service representatives to feel welcomed, give them the right resources to understand your product or service better, and ramp up their onboarding. In this article, we’ve charted a future-proof strategy, that involves using AI and chatbots to provide a comprehensive onboarding experience in a remote work setup.
Four Effective Ways in Which AI Simplifies Remote Training and Onboarding
#1 Guide Agents Through Workflows
Before resolving certain issues, agents might have to ask the customer a set of mandatory questions or perform a certain number of steps. For instance, let’s say you work in the e-commerce industry, and a customer wants to return a product. You need to probe the customer to understand why they’d like to return the product before taking action. However, each product that your brand sells could follow a different protocol for return requests. Remembering each step involved or the right questions that need to be asked might be very challenging, especially for a newly recruited agent.
However, by setting up a bot that provides contextual assistance, you can enable agents to carry out these workflows effortlessly. Your bot can assist them with troubleshooting the customer’s issue, getting a better understanding of the problem, and performing the next best step. Here’s how Freshdesk’s ‘Assist Bot’ helps agents identify the right question to ask:
So, when an agent is stuck at any step of resolving the customer’s issue, all they have to do is spend a couple of seconds interacting with the Assist Bot to find the right way forward. Apart from acting as virtual buddies in a remote environment, a chatbot can also help with:
– Boosting new-employee morale thanks to a self-serve onboarding module
– Shortening the go-live time for new agents
– Reducing internal dependencies, especially in a remote work environment where getting help is not as easy as tapping someone on their shoulders and asking them a question
– Reducing costs, and the human effort involved in onboarding new agents
#2 Automate Complex Backend Processes
Every business has a set of complex processes that support agents need to do manually. Tasks like checking your order management tool to give your customer an update on the delivery status, or identifying the reasons why a customer’s account was suspended, etc, eat into your agents’ time and energy.
To ensure that these tasks don’t bog your newly hired agents down, you can use AI to automate them. You can set up a bot that automates complicated backend processes such as logging into a different system and searching through the records to collect relevant information, even updating field values, and more. So, the tasks that used to be done manually, can now be automated and completed in a few seconds. This way, the newly recruited agents can effortlessly provide resolutions well on time without depending on anyone for assistance.
The advantages of using AI to automate workflows also include:
– Improving productivity as agents no longer have to juggle multiple tools to get work done
– Freeing up your agents’ time by getting repetitive, and complicated tasks out of the way, and enabling them to build a better rapport with customers
– Reducing or even eliminating the chances of making errors
Here’s how Freddy’s RPA (robotic process automation) connectors help agents execute lengthy customer support processes with a single click.
#3 Retrain Customer Support Agents Efficiently
Customer support strategies are bound to change over a course of time. Based on the magnitude of the changes, you need to spend time briefing your team or even training them again if required. You also need to ensure that you communicate these changes clearly.
You might choose to document these changes in an email, a video, or an article on your internal knowledge base. While these are suitable ways to convey minor changes made to your support processes, they might not be effective when your processes have undergone a major overhaul. You need to ensure that your agents are able to access the updates right within your helpdesk software. And the best way to do this is by setting up this information on your agent-facing chatbot. This way, agents can easily go through the changes whenever they are stuck or confused instead of switching between tools to find an answer.
#4 Improve Agent Productivity
In a remote work setup, it’s important that you enable your agents to perform at their productive best. Using AI to automate complex support processes goes a long way in freeing up your team’s time. However, a lot of time also goes into completing smaller tasks such as updating ticket properties at every stage of the resolution, identifying relevant canned responses or solution articles to insert into the conversation.
To reduce the number of repetitive tasks that agents have to perform, you can set up a bot that can assist your agents. For instance, Freddy’s agent-facing AI automatically –
– suggests relevant solution articles or canned responses – Freddy analyzes the customer’s question, and suggests relevant answers (from your knowledge base and canned response repository) that agents can include in their response.
– suggests new ticket properties – Freddy learns from past conversations with customers and provides suggestions for ticket fields. This comes in handy for new support agents who might be unsure of the priority or type of the ticket.
Bonus: Two Best-Practices to Keep in Mind While Onboarding and Training Remotely
i) Enable seamless inter-team collaboration
To resolve certain issues, new hires might require the help of someone who is experienced or collaborate with someone who belongs to another team. Since time is of the essence in customer support, you need to ensure that your team is able to collaborate with context.
To enable seamless inter-team collaboration, it’s important that you choose a helpdesk that either comes with an in-built collaboration capability or integrates well with a range of collaboration and video conferencing tools. This way, your agents can loop the right person in and start working together, as opposed to forwarding a copy of the customer’s conversation or spending time on a knowledge transfer.
For instance, Freshdesk comes with an in-built collaboration hub called Freshconnect that enables agents to collaborate right alongside the customer’s conversation. The person who is looped in can gather all the context they require with a single glance of the customer conversation and start working on resolving the issue.
ii) Focus on agent wellness
Getting through shifts in a remote work setup, without having the entire team around can be quite demotivating. Especially for new hires who haven’t had the chance to get acquainted with their team. Here are a few effective tips that can help you to boost their morale:
– Conduct activities that can enable the new hires to break the ice with the team. Make sure you do this with every new batch that you onboard.
– You can also conduct weekly or monthly activities with the entire team where you get together to play a game or just catch up.
– Conduct regular 1-1s to understand if each agent is able to keep up with the workload or has access to everything that they need to work seamlessly from wherever they are.
Remote training and onboarding customer service representatives in the right manner will enable new hires to perform at their best, and benefit your support team, as well as your customers. AI and chatbots not only go a long way in helping with agent remote training and onboarding, but also continue to positively impact your team’s experience even after they are onboarded.
1 – https://www.saplinghr.com/10-employee-onboarding-statistics-you-must-know-in-2020